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Consolidation for efficiency

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Automotive tooling manufacturer Hirotec India provides stamping, assembly, hemming, equipment and services for automotive closures to industry majors including Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, General Motors, Volkswagen and Mahindra.

The company designs and manufactures closure panels tooling for the automotive companies in India, relying on 3D and 2D tool design capabilities across multiple software platforms to facilitate product visualisation prior to manufacturing.

Over the past few years, the company has expanded from an exclusive design focus to providing turnkey solutions for the tooling divisions in the automotive industry. This expansion required the company to simultaneously upgrade its IT infrastructure to be able to deliver quality services and solutions.

Geeth Narayanan, Vice President, Hirotec India, says, “With a core focus on design, technology plays a vital role in improving the quality of our delivery. In such a competitive environment we need the right tools to meet the demanding requirements of the automotive industry.”

He explains that they had been working with high CAD solutions and electrical design software, dealing with 100 of software liscences. “Earlier, we had a distributed set up in the sense, designing and manufacturing are two distinct processes and in a way were happening at two separate buildings,” he says.

However, as business expanded data from both the processes expanded proportionally. So much so that they realised that they were outgrowing their data centre. “On an average, we produce around one terabyte of data a day, and file sharing for our designers was becoming difficult to manage without a SAN solution. We needed to re-think how our data center solutions could support innovation within our business,” says Narayanan.

“To begin with we had just two servers, with data increasing we had to expand,” he adds, saying that they realised they could build data capacity and scale through consolidating on a virtualised storage solution.

Virtualise and consolidate

Hirotec has shared a long term relationship with Dell, and most of their infrastructure is Dell, so this time too, they decided to go with the same vendor. The company deployed a Dell EqualLogic PS6100E iSCSI SAN array connected to a Dell PowerEdge R620 featuring Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family, a Dell PowerEdge R420 with Intel Xeon processor E5-2400 product family, and a Dell PowerEdge R710 server with Intel Xeon 550 processors.

For manufacturers like us, Narayanan says, “Performance is critical to power robotics. CAD software to ensure high availability to our design teams. We gain a real competitive advantage by investing in the latest storage, server and processor technology from Dell and Intel,” says Narayanan.

What is more important here was the fact that they could not have a new server room. So, instead of setting up a new server facility, Hirotec consolidated its existing space and reduced maintenance requirements.

Narayanan reasons, “We used to have a lot of small servers, which we kept adding to as our data exploded from the design projects. With the Dell EqualLogic SAN, we condensed our storage into a single SAN, which is easy to manage and expand as we grow.”

Mobility and efficiency

Stressing on keeping pace with the technology, he says gone are the days when designing would be a task workstation-bound resources. Even the designers now demand mobility. Dell Vostro and Dell Latitude laptops were provided to those required to be on the move, while the managers could reviewing the progress on Dell Precision mobile workstations.

“We need our designers to be highly mobile and still have access to the high-end processing speeds normally available from workstations. We’ve found the Dell Vostro and Latitude laptops to meet our needs for a lightweight design and ultra-fast processor to power our design software,” says Narayanan.

Narayanan believes the transition to the consolidated system happened very smoothly just because of the long term relationship they shared with Dell. Having know each other for several years resulted in better understanding of the way things had to be conducted. “Without Dell’s support the process had been very chaotic and time consuming,” he adds.

“When we started, we were competing against huge, established multi-national companies, and yet we are now working with the major automotive brands. This is due to our employee skills and equipping our work force with the right technology,” says Narayanan. He signed off saying that they will continue to work with Dell for their future projects as well.

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