Kraken Robotics is a global leader in the design and development of advanced marine technologies for military and commercial applications, including Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) - a revolutionary underwater imaging technology that dramatically improves seabed surveys by providing ultra-high resolution imagery at superior coverage rates.
In 2017, Kraken Robotics expanded their product offerings to include the design and manufacturing of complete underwater vehicles. Since then, Kraken has experienced rapid growth, securing record breaking contracts year over year, and becoming a world-class manufacturer with quality & innovation at their core.
Kraken is constantly innovating, improving their current products and working with companies of all sizes on new and exciting ventures. Kraken has offices in three Canadian provinces, two in Germany and one in the US so effective collaboration across these locations is critical to their projects, timelines and success.
Kraken’s Mission to Redefine the Industry Standard
Kraken’s passion for innovation goes beyond just the products they build, and into how they build them. Kraken moves fast, and meeting unprecedented quality standards does not mean slowing down.
As Kraken scaled, they weren’t satisfied with many common industry standard design review practices of CAD screenshots in slideshows, excel based issue lists, and chasing down emails and PDFs. They looked to set a new standard, with a process as innovative as the solutions they make.
Kraken had two targets: Unprecedented Efficiency and Quality.
Kraken wanted a more efficient process, and conducted an analysis to determine if using CoLab would reduce the number of actions to complete a review. Following that analysis, Kraken determined that the CoLab workflow would reduce steps in the process by 20-25%. In a review process with fewer steps, engineers can spend their time designing and building, not administering. The team also required a central hub where reviews could happen asynchronously, or in real-time, so engineers always knew the right version to work on, and could ensure issues and feedback were addressed before becoming expensive changes.
To develop a process that met these objectives, Kraken turned to CoLab. Together, Kraken and CoLab have developed an agile design review process that helps Kraken meet their industry-leading quality standards while improving efficiency.
The New Process : CoLab
Going Lean - Creating A Central Hub for Reviews
CoLab gave Kraken Robotics a central hub for their entire review process, directly integrated with SolidWorks and PDM. By creating a real-time collaborative hub, teams can improve team interaction and collaboration while reducing waste and unnecessary documentation, and improving efficiency. "For me, this is a one-stop-shop for design reviews," explained Greg Walsh. "If I go to CoLab and open my dashboard, that is my review task list right there, keeping me on top of what is next."
Mechanical Engineers at Kraken can push 3D files into CoLab directly from Solidworks, or add drawings directly from the application itself, assign the review to their colleague, and CoLab handles the rest from there. CoLab’s customizable notifications mean you never miss a review, or task, or have to chase someone down via email. With CoLab and Solidworks you can design, execute reviews, and manage feedback, all without leaving the tools you trust. The CoLab dashboard aggregated Kraken’s review tasks and files, so it acts as a review task manager while making file access simple for the reviewers.
"I can easily tab back and forth between CoLab and Solidworks. Nice and Simple," said Nick Sparkes, Mechanical Engineer at Kraken Robotics.
Control Revisions, Ensure Quality
With CoLab, designers and managers have a clear picture of what reviews need to happen, where in-progress reviews stand, and what reviews have been completed.
Based on CoLab’s discussions with engineering teams across industries, the standard process is still centred largely around email threads and powerpoint decks. With these manual, disconnected efforts, it's easy for old versions of files to end up somewhere they shouldn’t, or for an early version to make its way to the shop floor. At Kraken, files are under tight control, everyone knows what revision is the latest, and files never get released until they’ve made it through each review stage.
CoLab also enables users to control downloading permissions. Now designers can share an unreleased file for review, and ensure that file can't be downloaded. This means it can’t make its way to the production floor or machine shop in error. For simple file sharing, permitted users can simply enable a file to be downloaded.
This ensures that time is focused on the most up-to-date files, and reviewers have a clear picture of what’s changed. This review queue with integrated revision control means reviews are efficient, and managing versions is simple.
Customer Collaboration with Context
For external collaboration, CoLab brings Kraken’s customers the context they need. Kraken securely shares design files with customers in 3D, provides customers with the context they need, and then initiates the review. In person, or on their own time, CoLab’s 3D reviews allow Kraken’s global collaborators to execute the review at their convenience, with feedback coming to the Kraken team in real time.
"I can start on a review, and if I get called away, I can jump back in and pick up in the same place. It also gives me a place to collaborate with my team over issues - we can debate changes right on the discussion thread for the issue itself until we come to a resolution. Then we’ve got an automatic record of our decisions right there, " said Greg Walsh.
The best part? Context. Customers and Suppliers can view and evaluate the actual 3D model. CoLab’s presentation tool allows a designer to walk a reviewer through critical views of the model with all metadata, analysis tools, and file details available. Kraken provides customers with the highest level of quality and service, giving them meaningful insight into the design process, without wasting time.
Better Quality, Less Process - Reach ISO 9001
Central reviews and issue tracking, integrated revision control, and collaboration in context mean Kraken is achieving higher quality standards through these efficiencies. Kraken is also on track for ISO 9001 certification.
"ISO certification focuses on documentation and traceability. CoLab is going to be a big help with that. With CoLab, we document histories of everything automatically just by doing the work, and everything else is stored in a paperless digital record," said Greg Walsh.
Kraken is now exploring the opportunity to expand the software to additional engineering teams, locations, offices, and divisions. Kraken recently secured their biggest contract to date - a CAD $35-40 million agreement to provide new sonar technology, underwater vehicles and state-of-the-art autonomous launch and recovery systems to the Danish Navy, beating out some major industry players to do it.
Together, Kraken and CoLab are setting a new standard for design review efficiency - with quality at the core.