Tolar Manufacturing Company Inc.

Autodesk Software Helps Company Create Distinctive Transit Shelters and Displays

Autodesk, Inc., has named Tolar Manufacturing (Tolar) — a manufacturer of transit shelters, street furniture and advertising kiosks — as the Autodesk Inventor of the Month for January 2012. Tolar was recognized for its use of Autodesk software in creating custom products tailored to the needs of municipalities throughout North America.

Tolar offers more than 500 shelter types within the company's four main product lines, each designed and engineered to be long-lasting, attractive and environmentally friendly. This includes complying with a wide range of building code requirements across North America and community design requirements from economical transit shelters to high volume bus rapid transit facilities. Tolar client expectations for purpose- driven design range from hurricane-resistant bus shelters for Florida communities to solar-powered transit displays for agencies in California.

"We recognize the need to design shelters specifically for today's urban environments, and Autodesk Product Design Suite definitely helps us do that more efficiently," said Patrick Merrick, executive vice president of Tolar. "We estimate that we've been able to improve our overall efficiency by 20 to 25 percent, thanks in large part to Autodesk software."

Digital Models Streamline Operations

Working with Autodesk Gold Partner KETIV Technologies, Tolar has significantly expanded its Digital Prototyping portfolio in recent years and now relies on Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Inventor Publisher, Autodesk Showcase and Autodesk Vault software.

On a typical project, Tolar begins by creating 3-D models of the proposed shelter using Inventor software. To further communicate design intent to customers, Tolar can create a near-photorealistic image of the model in Showcase software, and then superimpose it over an actual streetscape from the customer's town, enabling customers to see exactly what Tolar's product will look like when installed in the community.

Next, the Inventor manufacturing models are used to fabricate the multiple components that make up the shelter. These models provide clear, concise and comprehensive communications, resulting in fewer errors on the shop floor.

Additionally, Tolar uses Vault software to centrally store and manage its digital data, making it easier for the company to access and reuse drawings of specific parts for multiple projects rather than having to start each time from scratch — significantly reducing project turnaround time. Tolar also uses Inventor Publisher software to create installation instructions for customers.

"Tolar Manufacturing is gaining a powerful advantage across all aspects of its operations with Digital Prototyping," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. "With Autodesk software, the company is able to take its existing creative design processes and world-class manufacturing standards and make them even stronger."