Nov 19, 2010

Ritter Sport Builds Better Chocolate Bars with Autodesk Inventor Software

Renowned German Chocolate Company Uses Digital Prototyping to Design Bars 30 Percent Faster.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif - Autodesk, Inc has named Germany’s Ritter Sport — producer of the square chocolate bar of the same name — as Autodesk Inventor of the Month for November. The renowned company uses Autodesk software to more quickly change its candy bar designs.

While the company’s famous 100-gram chocolate square remains an unchanging staple of its product lineup, Ritter Sport consistently responds to consumer demand for new shapes and sizes. Autodesk Inventor software helps the company create new designs 30 percent faster than previously to more quickly respond to market trends.

“Because it’s so much faster to make changes with Inventor, we have more time to play around with new design ideas,” said Werner Glasser, a plant engineering designer at Ritter Sport. “By turning around new ideas faster, we are always ready for market shifts.”

With more than 30 varieties and many different chocolate bar sizes currently available on the market — from the 250-gram super format to the 8-gram cube — Ritter Sport has effectively anticipated a wide variety of consumer preferences.

Visualizing with 3D Digital Prototyping

Ritter Sport adopted Autodesk Inventor software to achieve realistic 3D visualization of the chocolate bars, as well as accelerate revisions during the design process.

Beginning with the shell of the candy bar, designers go straight to Inventor to build 3D digital prototypes. The radius of the chocolate shells must be small enough to retain the desired shape, yet large enough to keep air pockets from forming in the corners of the mold. The mold must also make it possible for the bars to be removed easily after they have cooled.

Most Ritter Sport bars have fillings, such as nougat or marzipan, inside the chocolate shell, as well as nuts. That space must be included in the digital model. As a final area of visualization and simulation, designers must understand how the Ritter Sport logo will scale on each bar when the size of the bar changes.

“Every successful manufacturer relies on the ingenuity of its research, development and engineering teams to create the next great product with the utmost speed and cost-effectiveness,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “Digital Prototyping helps Ritter Sport designers spend more time iterating to find the best designs and, ultimately, have the confidence that they are creating the best chocolate.”