Shorter time to market and less waste with simulation

Accelerated Market Entry and Reduced Waste with PTC Creo Simulation

When the Finnish designer and manufacturer of furniture Martela developed their latest product family, the Ella chair, they used simulation with PTC Creo.

“It was really an eye-opener. You can do all tests needed in 3D, if you have the skills,” Martela’s R&D manager, Juho Laine, states. 

Martela is more than a manufacturer of furniture for professional and public environments. The company designs and manufactures complete workplaces and learning environments.  While its core focus remains on furniture, the company’s expertise extends far beyond.  

In 2023, Martela released a new and big product family, a series of chairs called Ella, designed by the renowned Finnish designer, Antti Kotilainen. This collaboration stands as a testament to the brand’s commitment to prestigious and innovative design projects.

Ella Furniture Family

In an ambition to speed up product development and reach the market faster, without compromising quality, Martela embraced simulation as part of the testing process. They started a collaboration with the consultant Niko Rosenberg together with Martela’s long-term partner PDSVISION. Niko Rosenberg was about to do his thesis on FEM-analysis (i.e. simulation) at his university, and the Ella project was a perfect fit.

Using Creo also for simulation 

In the preliminary stages of the development project, the engineers at Martela R&D began creating 3D models and prototypes of many variants in the lab. In this phase of the Ella project, Martela used PTC Creo, which is a 3D CAD tool with simulation capabilities integrated. Together with Niko Rosenberg and PDSVISION, the R&D team at Martela could now deepen its skills in using Creo, not only as a CAD-tool, but also for simulating stress and load tests.

“The simulation means that we get a certainty regarding critical structures earlier in the development process. Thanks to this, we can shorten the R&D work. We will, in an early phase, know that the product will withstand the forces in the test laboratory, even before we make the first prototype.”

R&D Manager at Martela

Juho Laines

This means that once a physical prototype reaches the test lab, it will most likely withstand the test forces and be ready to proceed to the production phase. 

“It shortens the lead times, and we don’t have to test prototypes that will break. In other words, shorter time to market and less waste,” Juho Laine says and adds: “Working with simulation also widens and deepens our skills and knowledge about materials and constructions.” 

More difficult than rocket science  

It may seem as if designing and constructing a chair is not rocket science. How difficult can it be? Juho Laine disagrees. 

“It is actually more difficult than rocket science, as we are using living materials like wood. There are no fixed physical dimensions or forces you always can rely on. Each tree differs. For this reason, we even need to test chairs from the production line sometimes, to be sure they are lasting.” 

Ella Furniture Family

The simulation tool can consider these “living factors” in its analysis, providing the engineers put in accurate data.  

“We are following the European standard, EN, which still requires physical tests. But as the simulation analysis follows EN standards, the need for physical tests will be considerably less.” 

Is simulation worth the effort?   

Parallel to the simulation, Martela’s R&D team did traditional tests in its accredited test lab, to make comparisons and draw conclusions about the simulation. Was it worth the time and effort spent? Juho Laine’s and Martela’s answer is yes. 

“Education and training in simulation are worthwhile, and the FEM-analyses are accurate. We can conclude that the simulation mimics the loads and forces according to the physical tests. It gives us correct directions where to go,” Juho Laine says. “Our and Niko Rosenberg’s conclusion is that we can use simulation in all product segments, and that we already have the tools needed in our Creo license package.” 

The outcome of Niko Rosenberg’s thesis and the collaboration with PDSVISION is that Martela will take simulation one step further and implement it in the development of future products. 

“That is most likely. We have already continued the education and training of our R&D team.” 

Long-term partnership saves time 

Martela and PDSVISION have a long history together, going back to the 1990s, when Martela adapted 3D CAD in its R&D work. Juho Laine has been at Martela for twelve years and knows the PDSVISION team very well.

They are happy people, like us,” he laughs, “and it is effortless to work with PDSVISION. Our partnership means that they have all the knowledge they need about us as a company. We never need to educate them–it is the other way around. They are not just suppliers of licenses; they supply us with knowledge as well. This is important to us, something that became clear with the Ella chair.” 

R&D Manager at Martela

Juho Laine

Ella Furniture Family

Discover Ella: Timeless Design and Versatility by Antti Kotilainen at Martela


“Ella, designed by Antti Kotilainen, is a versatile and responsibly produced range of universal chairs that will withstand the test of time with its timeless design. The range offers options for the constantly changing needs of modern workspaces and for public indoor spaces, restaurants, cafes, and co-working spaces.” 

Visit the presentation of the Ella series at Martela’s Ella Series

Antti Kotilainen 

Designer Antti Kotilainen has been collaborating with Martela for a long time. Organic shapes and functionality that meet modern needs characterize his designs. Kotilainen has, in a Nordic tradition, explored new ways of working with wood. Kotilainen has attracted a great deal of international attention during his career. He is one of Finland’s most successful furniture designers. 

About Martela

Martela is one of the Nordic leaders specialising in creating better working and learning environments.

Martela is a family business founded in 1945. It designs and manufactures user-driven workplaces and learning environments where different spaces support individual ways of working and learning. Starting as a furniture manufacturer, Martela has transformed into a partner for developing workplaces and learning environments. Its range of products and services covers the entire lifecycle of its customers premises, from defining needs to optimization during use.


Architecture and Planning

Photos: Materla


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