RCI Custom has signed a development and maintenance contract with software provider Stardraw.com to create a new, web-based tool for the design and production of custom control and connection panels. PanelBuilder will be hosted on the RCI Custom website and will allow registered users to design, specify and purchase custom panels.

"RCI had long been aware of the capabilities of applications like Stardraw Audio, but it was a trade show conversation that made them realise Stardraw.com could develop an affordable custom solution," explains managing director of Stardraw, David Snipp. "PanelBuilder is based on proven techniques seen in Stardraw applications for years, but it exploits leading-edge software and internet technology: it's fast, easy to use, powerful and, frankly, sexy."

PanelBuilder will reside on the RCI web server and work from within a browser, so there's nothing to download or install. It comprises a drag and drop interface linked to a complete library of all of RCI's panel products so the user selects the panel he or she wants, drags on the connectors that are needed, and sets engraving, finishes, artwork, etc. The resulting design is linked in realtime to backoffice systems so that a user will get an automated quote instantaneously.

Snipp adds, "OEM development of sophisticated systems like this is something Stardraw.com is very good at, and that's been shown in recent awards. More and more manufacturers are finding they need to develop specialized software tools; the smart ones, like RCI Custom, realize they have to turn to a third party professional to get them on time, to spec, and within budget."

PanelBuilder will be shown as a prototype by both RCI Custom and Stardraw at NSCA (stands 2507 and 1615 respectively).