Posted by Prahlad Parmar on July 26th, 2016
Mechanical or industrial designers enjoy the best jobs in the world. Their jobs are fun, creativity and challenging. But not to forget that their CAD drawings and 3D CAD designs play an extremely important role in the product process, putting them under immense pressure at times.
The product design and development phase of a part or product has gained huge traction, in last decade, in the strategic planning done by product manufacturers. The efficiency and the effectiveness of the CAD Drafting & CAD Designing, or the entire design phase leaves a deep impact on the process involving manufacturing than can be felt downstream in the product development process. One of the crucial elements of the production process, how does it fit into an organization’s strategy is very interesting.
Being a product manufacturer, industrial or building, you are well aware of the fact that market requirements are the major drivers for product development. But mere reaction to what competitors are doing would be like a postmortem of the situation, instead; designing products based on the demands of the customer gives you that competitive advantage. This is an indication that customer centric design approach forms an essential part of the business strategy for manufacturers.
Manufacturers, not taking into consideration customer preferences, end up making modifications to the product as a result of poor feedback from customers. If the part or product is manufactured, using inappropriate material i.e., composites, or lack the complexity required by the customer in the markets, costs very dearly.
Manufacturers, not only have to invest even more money into the product development, but increased time and energy as well to make the changes and a whole batch of new parts that needs to be produced. This I am sure you would agree is not the optimum use of resources.
Customer centric designs enables manufacturers as an organization to enhance the efficiency of their production and gain competitive advantage by producing exactly what the customer or the market demands. So when you have extended product design assistance, easily available, why not do things right the first time?
Conducting gruesome research work, create ideas, discuss with stakeholders, create and modify models before presenting a finished solution are some of the very essential elements of the manufacturing business. This advanced planning sets the tone right for processes occurring downstream in the product development process, enabling the functions to perform in sync.
This is exactly where Product Lifecycle Management – PLM proves its vital role. The centralized management of data and integration of 3D modeling technology across disciplines involved in product development helps significantly at gaining competitive advantage in concurrent market dynamics. PLM enables companies to enjoy a host of benefits, including an improved time to market, greater productivity, better product quality and fewer errors.
PLM and CAD file management go hand in hand; and it is important that the tuning between them is managed efficiently, as it enables the design data management across departments to improve the efficiency of the overall product development process. It empowers product manufacturers to do design modifications early on and quickly in the process, while ensuring the manufacturing of parts or products does not get compromised and the shorter time to market is attained without extra efforts. Hope this convincing enough that design is an integral part of not only the product development, but even of an overall business strategy.
There are several tools and technologies available to help manufacturer, designer or an engineer to increase the product development efficiency. 3D CAD modeling tools such as SolidWorks Design & Solidedge Design, are essentials today, providing an easy to use CAD platform to develop accurate product designs quickly. Product design in AutoCAD, from concept modeling to detailed 3D manufacturing ready models, manufacturing drawings and bill of materials (BOM), SolidWorks Modeling is one of the top most choices in the product manufacturing industry.
Product testing, however, is one the most time-consuming stages of product development cycle, which can be squeezed through the use of simulation tools. Virtual testing and validation through simulation software like ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Fluent provides an opportunity for manufacturers to test the design without going for a number of physical trials. It helps in predicting the product behavior by simulating real world conditions through numerical analysis. There is also an increasing trend of utilizing 3D printing to develop prototypes quickly. This technology is extremely useful in finalizing the concepts, since it allows the designer to understand the look and feel of the product in reality.
While all these tools do help in reducing the development time, manufacturers still struggle to meet the deadlines due to several other reasons. Manufacturers are often required to bring products as early as possible in the market at a competitive price.
Addressing the need to develop new products is difficult, since resources are already occupied in developing existing line of products. Allocating resources specifically to perform the tasks of designing and developing manufacturing information is again costly and affects the product price. This is where outsourcing helps. Engineering services companies provide the much-needed support to manufacturers through handling the design requirements such as 3D modeling, 2D drafting, simulation and rapid prototyping and that too at reduced costs.
About Author: Prahlad Parmar is an Engineering Specialist working at Mechanical 3D Modelling for the past 4 years. He caters critical engineering challenges with ease and performs exhaustive procedures to develop robust, well-engineered and high performance designs. He can always be found in the lab discussing, brainstorming and tweaking designs.