Suprematist Composition (Kazimir Malevich, 1916)

Design for Manufacturing as a Knowledge Management Tool

By | Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Manufacturing | No Comments

In the first part of this two-part blog article, I discussed how two global high-tech manufacturing companies use validation tools to formalize and automate the design review process for downstream manufacturing, thereby reducing costly and time-consuming rework and engineering change orders, manufacturing defects, and costs.

In this article, I discuss the benefits of using formal manufacturability validation tools as a mechanism for best-practice knowledge capture and continuous improvement.

A Growing Manufacturing Knowledge Gap

Many design engineers lack theoretical and practical manufacturing process knowledge in well-established manufacturing disciplines such as injection molding, casting, and sheet metal fabrication. This gap is more pronounced in newer manufacturing processes that involve composite materials and additive manufacturing. Read More

Suprematist Composition (Kazimir Malevich, 1916)

Design for Manufacturing: Getting it Right the First Time Pays Off

By | Manufacturing | One Comment

Competing in a Global Market – What’s Your Competitive Advantage?

Today’s global marketplace gives companies access to more customers and greater growth possibilities. But to succeed in a crowded, hypercompetitive market requires companies to outperform the competition in speed to market, product quality, competitive pricing, and strong margins.

Traditional product leadership tends to focus, not unreasonably, on competitive functionality and cost. But all too often management neglects to consider the far-reaching impact that suboptimal design could have during prototyping and manufacturing volume ramp up.  Whether because of time pressure, lack of experience, or just complacency, many product organizations often ignore downstream manufacturing during product design.

Study after study shows that inept design for manufacturability leads to unnecessary engineering changes, slower time to market, and higher manufacturing ramp up costs. Meeting project schedules, achieving a high level of quality, and controlling production costs are highly dependent on getting designs right the first time. Read More

Fennel

Industrializing Additive Manufacturing: From Trinkets and Toys to Turbines and Trucks

By | 3D Printing, Manufacturing | No Comments

For most of its short history, additive manufacturing technology innovation focused on demonstrating and proving its viability. Commercial 3D printer manufacturers have been busy making fanciful trinkets and miniature plastic replicas of industrial parts, while only a small number of industrial manufacturers have been using the technology in a limited role in prototyping and a product development stage between 3D model design and small-scale manufacturing.

From the introduction of stereolithography technology as a rapid prototyping technique in 1980, additive manufacturing evolved as a technology rather than an engineering and manufacturing discipline. While the 3D printing technology and material science have demonstrated rapid progress over the last couple of decades, the process and practice of additive manufacturing still lack industrial manufacturing orientation.

There are, of course, notable exceptions such as 3D-printed water pump impellers in a nuclear power plant in Slovenia and 3D-printed titanium bracket used in serial production Airbus A350. Read More

Drawing Hands (M.C. Escher, 1948)

The Internet of Things and Blockchain: When Overhyped Technologies Intersect

By | Internet of Things | No Comments

What’s the role of blockchain technology in the industrial Internet of Things?

This is a question I am frequently asked during my webinars, lectures, and casual conversations about Internet of Things. Many argue that blockchain technology is the missing element that will now fuel the rapid growth in IoT and bring the value we’ve been promised by vendors and pundits, while other observers believe that both technologies are still nascent and overhyped and will take time to mature and prove value.

When blockchain and IoT technologies, each promising to revolutionize all aspects of our lives, are brought together, do they result in something greater than the sum of their parts? Or is it yet another case of overhyped technologies that cause much excitement but are slow to mainstream and deliver on the promise? Read More

The Red Queen (Sir John Tenniel, 1871)

Connected Assets Drive Business Agility

By | Internet of Things, Strategy | No Comments

Business Agility

All organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve productivity, streamline internal processes, respond to changing business circumstances, and serve customers better and quicker.

But today’s ever-changing global markets present threats and opportunities at every turn. Since 2000, more than half the companies in the Fortune 500 have either been acquired or merged, gone bankrupt, or joined their peers in the graveyard of failed businesses. These organizations failed to recognize and respond quickly enough to the pace of change. Poor business agility led to their demise.

Business leaders are worried. A new research reveals that two thirds of C-suite executives believe that 40 percent of the Fortune 500 will not exist in 10 years.

Organizations must perform better and faster to remain competitive, as the Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass observed: “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” Read More