Product development and manufacturing is in a stage of major transformation across the globe.
With a message from the market to speed up the development process, manufacturers are consistently looking to improvise their manufacturing processes and develop technological capabilities to shorten the development cycle.
Digitizing the product design process has helped manufacturers in minimizing the development time significantly.
However, there are still many organizations that struggle to implement the digital manufacturing strategy. The article discusses important transformation stages that any manufacturing firm looking for digitization goes through.
The points discussed here can help you in asking critical questions such as to what extent is your organization’s product development process digitized?
What are the steps being taken to elevate the transformation process? And how beneficial is it to digitize the development process?
Use of CAD tools
The utilization of 2D CAD tools has widespread across most manufacturing organizations. 2D drawings are essentially required in many industries including mechanical, civil and electrical domains. Shop floor requirements are often in term of 2D formats; allowing smooth communication between internal departments as well as outside vendors or clients. The availability of However, 2D is simply an initial step towards digitizing the development process, as its utilization is limited to some extent. It does not clear the information to people with less technical skills.
Transformation from 2D to 3D
The real digital transformation takes place with the adoption of 3D CAD tools in the product development process. The use of 3D brings along several benefits that help in reducing the time to market. 3D CAD models provide better insights on appearance and its working to better demonstrate the product features across the departments.
There are organizations that prefer with traditional 2D CAD environment to avoid spending additional time and cost in developing 3D models from past 2D drawings repository.
However, the actual benefit lies in utilizing both the 2D and 3D environment. While 3D may assist in performing analysis and clash detection, 2D can help in imparting manufacturing information to collaborate with shop floor or supply chain partners.
The use of virtual testing is increasingly becoming important among the manufacturers due to its ability to predict design behavior prior to actual manufacturing. With full-fledged 3D modeling capabilities, the next transformation phase is to implement virtual testing in the design process.
Using virtual simulation tools such as finite element analysis and computational fluid mechanics, the product behavior and its performance can be measured before going for a full physical experimental test.
Virtual testing enables reduction in number of prototyping trials as there is initial design data available to start with. This helps in reducing the product development cycle significantly and also makes it possible to perform design changes instantly based on the simulation results.
The use of rapid prototyping is seen as an emerging trend in the manufacturing sector, allowing manufacturers to physically feel the design aspects of the product. With consistently evolving 3D printing technologies and materials, the manufacturing sector is about to witness a paradigm shift in a way products are being manufactured.
Prior to actual production, the use of rapid prototyping enables determining required manufacturing processes and tools as well as figure out flaws in the design to avoid last moment manufacturing errors.
The process of digitizing the product development process is at its peak across all the engineering domains, as it has proved to be a significant strategy in minimizing the development cycle and bring products faster to the market. Its adopters have seen a remarkable growth in the organization’s operational efficiency, allowing the production of better and low cost products.
Is the product development strategy in your organization still follows a conventional approach? If so, the time is now; as getting it right the first time is essentially the required strategy to survive in a competitive landscape. And the only possible way is to digitize the product development process right from conceptualization to product designing, testing and final manufacturing.
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Filed Under: Rapid prototyping