Integrating Design and Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage

September 29, 2020

Globalization has enhanced the creativity and innovation of the products as customers are offered regular updates on the existing features in terms of technology and design. These updates are the essence of growing competition and companies try to support it with supreme quality and economical costs to remain competitive. It requires an organized system of procedures to connect all these changes in the product development ie. concept to delivery. Leading businesses offer amazing engineering solutions by making the regular transformation from design to manufacturing. As the world is becoming increasingly competitive, It has become essential for companies to differentiate their products. Hence companies are ensuring a balance of cost, time, performance, innovation, and quality to steal the market share.

Integrating Design and Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage

Most of the businesses have integrated the design and manufacturing processes together to enhance product development while lowering cost and improving quality. It is crucial for companies to take advantage of the available opportunities while winning customers for boosting profitability. The integration of design and manufacturing can have a tremendous impact on improving productivity and eliminating various product challenges. The decisions that a designer makes while making the design of the products can have long term implications of the company as it can affect the production costs and quality of the product. Most companies suffer a decline in profits due to their ineffective design that leads to costly scrap and reworks. If companies ignore the utilization of manufacturing while designing, it result in impacting production costs and missing on opportunities.

Creating great designs require flexible tools that can support creative thinking and design complexity for exceptional design. A supreme design tool should allow manufacturing while designing the finished product. It should be easier for the designer to design, visualize, and animate the product. This makes it easier for the manufacturers to identify the misalignment, errors, and tolerance issues and helps in preventing risks that arise due to late findings of the problems. A typical design tool should run animation, simulations, and even validate a design for ensuring product quality and performance. There are tools in the market that can do all of these processes effectively and help in delivering optimized products with innovation.

Integrating design and manufacturing in a product development process can help in improving quality by enforcing standards. It helps in preventing assembly problems and can project cost drivers that may impact fabrication. It allows high-quality production of parts by eliminating hits and trials. Increased collaboration between designers and manufacturers allows greater time and flexibility in innovation. The use of appropriate tools to 3D model the product can ensure automatic updating of the product efficiently as the design evolves.

The lack of collaboration between designing and manufacturing creates a fundamental barrier. There are numerous bottlenecks and challenges when the communication between the designing and manufacturing team is not effective. The manufacturers and designers should share their data with each other as it prevents errors in the translation process and can reduce misalignment. Globally, there is a need for manufacturing to transition to new models of innovation by including design to drive competitiveness. Though the relationship between designing and manufacturing is well established but to grow through marketing and innovation challenges, a product must assist in improving processes that accelerate time to market.

The adoption of comprehensive integration of designing with a manufacturing action plan can scale up the businesses quickly. The major elements of the integration action plan include raising awareness and building capacity among employees to work in collaboration with each other. It will not only enhance the opportunities for businesses to deliver innovation-led design but also build a knowledge base for future expeditions. Organizations can capitalize on significant value by adopting manufacturing-design integration. It ensures greater success by integrating varied knowledge across the two departments. Integration led approach develops a solid research base that can identify and target avenues for innovation and profitability.

Designing is an essential piece of the manufacturing process as it streamlines production. These designs can be for machining, moldability, casting, forging, fabrication, and assembly. An integrated approach enables companies to manufacture parts that hold down costs. It ensures the efficiency of the manufacturing and assembly of the products. Though manufacturing and designing have their own features and characteristics, they have a common goal for the organization ie, to deliver innovative products.

An integrated manufacturing and designing approach can achieve many goals for the organizations. It can increase profitability by controlling manufacturing costs. It also helps in preventing downtime and production stoppages by ensuring the precise processing of design changes. This approach enhances the agility of the organization by rectifying changes on the fly, thereby eliminating wasted or duplicated effort. It optimizes material usage by simulating the various designs for the validation.

Manufacturing can accelerate time-to-market by ensuring designs are streamlined and produced with their validation. Providing designs with a guarantee to be production-ready saves time and ensures manufacturable products. It accelerates assembly operations as the design team can simulate the dynamics and kinematics analysis well before the production. It facilitates late-cycle changes by automating manufacturing outflows while the simulation of the product. The best way to cut costs is to offer a supreme product quality with greater accuracy as it reduces the product returns and warranty costs.

Manufacturing and product design is no longer a separate entity but rather two sides of the same coin. Utilizing an integrated approach can avoid time-consuming delays, unnecessary costs, and undesirable quality issues. Achieving these objectives can enhance the competitiveness of an organization and thereby increase profitability.

Also Read: How Rapid Prototyping Helps You Design And Develop Products Quickly

Smart Home and Home Automation with IoT

September 15, 2020

What is a smart home? This sounds like a really simple question but the answer is in fact not so much. Every person has their own definition for a smart home depending on their requirements or priorities. A general idea of a smart home refers to a convenient setup of your home to connect all the appliances and the devices present in your home to the internet so they could be remotely controlled from anywhere with any device having an internet connection. This is how we have perceived the concept of a smart home for a decade anyways. It had little to do with intelligence but rather with remote control or automation. A decade ago, a home where you could operate your blinders from your smart phone or train your thermostat to adjust with your preferred temperature was enough to call it a smart home. But, today a smart home implies much more than just a remote-controlled living space.

Smart Home and Home Automation with IoT

Today, a smart home coupled with data science and IoT is capable of adjusting itself completely to live up to its resident’s needs and sometimes even exceeding them to give them a safer, more entertaining, and comfortable stay. Using different types of sensory devices, appliances, and the whole spaces, a smart home collects and analyzes that data to determine your usage pattern and accordingly personalize your home to better suit your needs and impart you with a pleasant experience of living in your home.

McKinsey Global Institute has predicted a massive value growth of around the U.S. $11.1 trillion annually for the IoT by the year 2025. A smart home that is always connected to the internet to provide an unprecedented level of control and comfort to its residents will have a major role in this growth.

Today, there are only 12-16% of households in the U.S that use IoT smart home appliances. However, a recent survey indicates an impressive number of potential buyers and some sources even claim that around two-thirds of the consumers are likely to own some kind of smart home IoT devices by the end of the year. Let’s look at some practical uses and benefits of IoT smart home devices;

Monitoring and control – We can now focus our attention and energy on the things that value more in life like family, friends, or career, and it’s all thanks to the brand new level of control that we have over our household owing to the smart home IoT solution and services. We can easily manage and control the full range of functionality of our household devices on a mobile or web application. We don’t have to worry about managing little things in our household that takes up so much from the little time we get to enjoy with our friends and family and all that at literally just a click of a button. Smart system collects data from the connected devices in your household and lets you keep track of how things work in your household. For example, some smart fridges can check on the expiration dates on the products and notify you at the right time to help you optimize your shopping list or how much electricity each device is consuming or the quality of air in your living space, etc.

Optimization of spending – As already mentioned, an IoT enabled smart home system keeps collecting data from the smart devices in real-time to enable transparency to your household. This data provides you insights into electricity, water, and gas consumption. With the generated insights you can easily identify the waste points to adjust your usage accordingly and cut down on any kind of extra utility spending. Aside from that, smart devices are capable of optimizing the use of resources. For example, a smart bulb can detect the presence of residents in the living space and automatically turn on and off depending on the data coming from the presence sensors.

Environmental impact – This is one area where the application of IoT benefits not only the residents but our environment and the whole planet too. By optimizing our use of resources, we are not only reducing our spending but also helping in decreasing our carbon footprint. That’s why IoT is already being considered as the igniting flame of the green energy revolution. IoT enabled appliances and devices enable everyone to optimize the use of their resources in the best possible way so as to cut down on wastage and pollution and promote green energy by reducing carbon emissions. The scope of IoT smart devices is rapidly growing in this sector as it is high time that we start our transition to greener energy sources to prevent inflicting any further damage to our environment at our hands.

Improved comfort – IoT based smart home devices possess a certain level of autonomy that grants them situation-based decision-making capabilities. Thus, a smart bulb can turn on or off depending on the presence of its residents or window blinders adjust themselves to the daylight change to allow just enough light inside the house to make its residents feel comfortable. This decision making capability of smart devices makes our lives easier by operating according to the situations autonomously while still leaving the main controls in our hands.

Enhanced security – When we talk about security for homes, we generally think about security from unintended intrusions and theft. But IoT based smart home systems has broadened the scope of security of households. Now, IoT enabled smart home systems can detect power surges, water or gas leakages, etc. and notify you or respective authorities about the imminent danger and prevent any complications or even a possible catastrophe.

These are a few of the many areas of our lives that can be improved with the introduction of IoT based smart home systems in our households. And while the technology is still premature and has a lot of room for improvement, it has shown promising results so far and is a strong contender for the viable source of green energy.

Also Read: Unleashing The Potential Of IIoT By Connecting The Physical And Digital Worlds

Finite Element Analysis for Industrial Machinery and Equipment

September 8, 2020

Industrial machinery and equipment always present great hurdles for designing reliable manufacturing solutions. Most industrial machines are expensive hence the cost of equipment failure in machinery can be costly. Therefore, manufacturing industries do a careful evaluation of any prospective design before it can be utilized for delivering valuable products.

Finite element analysis is one of the techniques that has been used extensively by industries for the analysis and design of machinery and equipment. Earlier, it was used only as a tool for structural analysis but now it has become an integral part of Computer-Aided Engineering. It is now invariably used for developing electromagnetic and biomechanics solutions. Finite element analysis delivers exact solutions to the complicated partial differential equations of complicated machine geometry and boundary conditions. It transforms partial differential equations into algebraic equations.

The procedure of finite element analysis is simple and can be applied to any of the real-life problems.

  • Finite element analysis is started with an assumed trial solution. It is done so because both the differential equations and the boundary conditions are unknown. It should be noted that the assumed trial solution must satisfy the boundary
  • Generally, the assumed trial solution does not completely satisfy the differential equation hence there is always an error while satisfying the differential equation. This error is also called domain
  • The residual domain varies at different points of the structural domain and it is very difficult to bring it down to nil at every point. Hence, it is ensured that the residual domain is brought down to the smallest unit. So that the weighted sum of the domain residual when estimated over all the structural domain is rendered
  • The estimation of the assumed trial solution is a very difficult process and requires expertise for determining an accurate assumed trial solution. Each structural domain should be discretized into several independent segments which are also called finite elements. These consist of numerous continuous trial functions within each finite element.
  • These trial functions are used to estimate the value of the field variable at any of the points in the interior of the segment. These key points are called nodes. Trial functions that are used in the finite element are known as element level shape functions.
  • This is followed by estimating the weighted sum for the entire structural domain. The element level shape functions are utilized to obtain the weighted sum of domain residual for each of the elements which are further added up over all the elements to compute the weighted sum of the entire structural
  • The estimated value of the elements is then transformed into elemental level characteristic matrices are programmed into software like IDEAS, NASTRAN, etc. The program uses the characteristics matrices of each element that are then added up to obtain the system-level

The finite element analysis method is increasingly used to obtain the solution for structural mechanics problems. It offers easy visualization of the machinery and equipment and is applicable to real-life problems of varied physical domains. One of them is the aerospace industry. The finite element analysis is used for the structural analysis in the aerospace industry. It is used for analyzing mode shapes, natural frequencies, and aero-servo-elastic studies. It is also used in aerodynamics and for analyzing natural frequencies.

 

Finite element analysis is also extensively applicable in the complex configuration of dielectric insulating materials and electrodes. It can be used for enhancing the optimization and dependability of insulated design in high voltage equipment. Finite element analysis can provide an equipotential field plot for a high voltage transformer and can assure the minimization of stray losses in electrical machines. One of the preferred processes for installing a thermal wire bonding between a lead frame and a semiconductor chip is the thermosonic wire bonding. It is connected by a metal wire. Wire bonding technology is a very complex task and works within certain boundaries and specifications, these designs have to meet the objective of lower mass, inertia, and higher dynamic stiffness. In such technologies, finite element analysis helps in analyzing the dynamic rigidity of the system.

 

The method of final element analysis is applicable to various engineering problems because of the common characteristics in the mathematical formulation of the problems. Problems with the same form of partial differential equation generally correspond to varied physical problems. One of the methods that are very powerful in obtaining the solutions of the differential equations is the Weighted Residual (WR) method. Piecewise trial approximation of the weighted residual technique is the basis of the finite element analysis. The finite element analysis of a given differential equation has the following steps:

  • The first step is to note down the weighted residual
  • Then, the differential equation is integrated by performing integration by parts significant times so that the distribution of the differential between the various variables and the weighting function is even. Further, the weak form of the weighted residual is developed. It must be noted that the weak form of the differential equation is within the natural boundary
  • The n elements of the weak form of the differential equation are added
  • Further, the nodes and geometry ie. The finite elements are
  • The function is further interpolated to derive the shape and is further used as a weighting
  • The next step is to structure the element level equations to develop the system equations for a given structure of finite element
  • The equations obtained after the previous step is substituted and solved for the unknown

In manufacturing industries, the crankshaft is an important component of industrial machinery. Crankshafts have to experience fluctuations in torques due to simultaneous strokes in the cylinder. It results in torsional vibrations which occur due to twisting reaction in rotatory shafts. The analysis of the torsional vibration is done by discretizing the crankshaft and other drivelines components. These components are considered as a set of lumped masses and springs. Due to the complex geometry of the multicylinder engine crankshafts, the bending modes are coupled with the torsion modes. Hence the three-dimensional vibrational analysis of crankshaft is done to save time while designing real-life products. Generally, the beam element model is used to analyze automotive crankshaft.

The thermal analysis of a pressure vessel is an important process in equipment manufacturing. It is one of the applications of the finite element analysis. It helps in checking the rigidity and stability of the machinery in challenging conditions. The first step in the thermal analysis of the pressure vessel is the geometrical modeling of the required pressure vessel. The modeling is done for the two-dimensional structure along with the other threads. It should be noted that at a steady-state, the temperature of inside wall should be 300 degrees Celsius while the temperature of the outside wall should be 50 degrees celsius. Further, the distribution of the temperature along the vessel wall and threads should be noted down. The important thing in the thermal analysis of a pressure vessel is to obtain the distribution of the temperature when the gas temperature inside the vessel is at 450 degrees Celcius. The next step is to solve the thermal stresses at the stable state of the vessel which can be followed by finding the temperature distribution of the vessel as a function of time.

Other applications of the finite element analysis are as follows:

  • Structural dynamic analysis of a pressure vessel.
  • Dynamics of a hard disk drive head assembly.
  • Visualizing stress
  • Thermal analysis of an IC Engine
  • Analysis of a turbine
  • Dynamic analysis of a
  • Structural analysis of an automotive chassis dynamics.
  • Dynamics of a scooter

In the method of finite element analysis, the accuracy of the solution is determined in terms of the refined element mesh. There are generally two methods for mesh refinement. First, h- refinement where an increasing number of elements are used to design a particular structural domain. Second, p-refinement where interpolation functions are increased by using the order of the polynomials. The refinement is done to estimate the sequential solutions that show the exact solution.

 

Finite element analysis can be considered a mathematical method for analyzing problems of mathematical and engineering physics. It is applicable to problems with complex loading, material properties, and geometries. Though stress analysis of trusses and beams can be analyzed by finding an analytical solution while finite element analysis is utilized in the situation where the designs are very complex. It is highly required for the situation where the accuracy is essential. It is highly crucial to identify the physical behaviors like fluid flow, strength, and transfer capability of complex objects. It is also useful in understanding the optimal design and predicting the behavior and performance of the design.

 

Some of the industries that use the finite element analysis method in their product delivery are mechanical engineering, civil engineering, automotive engineering, and aerospace engineering. It is useful for analyzing processes like fluid flow, heat transfer, electromagnetic fields, soil mechanics, acoustics, and biomechanics. Industries are increasingly utilizing the capability of this technique by further increasing the durability and design of their equipment and machinery.

 

Also Read – Applications Of Computational Fluid Dynamics

Overcoming Challenges in the Development of Heavy Engineering Products

September 1, 2020

The continuous changes in modern technology have increased the pressure on industries to develop efficient and innovative products. The global industrial and consumer market has grown over the years to keep up with the needs of the customers. Heavy engineering is one of the sectors that have taken hold of the competitive market and has started developing products of numerous functionalities.

Overcoming Challenges in the Development of Heavy Engineering Products

Heavy engineering products are used in the construction industry, shipping, oil and gas industries, automobiles, railways, etc. It manufactures custom design equipment and critical products to the clients. But the development of heavy engineering products is not an easy task and manufacturers have to go through many hurdles before the delivery of the product. Some of the challenges in the development of heavy engineering products are:

Lack of Government Support

Businesses need basic physical infrastructure for economic development such as power supply, roads, transportation facilities, etc. Socio-economic development is the key element in the age of globalization and basic infrastructure development leads to greater profitability of the businesses. Hence, the government should work for enhancing the infrastructural development to enable ease in access to the market for businesses.

Monetary support is also necessary for business development and in times of crisis. The assistance for the development of heavy engineering industries has been poor and inadequate over the years. The government makes laws for the public but some of these laws are not business-friendly. The government should ensure that all its policies are made after the collaboration of all the stakeholders. The government should provide timely assistance by cutting tax rates and easing out other compliances. It is important that the government ensure the success of the businesses by taking into consideration financial support.

Ensure Collaboration

The crucial factor in the development of heavy engineering products is the competitiveness of the sector. One of the challenges that the heavy engineering industry faces is the right team, distributors, and supply chains for product development. The lack of collaboration between the team, customers, and other stakeholders endangers the product and limits product development. It results in loss of revenues, reducing the response rate to the market changes, and innovation hurdles. The lack of coordination among the designers, manufacturers, and sellers creates inefficient resource utilization and duplication of effort.

Greater collaboration among all the stakeholders in the development of heavy engineering product ensures lesser redundancies and structured source of information. It extends the efficient planning of deadlines by following a fixed schedule. It allows information sharing across the enterprise and ensures faster insights into clients’ needs. Enabling collaborated heavy engineering products reduces the production cost and increase innovation.

Enhancing Product Quality

Product quality is one of the factors that ensure greater customer satisfaction and market reach. The quality of heavy engineering products is dependent on the performance, appeal, durability, reliability, characteristics, and service level of the product. Continuous quality improvement ensures profitability, market share, and an increase in new customers. Quality is the constant development of the product as per the customers’ expectations. The product quality can be improved by enhancing work effectiveness and flexibility. The product needs to fill the customer, society expectations, and the goals of the organization. Hence, enhancing product quality is a continuous challenge for heavy engineering industries.

Constant development in the operations of the product development allows effective management of the company and keeps the morale of the organization high. Organizations should prepare high-level training programs and continuous seminars for constant training of the employees. This gives the employees a mental framework to work for customer satisfaction and product innovation.

Meeting Deadlines

Heavy engineering industries have to stay ahead of the time and deliver the products within the expected time of the clients. The development of heavy engineering products is a very complex task and often the development of products extends over the scheduled time. It is very crucial for heavy engineering industries to stay organized over the course of product development and plan ahead of time. The organization should prioritize tasks to meet deadlines and establish a routine to meet the target as per the schedule.

The entire life cycle of the product development should be broken down into small tasks with small deadlines for each task. The task should be achievable, realistic, and specific. The schedule of each task should be noted down so as to remain focused on that particular task as per schedule. Monitoring the progress of product development is the key to ensure the timely delivery to the client.

Reducing Production Cost

Heavy engineering industries have to operate and maintain the equipment for product development at a lower cost. This gives high engineering production units an intense financial pressure to deliver high throughput and profits. Hence, it becomes problematic for industries to decrease production costs by managing their operations and maintenance.

The percentage of replacement asset value is an important benchmark to keep the production running smoothly and safely. It helps in maintaining the resources efficiently. Most of the maintenance activities are unnecessary and unproductive. It reduces the flow of work and increases delivery time. Better alarm and emergency management can enhance the flow of production work. The productivity of the production can be increased by preventing abnormal situations and following correct strategies at work. Optimizing economic performance requires making changes in energy consumption, resource utilization, and production time. Companies should ensure that they prevent the abnormal situation and provide a continuous flow of real-time information.

Competitive Market

A competitive market is a challenge for the heavy engineering industries but it is a good challenge to have as a market without competition hampers industrial development, innovation, and productivity. Heavy engineering products are constantly evolving and are providing endless solutions to various industries globally. A competitive market enhances sales and profits. It catalyzes private sector development and economic growth. But certain government policies, legislations, and ill-conduct of firms destabilize the competitive market and sales.

A competitive market allows companies to use their resources for the development of innovative products and services. It helps in the adoption of better technologies and practices. A competitive market ensures the discovery of the correct market price of a product and attracts revenue for sustainable businesses. The government has the key role to play in ensuring the correct market practices for the holistic growth of the businesses. A good national competitive policy allows for greater market discovery.

Distribution

The distribution is the way of connecting various agencies and intermediaries to complete the physical movement of the finished products and services. It ensures the realization of orders and the promotion of the product. It facilitates information about potential buyers, demand, and competition. An effective distribution channel promotes risk-taking, and thereby innovation. A distribution channel is dependent on each other’s organizational units for the flow of products.

Heavy engineering products require effective distribution channels to meet customer expectations. With the arrival of digital technology, companies have to create alternate distribution models for the dissemination of information. But distribution channels come with numerous challenges and the companies have to tackle them separately. Some of these challenges are integrity issues, disclosure obligations, inappropriate advice, etc. heavy engineering companies can build the trust of the distributors through continuous workshops and seminars to reinforce good ethical conduct. This also helps in greater literacy and protection of consumers.

Marketing

The market for heavy engineering products has been growing globally for the past few decades. It has made it possible for manufacturers to reap the benefits of economic growth and development. The continuous growth of the product in the market requires a dynamic marketing strategy to transfer the product information to the consumers correctly.

A business has to work very hard to identify, satisfy, and retain its customers in the competitive market. Good marketing ensures product, market, and selling orientation. A good marketing strategy comes with competitive positing and a unique brand strategy. The pricing of the product should be fixed by holding a thorough conversation with all the stakeholders. Effective market planning and budgeting enhance sales and profits by promoting the product on different platforms. The traditional platforms like direct mail, telemarketing, trade shows, and events are still an effective way to market a heavy engineering product.

Resource Allocation

Constraints in the allocation of the resources to various needs of the organization are one of the major challenges affecting the heavy engineering industries. The company has to assure an optimum level of finances, workforce, technology, and management support for the effective delivery of the product. The company’s management should ensure the equitable distribution of resources in all of its departments. The company should ensure that all the decisions should be taken transparently and with the knowledge of all the stakeholders.

A company should ensure that it distributes all its skill sets and responsibilities in a planned manner so as to keep up with the development schedule. Optimum utilization of the benchmarks should be done by the management in order to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the resources.

Also Read: How Off-Heavy Equipment Designs Are Transforming?