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What is the Role of Retrofit Engineering in Product Development?

November 24, 2020

The product development process is a series of interdependent and routinely overlapping tasks that convert an idea into a prototype building and on to a marketable product. Companies ensure that processes are smooth and flexible for the consumers. As the original idea advances through the development process, it is refined and routinely evaluated for commercial and technical feasibility. Trade-offs between the various objectives such as price, market availability, cost, market availability, performance, quality, and reliability are made throughout the process. Now, there is great hype about designing for manufacturability. The focus is on the businesses’ internal manufacturing systems. Yet, when those accountable for design ignore the manufacturing process and technological capabilities of outside suppliers and enterprises, problems with control, time-to-market, quality, configuration, and cost are inevitable. If optimal design performance is to be achieved, manufacturers must be active from the start, when they can have a significant impact on cost, time, performance, and quality. Selected suppliers should participate in value engineering, prototype failure, feasibility studies, and stress analysis, among other product development tasks.

Retrofit Engineering in Product Development

Extensive rework, redesign, and retrofit operations are normal when a company is working in the conventional functional model. Ultimately, the absence of teamwork results in processes that are a continuing problem on the firm’s long-term competitiveness. The design and development of new products are one of the manufacturing firm’s most essential tasks as it affects profitability and even survival. The firm’s suppliers and supply management have key contributions to make during this process. A growing number of successful manufacturing firms involve supply management and suppliers upfront because of contributions they can make in the areas of cost, quality, and time to market.

The global competition and global marketplace, combined with modern computers, communication systems, and sophisticated software, have developed an environment where “time to market” and first to market have tremendous competitive advantages. Significantly, the need to decrease development time has forced enterprises to look for new methods to compete. The use of suppliers and supply professionals earlier in the product development cycle is a crucial way to decrease time to market. The benefits of an integrated approach to new product development no longer can be ignored. The lack of effective, cooperative teamwork among the functions just noted routinely has been accompanied by cost overruns, quality problems, major scheduling problems, forgone all-in-cost savings, and new products that are late to enter the marketplace. Also, early recognition of difficulties is impossible or difficult in the absence of cooperative teamwork.

As the machinery and products of the companies, organizations, and people in general ages and becomes less effective with time, the services of the product and machinery become a crucial part of the operations. Routine services not only avoid breakdowns but also enhance the product’s productivity and reliability. Almost all of the successful companies focus on their core competencies to drive profits and hence require regular servicing of their machinery to keep up with the technological advancements. Even a small breakdown in the machinery and products can halt most of the organization’s operations resulting in a significant number of problems. Retrofitting is one of the most important ways that can enhance the performance of aging machines and products.

Retrofit engineering is an incredible way to minimize the risk of machine breakage and unplanned machine shutdowns in an organization. It helps in servicing aging equipment and outmoded machinery. It may involve enhancing the reliability and maintainability of the system and subsystem. It is also useful in redesigning mechanical, electrical, and software systems, subsystems, and various other components. Retrofit engineering is helpful in replacing outdated technology with innovative and modern solutions. It increases the mean time between product failures and helps in the development of in-house diagnostic and maintenance capabilities. Various steps of a typical retrofit engineering project are:

  • Analyzing the exiting design and reviewing the documentation
  • Creating the new design or re-engineering the existing design
  • Simulating to verify functionality
  • Assembling prototype to verify design
  • Validating through testing and demonstration of the prototype
  • Generating complete technical data package to support design

Retrofitting is the process of replacing obsolete operating systems and machine components to extend the working life. It benefits the organizations as retrofitting incurs lower costs as compared to purchasing the new machine. It enhances the precision of the machine and delivers quality output. It is essential for an organization to maintain the machine at an optimum quality hence required to be retrofitted routinely to increase the economic efficiency and productive operation. Most of the developing and underdeveloped countries depend on retrofitting as they have lack of adequate foreign exchange resources for machinery import.

Retrofitting is a smart investment and is essential for competitive businesses. The up- gradation of the machinery as per the latest technological advancement is essential for the efficiency of the organization. The rate of investment in retrofitting is immense as it delivers on performance and keeps the business moving. It can be applied for reducing the machinery setup, minimizing the downtime, increasing processing speeds, minimizing minor stoppages, and enhancing production part yields.

Reducing the machinery setup is an important thing to enhance the productivity and effectiveness of the operations. It typically involves data entry steps, selecting fixtures and materials, loading new tools into the machine, etc. Automating most of the machine setup enhances productivity as compared to traditional methods of involving various steps to external and parallel processing to the machining process. The traditional are prone to risks and errors and exceeds the processing time. Automation allows easier management of multiple machines rather than focusing on multiple setups.

Manufacturers are increasingly utilizing machine tool probes by retrofitting machine tools as they are fast and robust. They are smart and can automatically set tool wear, workpiece offsets, and tool geometry. Though manufacturers are often worried about the machine tool probe cycles. They are faster and more accurate than an operator could be. They are consistent and eliminate operator measurement and data entry time variation. They eliminate errors and can work through lunches and breaks. Retrofitting engineering can also be applied to the machines or their components for reducing the downtime. This can be done through maintenance training, backup and restoring, remote diagnostics, and performing crash protection. Machine crashes due to setup errors enhance the downtime hence it is important to automate and error-proof most of the processes.

Product development through retrofit engineering is diverse and filled with complexity. The management and engineering of retrofit projects should have an experienced team of staff with optimum skills and motivation. Sometimes, the effort required to retrofit an existing product is greater than the development of new products. Also, products developed through retrofitting are also exposed to a diverse set of risks and require active management. The reason for the retrofit products is to manufacture higher-value products and to enhance plant efficiency. This generally leads to infrastructure modernization increases the production capacity beyond present capability.

An engineer should have detailed knowledge of design and operating procedures for an existing product and should select engineering standards and specifications for compatibility with an existing product. The successful management of retrofit engineering requires a clear set of objectives along with a specific implementation strategy. It requires effective planning and progress monitoring.

The initial development for retrofit products requires the identification of necessary objectives. It is followed by feasibility studies and the selection of preferred solutions for retrofitting. Next, it is recommended to refer to the existing data and design of the products as it helps in deciding the measures to be taken while working on the product. It is essential to study the existing drawings and guidelines of the product to ensure compatibility for retrofitting. It is essential to detail the process elements and flow schemes clearly as per the design requirements. Having a retrofit strategy is crucial for the enhancement of the product functions. It is necessary to have a safe approach while handling the product and should handle specific time-sensitive elements.

The most important aspect of the implementation of retrofit engineering in the advancement of existing products is the quality, availability, and motivation of the engineers working on product development. They should possess specific skills and knowledge as it can ensure the project to be completed in a timely manner. The composition of the core team for the retrofitting of the product should be adept with specific know-how of the product. It is important for the individuals at the core team to be available when needed and should possess specialist skills. The project manager should possess essential leadership skills and ensure that the staff is motivated.

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

Value Analysis and Value Engineering in Production and Operations Management

November 18, 2020

With the advent of enhancement in technology and increased competition among the businesses, there is a growing need to reduce the product price. It puts pressure on the businesses to lower their manufacturing and production costs in order to sustain in a highly competitive world. Product engineers are continuously challenged with the need for a reduction in production and material costs. Various management techniques are applied to enhance the profit by specifically targeting the production and manufacturing costs. Materials and overheads represent a large chunk of the total costs and managers work upon strategies to control them. The costs are regulated not only by the efficiency of the execution of the methods but also by the strategies involved in the design, detailing, marketing, research, and development.

Value Analysis and Value Engineering in Production and Operations Management

Businesses are evolving their product’s designs to minimize the product cost as products incurring greater costs become obsolete faster. This requires the transmission and estimation of correct costs during the design process. It is a complete teamwork and communications are necessary for the regulation of work costs. Value analysis and value engineering services are two such processes that drive down the production costs and help businesses to remain sustainable.

Value analysis is a process of a systematic review and is applied to the designs of existing products. It is helpful in delivering the products at a lower cost with specific performance and reliability. It is concerned with the functionality of a product as per the customer’s demand. This process meets the specification and performance criteria of the customer. Basically, there are three principle costs of products namely, cost of parts, direct labor costs, and overhead costs. But now businesses are also focusing on costs related to manufacturing, assembling, poor quality, and warranty.

Value engineering acknowledges the economic, psychological, and social cues that may decrease the value of a product or service and rarely implies the working aspects like neglect of responsibility. Poor Product value can arise due to the following reasons.

  • A negative attitude toward the product or service, Failure to fulfill the required innovativeness and creativity.
  • Failure to accept or seek advice in need and unwillingness to admit a lack of knowledge or education on certain aspects of project development.
  • A proclivity to emotion-based decisions rather than fact-based decisions.
  • Rigid application of SOPs without adapting to change in technology and design.
  • Insensitivity to customer or client needs.
  • Lack of good communication and poorer human-to-human relations.

The principal focus of the value analysis process has been the administration of functionality to offer value to the customer. Businesses reduce the production costs of the product by eliminating costs that have no functional value to the client without negatively affecting the quality, maintainability, functionality, and reliability of the product. The goal of the value analysis approach is to create value for money by being inexpensive. This can be done by identifying activities that reduce the maintainability of the product as that enhances the cost of ownership and lowers the value attached to the product. But it doesn’t mean removing activities that compromise the reliability and quality of the product because it lowers customer value, enhances customer complaints while lowering product sales.

Value analysis is utilized for a complex number of reasons to reduce the costs. There are numerous design-related issues for the application of value analysis in a product within the business. Some of these are related to technology replacement, mediocre practices, traditional thinking, and inadequate analysis. Other internal reasons for conducting a value analysis approach in a product include the products with unknown problems, unending/varying customer demands, corrective actions, enhancement in product margin, and safety and compliance requirements. Many times, the market determines the cost of the product and any attempt to lower the costs through enhancement activities can deliver a greater return on investment throughout the product life cycle. The value analysis approach is also applied due to the various market induced reasons. These reasons relate to pricing practice, new technology and materials, environmental issues, e-commerce growth, compliance, and quality regulations.

Most businesses apply value analysis to the existing products that are sold in large numbers. The existing products tend to offer a large amount of information for the improvement of the product. The performance of a product can be analyzed by different managers who can present their opinions and complaints regarding the products. The opinions of the managers are very necessary as it benefits the management to analyze the activities that attract costs from raw materials to final products. These discussions facilitate learning and allow managers to understand the boundaries of product redesign and re-engineering activities. Some of the limitations that the product management team come across before the re- engineering activities are related to the inability of businesses to change existing product design as it may incur tooling expense. Sometimes management has very little time to complete the project and make only minimal changes in the product design. Also, the greater levels of purchased costs in the supply line need an active engagement with the suppliers from the management which may consume greater resources and time.

Value engineering is a similar approach to value analysis but is applied to new products. It is applicable to an uncertain environment and has very little information available with the managers to make the decisions. It is a systematic process for the review of existing products. It requires a greater amount of investment in terms of skilled human resources. The results of the value analysis are similar most of the time and have certain commonalities at different stages of production. When the project team finds the commonalities with many products in the production line, it utilizes the horizontal deployment of the value analysis to make all the changes quickly and efficiently on a factory-wide basis.

The value analysis in a product can be a huge success for a business if applied in the right way. The early step of organizing an adept team for the project along with retrieving sufficient information for a product is essential for the success of the project. Businesses initiate the activities of the value analysis by gaining approval from senior management. The support and endorsement of top management are crucial for the legitimacy of the project. A single senior manager is enlisted with the management of the project with a single authority. This is followed by the selection of an operational leader to coordinate the various activities of the project. The management creates a reporting procedure for monitoring and controlling the achievements of the project against time. Regular communication among the members of the team is necessary to achieve the wider objectives of the project successfully.

People working with value engineering need continuous training to implement its chief modern technology to utilize step by step in an organized problem process. The guidelines should be systematically followed in order to focus on significant details. They must develop the skill to apply the scientific method with accurate data in order to challenge their problem- solving skills in real-time. The use of cheap material should not be made the criteria to manufacture the product as it may involve the costly process of manufacture and will cancel the profit. Regular workshops and training should be provided to employees as it offers them to fill the gaps in the information to make key decisions in product development.

Value engineering in the modern era needs to generate regular comparable data so the solutions are routinely accessible and readily used. It facilitates to bring better decision making and enhances the quality of the product in the long term. Organizations are now focusing on enhancing their daily work via this technique to improve their tasks. This brings more creative participation to the team and the responsibility is shared by the whole organization.

Many research study shows that a lack of management support is the principal cause of the lack of use of value engineering in businesses. The senior management should appreciate the benefits of value engineering in product design and development to ensure improving the functionality and decreasing the costs. Many industries are recognizing this technique as an effective management tool and agree that various problems that exist in their sector can be orderly removed with value engineering. The next phase of this technique will require the amalgamation of data with new technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality that can increase productivity by significant numbers.

Also Read: Reducing The Cost Of On-Road And Off-Road Vehicle Via Value Engineering

Role of Computational Fluid Dynamics in Product Manufacturing

November 10, 2020

Computational fluid dynamics or CFD involves the analysis of fluid flow, heat transfer, and associated systems with the help of computer-based simulation. It has a wide range of industrial and non-industrial applications and is a very robust tool for product manufacturing. It is excessively used in automobile industries for predicting drag forces and lift of the vehicle. Computational fluid dynamics requires significant knowledge in fluid dynamics, mathematics, and programming. It involves assuming the wide-ranging of variables to generate models that can capture the required needs for the actual real-world system.

Role of Computational Fluid Dynamics in Product Manufacturing

Computational fluid dynamics technique is utilized for the study of aircraft and vehicle. It is helpful in analyzing the lift and drag of the vehicle. The hydrodynamics of ships can be easily examined with this method. The study of combustion in internal combustion engines and gas turbines in industrial power plants and the flow inside rotating passages and diffusers in turbomachinery can be easily done with the use of this technique. In biomedical engineering, it is employed for blood flow analysis through veins and arteries. It is also used for weather prediction by the meteorology department. Modern environmentalists are also using this technique for determining the distribution of effluents and pollutants.

Industrial units are in awe with the computational fluid dynamics as it offers unique advantages over the experiment based techniques to fluid or flow systems design. It allows unlimited levels of details of results and helps to perfect the fluid systems. It reduces the lead times and costs of new designs for a system substantially. CFD facilitates analysis of the system where controlled systems are difficult to perform. It also has the ability to examine systems under disastrous conditions at and beyond their normal performance units. In experimentation studies, the costs of hiring personal and other aspects are variable and hence experimentation is increasingly being ignored by the industries. On the other hand, computational fluid dynamics deliver a huge volume of results without any added cost and is very cheap to perform.

Fluid flow problems can be tackled by computational fluid dynamics codes. These codes are structured around the numerical algorithms and allow smooth access to solve difficult fluid flow problems. A computational fluid dynamic codes consist of a pre-processor, a solver, a post-processor.

The input of a fluid problem to a CFD program for transformation into an easy part comes into the context of pre-processing. It basically involves defining the geometry of a particular region, ie. a computational domain. It is further divided into a number of smaller, non- overlapping sub-domains in the form of mesh or grid of cells that helps in grid generation. It helps in defining and modeling of fluid properties of a fluid. The solution to such variables such as temperature, pressure, etc. is defined at nodes at each grid. The accuracy of any CFD solution is governed by the number of cells in the grid as the greater the number of cells or grids, the greater the solution accuracy. The fineness of the grid depends on the cost of the system and the accuracy of a solution. Most of the time of any computational fluid dynamics project is utilized at grid generation and domain geometry.

The finite difference, finite element, and spectral methods are three basic numerical solution techniques out of which the finite difference method is mostly used. A numerical algorithm involves integrating the basic equations of fluid flow over all the finite volumes of the region. The resulting integral equations are then transformed into a system of algebraic equations. The algebraic equations are then solved by an iterative method. The basic difference between the finite volume method and other CFD techniques is the integration of the control volume in the finite volume method. The resulting equations have the same properties for each finite-size cell. This simple concept makes it easy for engineers to understand the fluid flow as compared to other methods. The conservation of various flow variables such as enthalpy, velocity within a finite control volume is expressed to estimate whether it increases or decreases. Computational fluid dynamics codes consist of discretization techniques that are helpful for convection, diffusion, and other key transport phenomena.

The ever increasing popularity of CFD software has extended the processing capabilities. It has facilitated great graphic capabilities along with domain geometry, and grid display. The software package of CFD now includes vector plots, line and shaded contour plots, contour postscript output, and particle tracking. These facilities are enhanced by the animated and dynamic result display. This has allowed transmission of ideas to people of non-engineering backgrounds.

The fluid flow problems are built on complex sets of physics, chemistry, mathematics concepts, and mastering them requires skillful professionals. The user must possess significant knowledge in the various subjects prior to the simulation of CFD problems. The user must be able to identify and formulate the chemical and physical aspects of the flow problem. The key decisions that go with the modeling of fluid flow are the effects of ambient temperature, variations in air density, turbulent flow, and air bubbles, etc. The right decisions should be made while modeling the equations as to preserve the necessary characteristics of the problem. The accuracy at the simplification of the equation allows the greater quality of the CFD. The detailed description of the domain geometry and grid design is crucial at the initial stage for obtaining successful simulation results. Successful simulations can be obtained by convergence and grid dependence. A converged solution can be achieved by selecting various acceleration devices and relaxation factors.

The converged solutions are filled with varied issues and require optimization. The optimization of the solution with speed needs extensive experience at the evaluation of the code. The initial grid design depends on the characteristics of the flow. It is filled with numerous errors and requires refinement. Errors can be eliminated by performing a grid dependence study. Each algorithm has a unique error pattern and can be guessed by an experienced professional who has a thorough knowledge of the algorithm.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a way of reorganizing such processes and systems in a series of differential equations by using digital computers. It offers qualitative and quantitative reasoning of fluid flows by the use of mathematical modeling, discretization, and other pre- and post-processing tools. It has helped the scientists enormously in the development of fluid dynamics. It has replaced the traditional approaches to fluid dynamics with more powerful computational tools. The results of the computational fluid dynamics are equivalent to the actual laboratory results.

The ultimate goal of growth in the CFD field is to offer a capability comparable with other CAE applications such as stress analysis codes. The key reason why CFD has remained behind is the significant complexity of the existing behavior, which precludes a description of fluid flows that are simultaneously economical and complete.

The availability of affordable high-performance computing hardware and the introduction of user-friendly interfaces have led to a recent upsurge of interest, and CFD has entered into the wider industrial community. The variable expense of an experiment, in terms of facility hire and/or person-hour costs, is directly proportional to the number of data points and configurations tested. Whereas CFD codes can generate extremely large volumes of solutions at no added expense. It is very cheap and easy to perform parametric studies such as optimizing equipment performance.

The accuracy of a Computational fluid dynamics solution is determined by the number of cells in the grid. Generally, larger the number of cells, the better the solution accuracy. Both the accuracy of a solution and its cost in terms of necessary computer hardware and calculation time is dependent on the fineness of the grid. Optimal meshes are often varied, finer in places where greater variations occur from point to point and coarser in regions with relatively less difference.

Efforts are underway to generate CFD codes with a self-adaptive meshing ability. Ultimately such programs will itself refine the grid in regions of rapid variations. A significant amount of basic development work still needs to be done before these programs are robust enough to be incorporated into industrial CFD codes. The main ingredients for success in CFD are experience and a thorough understanding of the physics of fluid flows and the fundamentals of the numerical algorithms. Without these, it is very unlikely that the user will get the best out of code. It is the intention of this book to provide all the necessary background material for a good understanding of the internal workings of a CFD code and its successful operation.

Also Read: Applications Of Computational Fluid Dynamics

Design Principles and Best Practices for IoT Applications

November 4, 2020

Internet of things or IoT is a splendid collection of intercommunicating smart devices and solutions. These devices and solutions are driving modern technology and is an important aspect of the 21st century. It is a network of uniquely identifiable devices or things that are connected to the internet. These devices or things are programmable and have sensors to interact with humans or each other. IoT has been serving consumers with home automation, consumer electronics, industrial automation, etc. The key enabler of all IoT devices is the network as it integrates with a wide array of communication technologies. IoT applications are utilized in transportation, environment, energy, assisted living, smart cities, etc.

Design Principles and Best Practices for IoT Applications

As the digitalized world is getting increasingly interconnected with social platforms and artificial intelligence, the internet of things is the next big thing that is impacting each sector of the industry. Through IoT, machines are able to make decisions autonomously and industries are increasingly relying on automated machines for productivity without much human intervention. From smart thermostats that can adjust the home temperature to refrigerators that can automatically order food is low, IoT has been evolving with solutions that are benefiting the consumers immensely.

IoT services are attached to sensors and are connected to the internet. The IoT technological advancements and convergence within the IoT related technologies shape dynamically the development of new business models and IoT ecosystems. These ecosystems comprise of stakeholders representing the IoT application value-chain: components, embedded processing and communication, chips, service provision, architecture design, sensors, actuators, system integration, middleware, software, security, usage, test, etc.

This new model facilitates integrating the future generations of applications, network technologies, embedded systems, devices, and other evolving ICT advances, based on protocols, open platforms and standardized identifiers, and architectures. The deployment of IoT Large Scale Pilots (LSPs) to promote the market improvement of IoT and overcome the segmentation of vertically oriented architectures, closed systems, and application areas is the next important step in IoT development. Large Scale Pilots can address the concerns in different application areas by bringing together the technology supply and the application demand sides in real-life settings to demonstrate and validate the IoT technology in the real world.

While human social and economic activities continue to gravitate towards urban centers, Smart Cities deploy digital and telecommunication technologies to increase administration efficiency and improve the quality of life of their inhabitants. Cross-domain challenges in public safety, mobility, lighting, and energy efficiency can be addressed by user-centric ecosystems of interoperable vertical sub-systems. The integration and compatibility of sensors and actuators of connected sub-systems that are often complementary in the public space, in turn, stimulate the development of novel data-driven value-added application domain services. Due to their high density and ubiquitous nature, connected systems offer the prospect of evolving into platforms acquiring domain-level contextual information and delivering application management functions to diverse domains’ stakeholders. The LSPs need to address challenges in the fields of standardization, cyber-security, open data governance, and privacy and validate the novel business models underlying the services provisioned by future domain infrastructures. These IoT LSPs have to address technology challenges across the industrial sector verticals and go beyond the M2M, IoT vertical applications developed in recent years, in order to break the silos and to evaluate the real impact of IoT technology across industrial domains. The definition of themes needs to have a broader perspective and go beyond the narrower use cases proposed until now since in the future that cross-vertical collaboration and integration will be among the primary benefits of IoT.

Healthcare and wellness provide unique opportunities for extensive IoT implementation. Health care treatments, cost, and availability cater to society and the citizens striving for longer, healthier lives. IoT is an enabler to achieve enhanced care for patients and providers. It could generate greater asset utilization, new revenues, and reduced costs. In addition, it has the capability to change how health care is delivered. The development of the Internet of Health (IoH) applications dedicated to citizens’ health and wellness that spans care, medication administration, diagnostics, monitoring, fitness, etc. will allow the citizens to be more involved with their healthcare. The end-users could track the vitals signals with wearable devices, access medical records, get diagnostic lab tests conducted at home or at the office building, and monitor the health-related activities with Web-based applications on smartphones. The application of IoT in healthcare can enhance the access of care to people in remote locations or to those who are incapacitated to make routine visits to the hospital. It can also enable a quick diagnosis of medical conditions by monitoring and analyzing a person’s parameters. The medical treatment administered to the person under care can be enhanced by studying the consequence of therapy and the medication on the patients’ body.

The IoT applications in the buildings are interacting with the smart Building Management Systems (BMS) with an IP network, connecting all the building services while analyzing, monitoring, and controlling without the intervention of humans. The IoT applications are used by buildings managers to govern energy use and energy procurement and to maintain buildings systems. The BMS is based on the infrastructure of the existing Intranets and the Internet and therefore employs the same standard guidelines as other IT devices. The value in IoT application is in both the data and the computing devices. Gathering data from more building services and equipment offers a more granular view of exactly how each building is performing. These will develop the Internet of Buildings (IoB) applications. These IoT applications will decrease the need for human intervention to manage the complexity and the amount of data will improve exponentially. The IoB requires interoperability and seamless data interchange between networks of buildings, external utilities, different subsystems in a building, various smart equipment, and increased interface with building stakeholders.

The IoT facilitates connecting and monitoring assets from virtually anywhere for the smart grids and energy sector using the interconnected computing devices and utilities. Energy consumers/prosumers have the opportunity and accessibility to improve energy efficiency and energy use. The smart grid is significantly altering the way businesses operate. Using IoT technology, utilities are equipped to generate power more efficiently, reduce emissions and management costs, improve operations, and restore power faster, while operators are able to immediately identify outages, allowing for increased efficiency to manage responses.

IoT technology extends the monitoring and control of the plant and animal products during the whole life cycle from farm to fork. The concern will be in the future to design architectures and implement algorithms that will support each object for optimal behavior, according to its role in the Intelligent Farming system and in the food chain, lowering ecological footprint and economical costs and increasing food security. The smart cold chain logistics domain possesses high complexity and high risks because food and pharmaceutical goods are exposed to increasingly long and complex supply chains with many dangers of poor temperature control, delays, and physical mishandling. The prototype increases the transportation process by monitoring the state of the products during transportation and by early warnings when the goods are not stored according to clients’ requirements.

Wearables are integrating key technologies such as actuating, communication, nanoelectronics, low power computing, visualization, organic electronics, sensing, and embedded software, into intelligent systems to bring new functionalities into clothes, fabrics, patches, watches, and other body-mounted devices.

The IoT makes use of synergies that are generated by the linking of Consumer, Business, and Industrial Internet Consumer, Business, and Industrial Internet. The overlap creates the open, global network linking data, people, and things. This intersection leverages the cloud to link intelligent things that sense and transmit a broad array of data, helping to develop services that would not be obvious without this level of connectivity and analytical intelligence. The use of platforms is being delivered by transformative technologies such as things, cloud, and mobile.

The impulsive surrounding advancing IoT programs are very complex and issues such as systems integration, enablement, value-added services, network connectivity, and other management functions are all requires that generally must be utilized when the end-users seek to link smart edge devices into complex IoT applications. From the end-user standpoint, open relationships between various stakeholders in the IoT value chain are the best available means to employ these complexities. The technological trend is a move from systems where there are multiple users/people per device, people in the control loop of the system, and the system providing the ability for people to interact with people. The IoT offers a new epitome where there are multiple devices per user; the devices are things that are connected and interacting with other things. The communication will be with a variety of continuum of users, things, and real physical events.

Also Read: Applications Of Internet Of Things (IoT) In Engineering

Design and Development of Transportation Vehicles

October 27, 2020

Transportation vehicles have been immensely important for the growth and development of a nation. It is extremely necessary for the economic development of the rural as well as the urban populations. These vehicles offer an efficient journey for the inhabitants as well as for the transportation of their goods and services. It strengthens the national defence, industry, agriculture, and other segments of the economy. With the advent of technologies, industries have focused on delivering transportation vehicles that can withstand the challenges of modern times and work effectively.

Design and Development of Transportation Vehicles

A typical vehicle development process starts with idea generation and is followed by screening the various ideas. The next step is concept development and testing of the vehicle. It is further followed by marketing strategy development, business analysis, functional testing, market development, and commercialization. Each stage of vehicle development involves deciding the fate of dropping or moving with product development. A consumer-adoption process is an important way through which companies can make a decision regarding the fate of new products. It consists of spreading awareness and interest among consumers for evaluation, trial, and adoption.

The design and development of any transportation vehicle require construction, configuration, and styling. It is coupled with technical innovation and refinement during production and manufacturing systems. It helps industries to give a competitive advantage and help in delivering mass-produced vehicles. Early manufacturers used a wooden framework for upper body work but it was not suitable for high-speed vehicles and hence metal chassis frames were subsequently used. The early 19th century saw steam engined road vehicles pull the agricultural equipment. The development of the engines allowed enhancement in the ignition and carburation system. It has resulted in sophisticated valve and cooling arrangements. This has resulted in an utter rivalry among steam, diesel, and petrol engines over the century. Though the engines are almost similar and possess common mechanical characteristics. The diesel engine is run by spontaneous combustion of fuel in the presence of compressed air rather than ignition by electric spark. It eliminates the need for the carburetor and a spark ignition system. Hence diesel engines are increasingly used in challenging conditions.

The development of transportation vehicles requires a wide range of engineering materials. A wide range of materials is available along with iron, copper, and aluminum for the construction of vehicles. These materials provide ductility, strength, and stiffness under various conditions. As a transportation vehicle works in challenging environments, hence the vehicles have to possess corrosion stability, environmental stability, fracture toughness, suitable density, expansion coefficient, and electrical conductivity. These extreme properties have allowed manufacturers to adopt materials such as polymers and ceramics along with the other metals. These engineering materials are helping the companies to develop supreme vehicles with amazing bodywork, engines, exhaust systems, and other devices. These materials are lightweight and have significant effects on the performance of the transportation vehicles.

Transportation vehicle development has made a huge leap in the late 20th century by employing JIT/LP philosophy in the production lineup. It has enhanced the flexibility and agility of the entire production process from design to manufacture. It allows the identification and distinguishing of the production cycle and development cycle. Through this approach, an organization can perform with lesser bottlenecks, errors, delays, and high inventories. It translates operational needs and customer requirements at all life cycle stages through simultaneous consideration of development, support, disposal, and manufacturing needs. This technique facilitates the designers to utilize all the manufacturing opportunities by maximizing value and minimizing costs. Industries are also implementing IPPD through various techniques for the analysis of manufacturing and various requirements. This entire system has allowed the optimal deployment of the engineering effort for examining the requirements and target outcomes.

Body designing is an extremely crucial step in the development of a high-performance vehicle. Vehicle designers create starts with designing on papers and later transform those drawings into three-dimensional models. It is used for gaining all body surface information for structural design and tooling. The creation of a prototype or a clay model is a long and tedious process that helps in gaining optimal information about vehicle performance in various conditions. Currently, most of the designing and styling using computer-aided design software by offering vital decision-making interventions. This software can incorporate rendering systems capable of delivering anything as per the designer’s requirements.

Transportation vehicles have an immense aerodynamic influence upon their design. This has allowed greater technology interventions and produced fuel-efficient aerodynamic design. Fuel efficiency in any vehicle depends upon the efficiency of the engine, the mass of the vehicle, and aerodynamic drag. Some of the important factors that help in enhancing the performance of a transportation vehicle include aerodynamic forces, drag reduction, stability and crosswinds, noise, underhood ventilation, and cabin ventilation. Most of these factors are stabilized with the technique of computational fluid dynamics.

Generally, there are five basic loads that are imposed on the body structure of a transportation vehicle. These include bending case, torsion case, combined bending and torsion, lateral loading, and fore and aft loading. There are also wide ranges of the vehicle structure. These are developed as ladder frames, cruciform frames, torque tube backbone frames, space frames. The vehicle loads are imposed on the vehicle when traversing roads and other surfaces. The bending and torsion loads are examined with a simple structural surface method that is generally used to measure local stresses and deflections. It facilitates the design of the structure and various other components of a transportation vehicle. Also, the finite element methods can be utilized on the basic design and achieve enhanced details and greater structure efficiency.

The automotive designer lays the utmost importance on the crashworthiness of the vehicle. It is examined by analyzing the structural collapse and associated energy absorption and intrusion. These factors are crucial for passenger’s safety and allow further improvement. Manufacturers study vehicle crush characteristics with the impact of a rigid barrier and between two vehicles. They also study the effect of impact on seat belt performance. The effectiveness of the seat belt is analyzed in four ways. First, an intrusion that is caused by the collapse of the passenger’s compartment. Second, the extension of the seat belt allowing the passenger to strike some part of the vehicle. Third, the transmission of localized loads to the wearer through the webbing. Fourth, high deceleration in severe impacts.

Manufacturers also focus on increased refinement of noise, vibration, and harshness in the transportation vehicle. Vibration has always been linked with reliability and quality as greater vibration often leads to uncomfortable vehicles. Designers pay greater attention to control the vibration and noise in vehicles. With the reduction in vehicle weight and higher engine speeds, there is a greater need for lessening vibration, noise, and harshness. This has resulted in the development of various approaches for vibration and noise analysis. Some of these approaches include the development of mathematical models of the study and analyze them by formulating the equation. It is also done by analyzing free vibration characteristics and forced vibration response to various disturbances. The approach also investigates the methods for controlling the undesirable vibration levels if they arise in the transportation vehicle.

Customer feedback is an important aspect to progress any business. It helps in improving the delivery of services and products. It can assure the level of customer satisfaction among the customers. Responsiveness to customer feedback ensures that the management value the opinion of the customers and thereby enhancing customer experience. It also ensures faster delivery of the information to the customers and improves customer retention. Once the product is available to the consumers in the market, the enterprises have the responsibility to monitor the performance of their vehicle. Post-market surveillance is essential to check any of the drawbacks or problems that the customers possibly be facing.

The end goal of any product design is to provide a next-generation customer experience to its users. The businesses are focusing not only on enhancing customer retention but also on the sustainability of their product by following cyclic practices. Customer learning is very crucial for smoothening the business operations as it delivers value within the growth process. It requires learning customers’ desires and reviews. It is important for market- oriented companies to acquire customer-related facts and information that can be translated to achieve the products and services as desired by the consumers. Leading organizations tend to clearly identify the benefits of their customers from the delivery of the products. They align their marketing and technical skills with the needs of their customers.

Also Read: Principles To Be Followed For A Frugal Bus Body Design

Why Is Finite Element Analysis The Most Trending Thing Now?

October 20, 2020

In today’s world, the development of products is carried out in a systematic manner so as to create high-quality products effectively and efficiently. A product may have various requirements that are evaluated for different solutions to unify the development procedures. Product analysis is carried out at the end for the verification of the product and assists engineering designers to simulate the behavior of the product for further screening. Product analysis has become an important part of the product development process as it helps in the prediction of the final product behavior. One of the most important ways for product analysis is Finite Element Analysis.

Finite Element Analysis

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a numerical method for solving the problem of mathematical and engineering physics. It is used for solving complex geometries, material properties, and loadings where analytical solutions are very difficult to obtain. It is a way to simulate loading conditions to determine the design’s response to those conditions. It is modeled using discrete building blocks called elements. Each of these elements has an exact equation that represents the response to a particular load. FEM has become a powerful tool for solving differential equations and integral differential equations.

The final element method was first used by academic and industrial researchers in the 1950s for evaluating the suspension bridges and steam boilers. Since then it has grown in function and has been used for reducing the amount of prototype testing. It allows multiple simulation scenarios for testing that are used for cost and time savings. It extends reduced testing and redesign costs to shorten the product development cycle. It identifies safety issues or any irregularities in the development of the product. This process is helpful in finding design shortcomings before any future litigations. Designers are increasingly using it with CAD programs to allow solid modeling and mesh generations.

Finite element analysis is applied by businesses in engineering such as aerospace, civil, automotive, and mechanical, etc. It is used to analyze the fluid flow for structural and stress analysis for static and dynamic equations. Modern engineers are also using this process for analyzing the fluid flow and heat transfer in technical and industrial equipment. It is helpful in analyzing electromagnetic fields, soil mechanics, acoustics, and biomechanics.

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 is h-refinement where an increasing number of elements are used to design a particular structural domain. Second is 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.

In this approach, solutions of the equations are converted into small finite segments. These elements are then further assembled to obtain an overall system of linear algebraic equations. Here is the general process of linear static structural analysis.

The first thing in the finite element method is to divide the solution into small elements so that the structure can be modeled. It is done after deciding the type, number, size, and arrangement of the elements in 1D, 2D, 3D, or axis symmetry. This is followed by the selection of a proper interpolation or displacement model as the structure of the model is very difficult to predict. It is done by assuming a solution from a computational point of view.

Further, strains and stresses are derived from the displacement model within each element by using Hooke’s law and strain-displacement relationship. As the displacements within each element are unknown variables, the compatibility equations within the element are automatically satisfied. The assumed displacement model is also helpful in deriving the load vector and the stiffness matrix by using the various variational principle. The next step in the process is to assemble the elemental equations to derive the overall equilibrium equations. The individual element stiffness matrices and load vectors are assembled in a systematic order for the overall equilibrium equation. The assembly of stiffness is carried out only on elements sharing a particular node. The process of finding the appropriate location for each of the individual element matrix in the global matrix is called the Direct Stiffness Method.

The next step in the finite analysis method is the imposition of boundary conditions in contact problems. After the incorporation of boundary conditions, the equilibrium equations are expressed. The element stresses and strains are further computed by using the equations of solid or structural mechanics.

Finite element analysis can readily handle the complex geometry and types of analysis. It can easily provide the results for vibration analysis, fluid analysis, heat transfer, transients, and no-linear. It can also handle complex loadings such as node-based loading or point loads, time or frequency-dependent loading, and element-based loading for estimating

pressure, thermal or inertial forces. The finite element method can model large displacements and rotations. It can also describe special material effects like swelling, creeping, plasticity, and temperature-dependent properties. It is very useful in handling the complex restraints for analyzing the intermediate structures and non-isotropic materials such as orthotropic and anisotropic materials.

In addition to the above advantages of the finite element method, there are numerous shortcomings as well. The finite analysis method is an approximate mathematical model of a system and a specific numerical result is derived from specific problems. This results in a general closed-form solution to examine the response to changes in various parameters. It requires vast experience and knowledge to construct a genuine finite system model. Further, it accumulates the error and rounds off most of the digits. It is susceptible to modeling errors by choosing a poor type of element. It can distort elements and sometimes geometry is not perfectly modeled. Finite analysis modeling requires a selection of proper mesh size and there is greater unwanted data. Greater memory and high-speed processors are required to carry out the analysis and are incapable of handling incompressible fluids.

There are many commercial finite element modeling packages available in the market. Some of these are ADINA, SOLIDWORKS, ABAQUS, ALGOR, ANSYS, C-MOLD, LS DYNA, etc.
ANSYS is one of the complete software packages used by engineers to analyze structural, thermal, and fluid engineering. It is also used to analyze the low and high-frequency electromagnetics. It is majorly used for electronics analysis in aerospace engineering, heavy equipment analysis in automotive engineering, microelectromechanical systems in biomedical engineering, and in bridges and buildings.

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 can be used to enhance the optimization and dependability of insulated design in high voltage equipment. It is extensively applicable in the complex configuration of dielectric insulating materials and electrodes. 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. Wirebonding 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.

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. It is considered as an important 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 and to predict what’s going to happen when the product is used.

Also Read: Finite Element Analysis For Industrial Machinery And Equipment

Transforming Industries with Smart Automation

October 13, 2020

Over the decades, industries have been exploring technologies, business strategies, and opportunities to increase scalability, improve accuracy, reduce costs, boost speed, and most importantly enhance human productivity. In the era of globalization, enterprises are super- competitive and exist in ever-growing business cycles. Hence businesses are focusing on reducing complexity, increasing agility, and speeding innovation while reducing production costs. Organizations can achieve these objectives by utilizing intelligent automation for effective and efficient products. Intelligent automation eliminates limited-value and repetitive workarounds at a limited cost.

Transforming Industries with Smart Automation

The possibilities of smart home automation are endless as it derives insights from a large amount of data, text, images, audio, and video to enhance trading, diagnostics, sourcing, etc. It helps in eliminating miscalculations, errors, and mistakes from repeated key-stroke dependent processes. Industries have been accelerating innovation and agility by untethering human resources from repetitive tasks by collaborating them with smart technologies. It builds on borderless operations, delivery, and production capabilities by personalizing real-time customer interactions.

Industries are increasingly involving their system with technologies that can replicate repetitive human actions and handle design-making tasks. Technocrats are utilizing their expertise to understand the context and adapt itself to the user’s requirement. Smart automated systems are used in industries for converting speech to text. They are preparing and collecting the data through robotic process automation. Robotic process automation is the system that creates traditional flowcharts or step-by-step procedures to create an automated library. These systems have flexibility and are relatively low-cost than traditional processes. These RPA systems can process natural language and perform autonomic automation. These systems can make decisions autonomously by prioritizing and addressing each case in a logical manner.

Organizations are analyzing a vast amount of data by adopting smart automation for data consolidation and validation, for recording data reconciliations, and accounting payables/receivables. Smart automation is based on the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) that connects and monitors real-world objects through the internet. It focuses on building a smart automation system that can be controlled or managed. These automation systems come with minimum requirements to manage organization security and automation. These IoT systems are independent and can be accessed from phones through the internet.

The collaboration of smart robots and humans can transform organizations that provide services like healthcare, banking, education, etc. It can enhance the customer experience by revolutionizing operations. Industries are experiencing an unprecedented wave of technology change that has intensified interactions with online retailers, customers, and other stakeholders. Smart automation has redefined what organizations can do by advancing at a rapid pace. Tools like data mining and data analytics can reveal trends and behaviors that can enable organizations to enhance their customer loyalty, cross-selling opportunities, and identify process inefficiencies. As most of the organizations operate in the competitive, technological, and regulatory environment, they face numerous challenges while deploying the latest digital technologies. Businesses need to determine the best way to integrate smart automation systems such as AI and RPA to improve customer loyalty, operational success, and employee satisfaction.

Successful smart automation of businesses can result in delivering the right information and services to customers at the correct times with minimum human intervention. Organizations should focus on redesigning their digital processes as per their priorities and actions. They should create a baseline understanding of their core processes so that they can work with a focused approach to guide themselves for better services. Machine and AI-driven tools yield the highest return on investment by analyzing data to feed the AI process audit. It mixes the capabilities of AI diagnostics with experienced business intelligence to enhance the chances of success. Smart automation can empower the employees to enhance their service and performance by promoting upselling and cross-selling through the automated process. It can enhance numerous operational challenges at the back office, front office, and other organizational departments. The conversion to intelligent automation should be comprehensively communicated with all the stakeholders of the organization to create employee insights of all processes.

Businesses are also integrating cognitive tools to withstand complex scenarios by utilizing text or voice-activated chatbots. These bots can communicate further with the system library to deliver the required results. This also includes using a real-time voice identification system that can authenticate users and help in detecting fraud. These robots are powered with AI to organize, extract, and interpret data to perform advanced tasks in the data-fueled industry. It is essential for an organization to create a synergy between all its business units to manage, regulate, and sustain processes with automation.

Normal organizational automation at work includes a virtual attendant robot that acts as a chief automation hub for managing various types of automation processes. It communicates with the employees and provides instructions via automation. These robots use content intelligence technology to convert the data digitally from scanned documentation. This means an employee can focus on high-value tasks rather than low-value monotonous work. The enhanced development of RPA, AI, and virtual robots has offered a tremendous opportunity for organizations to provide state-of-the-art services to its clients. It has allowed them to set their priorities high by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, and efficient operations. The future of businesses will depend on intelligent employees who are supported by smart automation technology.

With the advent of smart automation, businesses have become highly competitive and fast- paced. The swift transformation of processes is important for faster turnaround and measurable productivity gains. This can be done by structural data interaction where traditional systems are integrated with the help of well-structured valuable information. Robotic process automation is also a crucial technology through which businesses are smartly managed. It basically includes automation of system-based activities which are standardized to deliver effective business processes. Businesses are also utilizing machine learning for managing various organizational needs. These are systems that learn from incoming variations of data and make predictions and decisions based on past circumstances. It is complemented by the use of natural language processing for resolving the customer support ticket. Natural Language Processing uses statistical methods to analyze text and unstructured information of customers.

Chatbots and Virtual agents are also part of smart automated systems. These applications interpret the query that can be either in text or voice form and further providing a defined solution. Another automated system that is used for organizational processes is AI-decision systems. These employ numerous algorithms, technologies, and models to solve complex problems. These are deep learning systems with cognitive capabilities that recognize patterns for making various choices and decisions. Organizations are also involving natural language generation that generates text after recognizing speech or writing patterns.

The next-generation intelligent automation tools are transforming business processes by understanding the present and future opportunities. In banking and financial services, it can generate a huge amount of data and has become a crucial part of the global banking system. Few studies have reported that virtual bots are managing more than $20 billion of assets globally. The blockchain technology and cryptocurrency utilizes smart automation systems to articulate and verify financial transactions. Machine learning and AI have become a powerful tool to perform plastic surgery in the healthcare sector. Automated systems have eased the health service by providing physicians with historic cases that relate to the patient’s symptoms. Artificial intelligence is also useful for retailers and brands to predict the consumption pattern of the consumers. It uses big data to analyze the vast amount of information quickly and helps retailers to gain greater profits.

Many leading organizations are using advanced data science and machine learning techniques to create hyperlocal weather forecasting systems that help in achieving operational gains. Businesses are trying to build virtual windfarms in a cloud-based platform that mimics physical design. Smart automation is also helping energy industries to estimate grid load, electricity consumption and generation, electricity prices, and weather forecasts. This is also named as ‘Gridsense Technology’. It optimizes the use of power for consumers and generators and decreases the peak loads in the grid. Yet, most of the other industrial sectors are not utilizing smart automation technologies and losing out on productivity.

Increased competition and innovation have put immense pressure on traditional industries to advance their services. The traditional organizations should break away from conservative mindsets and must work on developing next-generation initiatives. Businesses should enhance the involvement of their workforce and invest in their capabilities to create a dedicated change management program. They should work upon to develop a practical approach to produce smart automation in their service. There is a greater need to invest in optimizing and combining the right processes for smart automation deployments. Smart automation and technologies should be backed up by greater budgets. Also, there should be a centralized leadership for the governance of smart automation.

Nowadays, technology changes typically focus on dynamic or self-learning control systems. Automation reduces errors, enhances visibility, and improves process efficiency. Automative solutions provide greater quality and return on investment. The ways in which businesses are now managed has taken a paradigm shift. With new technologies, each organization process seems increasingly refined and smarter as compared to earlier manual processes.

Also Read: Smart Home And Home Automation With IoT

Top 10 Furniture Engineering Design Software One Should Use

October 6, 2020

A good design is instrumental in developing engineering products that enhance the core competencies of an organization. Engineering design involves coordinating with various stakeholders to meet the end goals of an organization. A designer has the utmost responsibility to enhance the value of the product, customer experiences, and the visual aspect of a brand. It supports operations and helps in utilizing design expertise to create efficient and effective products. Furniture design solution is one of the sectors where amazing furniture design can change the visual appearance of an organization and help in enhancing the productivity of the employees. But an exquisite furniture design needs an excellent software program where experts can utilize their creative knowledge to deliver results. Here are some of the furniture designing software that a designer can use to create an awesome furniture design.

Furniture Engineering Design

Pro100

Pro100 is an amazing software for designing frame or frameless cabinets, stock cabinets and is increasingly used by garage cabinet manufacturers, kitchen dealers and designers, and cabinet makers. It can export images, record panoramic views, and can share results with the clients. It can generate reports like a price list, cut list, cabinet list, and is very user- friendly. The user can experience 3D design and photo-realism with this software. It can integrate the catalog of the manufacturer int the program and can deliver designs as per user requirements. Pro100 is an easy-to-use software that delivers results based on materials, parts, and styles of the component. This software is highly customizable and has standard metric units. It is very flexible and cost-friendly.

Sweet Home 3D

Sweet Home 3D is a freeware program that helps in designing the furniture at the get-go. It is a perfect software for home and interior designers. It is a powerful tool that can design doors, cabinets, furniture, and appliances. It is a very stable program with no glitches and is recommendable for beginners. Sweet Home 3D has a simple user interface and can deliver a decent layout without any hassle. This program is downloadable from its home website. It also has a number of design tutorials that help a user to know the how-tos of the program. It can run on any desktop operating system and can import and export any drawing formats. It is easy to learn and design a basic design or layout.

SolidWorks

SolidWorks has been increasingly used by the designers for the past few years due to its relatively low-cost, powerful 3D rendering abilities and interface. It is highly used in educational institutions to provide designing skills among students. It is highly customizable and has a very powerful user interface. It can check the weak points, mistakes, and safety issues in the designs and helps in delivering professional results. It can line up elements in the specific areas without manipulating the design of the furniture. It saves time and allows changes in the design before the creation of the physical furniture. It is compatible with many operating systems and can support e-drawings. SolidWorks can sort the annotations and highlight them in the graphic area. It can also check geometric tolerances, reference dimensions, annotation notes.

SketchUp

SketchUp is primarily used for design studies and renderings. It has a flexible modeling system and easy navigation. It is a simple tool that can be customized as per the requirement of the furniture designers. It has various plugins for designing and renderings that offer high-quality and speed. It has many view styles and offers design reviews. It is recommended for solving 3D design problems for professionals as it is quick and flexible. SketchUp can quickly model solutions, review, and try alternative solutions for furniture designers. It is robust enough to manage different file types and modeling tasks. It also provides great graphic options with clean presentations for 3D models.

Woodwork for Inventor

Woodwork for Inventor is a very powerful furniture design software and can fully integrate into Autodesk inventor. It understands the various needs of the woodworkers and offers quick workflow solutions. It has very high flexibility in wood material management and allows working with different materials. It can produce complex furniture designs from different materials and reduces the time to production. Woodwork for inventor allows automatic generation of mortises and tenons. It eases the material assignment and arrangement of furniture hardware. The software library is unified with automated component placement, automatic sculpt, and connection joints. The user interface of the software is excellent and can understand many languages. It is very versatile and follows the skeletal modeling approach for rapid prototype model design.

SketchList 3D

SketchList 3D Pro is used by woodworking enthusiasts to design chairs, benches, tables, closets, fences, and other furniture. It offers a free trial for a few days and after that, it can be availed at a one-time payment. It is a simple program driven by woodworkers and has a high workflow. It can generate pdf files for the approval of the clients and can provide information about the amount of stock necessary for the furniture building. It serves as a guide for designers to develop their idea into reality. It minimizes the wastage of the material by providing the exact quantity of the required material. It can proficiently explain the designs to clients and provides quick estimation and order.

Smart Draw

SmartDraw is relatively easier to use than other software and offers various kinds of charts and graphs. It has many templates that help designers to deliver an amazing design for their clients. It can create mind maps and the complex flowcharts with ease. It is also easily integrated with the Microsoft Office suite. This tool is very useful for complex furniture designs and contributes to the development of diagrams for furniture. It is available for a free trial and is great for beginners. Smart Draw’s user interface is awesome and has no workflow limits even for complex designs. It is great for designs that started from scratch and can be integrated easily with other software. It is also applicable to other industries due to the availability of templates with some useful libraries.

CAD pro

CAD Pro is used by designers and engineers for drawing and drafting, home design and improvement, landscape design and planning, and furniture designing, etc. It helps in creating any complex project with ease and offers interactive features to enable users to insert popup text notes and images. It offers an effortless way to develop furniture designs from straight forward toolsets that includes drafting and dimension tools, photo plugin, paint- pro plus, auto shape and architectural tools, etc. CAD Pro has an easy to use photo editor that can incorporate digital images into any drawings. It provides high accuracy for all drafting needs for easy and automatic drafting. It is customizable and is increasingly used for 2D drawing and 3D modeling. The designs of CAD pro can be easily exported for collaboration into other software.

Polyboard

Polyboard is a perfect mix of design, quality, and price that is used by professional designers for creating designs for furniture. It offers designs for cabinets, fittings, cupboards, and any other assembled furniture. It provides high performance and is very user friendly. It reduces production costs through automation and maintains high quality with a greater margin. It provides a quick workflow with intuitive materials. This software can manage the assembly and manufacturing details automatically. Plyboard can also calculate the real costs of the furniture automatically with 100% accurate cutting lists. It is versatile and can provide 2D and 3D presentations. It can produce the output files for driving your CNC machines. It also offers quick design libraries with all hardware and manufacturing methods.

Master Design

Master Design is highly useful for furniture design professionals. It is very versatile and highly customizable with many flexible features. It has a user-friendly interface and can import and export images. It consists of many high-quality tutorials for user guidance. It has advanced functionalities for plotter printing and can create 2D and 3D designs with ease. Master Design has no pixel limit and can be applied with different graphic filters. It has a very large database with many advanced features. It also has a VR mode that can transverse newly designed furniture in virtual reality mode. This software has a high-definition rendering and can be used in most of the operating system.

Furniture design is gaining relevance and recognition as consumers are increasingly becoming creative with their stuff. Hence these engineering design software has become an integral part of furniture designers to meet new customer needs. Precision is an important feature of furniture design and hence designers should lay focus on concepts and design details. They should be more creative and observant than their competition. Identifying the problems and learning about a customer need can smoothen the designing process as it gives the direction to the work.

Also Read: Critical Factors Involved In Furniture Design Solutions

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.

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