Simulation and Models in Product Development

Models are not new, and neither models in the employ of product development. Product development has always had some basis in discovery and always will. If everything had such a high degree of certainty, likely the product or endeavor has already been done. Developing new things ceaselessly brings questions. To be effective, we want to answer these questions as quickly and as certainly as possible. Continue reading

Configuration Management

by Kim H Pries

Our experience shows us that configuration management lies at the very heart of professional engineering and product growth. Just to be able to run an ERP or MRP system requires a standard for nomenclature and identification of parts (including software). We mark changes to parts and software with changes to part numbers. This allows us to track the effects of the engineering change–sometimes they go awry and it helps both the customer and supplier if they can identify, control, and account for the parts that are already out in the field in addition to those that are stacked up in the plant.

With software, we generally use a software configuration management tool that allows us to check-in and check-out software from the system. These systems allow for version control, branching (multiple versions), and the application of customer version numbers. Typical examples over the last twenty-five years include: revision control system (RCS), concurrent version system (CVS), source … Continue reading

Transition Prototype to Production

by Kim H Pries

When we are engaged in prototype development during the early to late middle phases of our new product delivery process, we usually purchase components through maintenance, repairs, and operation (MRO) purchasing. This type of purchasing is managed on an as-needed basis, and often, is not automated. We purchase the parts we need in relatively small quantities because we are not yet in production. At this point in our process, this approach is reasonable and effective. The part cost is high but we are not at risk of having any parts we need to throw away.

As we move through the process, however, we reach a point where we begin to transition from prototypes to sellable products. For these products, we most commonly use manufacturing resource planning (MRP) purchasing, which is nearly always automated. As developers, we have seen huge discontinuities in delivery when shifting from MRO to MRP purchasing. MRP purchasing has some different characteristics:

• … Continue reading

Rapid Prototyping

by Jon M Quigley When we have a short project schedule, we need to learn from our prototype as quickly as possible. Rapid prototyping is a rational approach to a shorten schedule that does not come at the risk or cost level of skipping prototypes or starting the next level of prototype before we have learned from the previous prototype as we discussed in an earlier blog.

Rapid prototyping is possible when we have access to equipment that enables us to deliver a useable product within a few days. With the advent and improvements in three-dimensional printers (including the dropping of costs) we now see the ability SLA (stereo lithographic) parts quickly with relatively cost. Prototype parts are different from models in that we are able to conduct tests upon prototype parts. This provides us with the feedback or learning we have been writing in the previous blogs. Some things are easier to prototype than others, below is a brief … Continue reading

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