How to Take Charge of Your Mechatronic Product Development: The Smart Products Case study

By Estelle


Remote Home Control

The move to producing smart products has been gaining traction in the last few years. Consumers want more out of the products they buy: more flexibility and adaptability, connected and even more portability and mobility. On top of the electrical, mechanical and electronics components that you would find in traditional products, smart products are run by software that also gives rise to more innovation and features that were not possible before.

If the consumer market is opting for a refrigerator that sends you a SMS of the things you need to buy at the grocery or a car that drives itself, then how are manufacturers affected by it?

Businesses making smart products know that these stuffs are also more complex to design and create than their more traditional counterparts.  What this means is that you would need the services of more experts and more professionals in order to bring your products to market.  You also need to synchronize the varied design lifecycles involved in the manufacturing process.


Mechatronic Product Development

Other challenges include a longer time to market, quality issues, redesign and rework, more costs when it comes to product development, and problems with software development.   All of these carry a negative impact on the businesses, especially your profitability.  If you are behind schedule and fail to deliver your smart product on time, then it might mean lower sales and lower profits for you.

Fridge And here’s the thing, complexity will only continue to increase. Not only are consumers opting for smart products, they need something new or something better over time.   In the future, they will no longer want a refrigerator that just lists down its content and tells you what to buy, they will want one that does that AND suggest dishes that you could cook with all the ingredients you have in the refrigerator.

So your manufacturing processes would constantly become even more complex.

 

The good news is that you can take charge of your mechatronic product development by using better processes and using technology to provide integration, traceability and visibility platforms.

How do you do this? Here are some steps.

  1.  Set the goal and make sure that everybody is aware of what these goals are so that they all work towards it. To be effective in setting goals, you should consider what are needed to achieve that goal.  To illustrate, imagine that you are working on a new smartphone, do you know what your customers are expecting it to have and offer?  In this case your goal would be to create a smartphone that is useful to your customers without cramming in too many features that your customers would not use.
    Now here’s the challenge: product requirements from different domains often have different systems and formats and this leads to fragmented information.  This in turn leads to overlooked requirements or over designed products.
    What you need is a way to consolidate your requirements that are drilled down to actionable details.  These requirements need to be version-controlled so that it could go through the entire product life-cycle, become guidelines for your product’s design and used for product validation.  You can also save time if you can keep this centralized document visible so that you could also update it in the future.
  2. Working with your requirements, you need to come up with a conceptual design. Getting the conceptual design right would help you avoid expensive reworks and redesigns when you find a major flaw along the way.What you need to do is systems modeling and find a way to simulate systems behavior to help your design engineers come up with optimized concept products.
  3.  Validate your product often. Smart products are quite complex so you have different factors that you need to analyze.  When you can simulate the system’s behavior, you can easily validate your product to show that you have made the right decision when it comes to design.  It also helps your designers to analyze, interpret and report results.
  4.  Design by discipline. If you have laid all of your products’ requirements, you can easily have different parts of the product designed simultaneously.  The challenge at this stage is that different disciplines usually mean different tools and different design lifecycles.  However, parallel design efforts can help you cut the time to market.What you need to do is make sure that every member of your team knows what the others are doing through collaboration and communication.
  5. Revise when necessary. Always address errors and bugs in a timely manner, so you might want to manage these changes as well.  The thing with changes is that a change in one component would mean that designs for the others would also change.  As such it is imperative that everybody working on the design of your product knows all of these changes.

In all of these steps, a mechatronics collaboration platform can  help you do what needs to be done to make your smart products even more competitive.

Tech Clarity White paper

 

If you want to know more on how to master the development of your smart products, advance your business processes and systems maturity, and improve your products quality and time-to-market, download the Tech-Clarity white paper here.

How Microsoft Devices Group Streamlined its Global Development and Manufacturing Processes

By Estelle

 

Microsoft phone devices

Mobile devices and phones are a ubiquitous part of our daily lives.  Various manufacturers have come into the scene, offering differentiation on anything – from features, design, price and everything else in between.

Microsoft Devices Group has one goal in mind: to come up with technologically advanced products that are also something that you would want to have and proudly show off to the world.  Not only do their products have to be beautiful and technically superior, these also have to be functional: helping people do more while enjoying great experiences with their devices.

It is an interesting time for Microsoft.  With increased competition, the company needs to have that phone that would surpass all of its previous releases.  And design is one of the most crucial factors.

Being a multinational corporation, Microsoft has design talents in different parts of the world, and they needed to simplify the way they designed and developed their devices.  This involved changes to their process and organization on a global scale as they had people in different countries that needed to share ideas and work on these ideas.

At that point, Microsoft Devices Group was using third-party applications that they have to heavily customize to fit their needs.  As a result, they were incurring huge costs to maintain the software.  The company realized that they needed to standardize the installation of software at all their developmental sites in order to achieve the following:

  1. to make sure that they have shorter design cycle times for their products,
  2. to enable every stakeholder to access updated and accurate information about these products and
  3. to make their manufacturing and R&D units more efficient.

In the case of Microsoft Devices Group, they are able to leverage the Smarter, Faster, Lighter Industry Solution Experience and the HT body Industry Solution Experience to meet their needs.

 Easy design navigation and review with the 3DEXPERIENCE platformConcurrent Hardware Design with Smarter Faster Lighter solution

 

 

 

 

 

Those solutions used by Microsoft Devices Group currently for their design processes are working so well that the company plans to include other stakeholders into the mix.  Rather than limiting it to the design, engineering, manufacturing and other teams, they are now thinking of letting suppliers and similarly interested key parties get access of the information available on these platforms.  This way, it will be easier to send and receive information back and forth, while also allowing these key stakeholders to participate in the design process.   This would help the company come up with phones and devices that fit with their own goal of helping their customers “do more”.

Find out how Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE® platform and its High Tech industry solutions helped companies like Microsoft Devices Group get a lead on their design process by downloading the case study  and the video now  or by visiting the High Tech Ressource Center.

Making a Dream Come True for A Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor

By Suzanne

Adrianne Haslet-Davis Dances at TED

Photo credit James Duncan Davidson/TED via Flickr

Creating an unforgettable moment crystallizing how technology can change a person’s life, Adrianne Haslet-Davis last week fulfilled her dream of dancing again less than a year after losing part of her leg in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Haslet-Davis’ moment  took place at TED 2014 and was made possible through hard work and the support of Hugh Herr, MIT’s BioMechatronics Lab Director, who outfitted her with a revolutionary prosthetic limb that allowed her re-learn basic dance moves that once came naturally to her.

Photo of Adrianne Haslet-Davis and Hugh Herr at TED

Photo credit James Duncan Davidson/TED via Flickr

Herr, shown above with Haslet-Davis at TED, is known for his revolutionary work in the emerging field of biomechatronics – creating bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs. Herr was a guest earlier this year at Dassault Systemes’ SOLIDWORKS World event where he told attendees how he designed his own legs after suffering an accident as a child.  Using SOLIDWORKS,  he created the world’s first bionic foot and calf system called the BiOM.

Professor Hugh Herr at SolidWorks World 2014

The BiOM Being Designed in SOLIDWORKS

BiOM prosthetic legs mimic the movement of natural limbs by adapting to a person’s walking speed and the terrain of the land to help the prosthetic propel the person naturally. By simply using a battery source and springs for energy, the prosthetic legs augment a person’s ability to run and walk.  They normalize a person’s pace while enhancing stability and controlling for fatigue.

Professor Hugh Herr at SolidWorks World 2014

The SolidWorks World Audience is Surprised
to Learn that Herr Wears Prosthetics

Herr and his group worked with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium to create the BiOM prosthetic legs. He uses it in his group at MIT as well – as he feels that the minimal learning curve allows for quick, easy use by new incoming students.

The human body is often referred to as “the world’s most advanced machine,” and by improving medical device design and patient experience with our 3D design and simulation technologies, the potential to understand how that machine works is finally here.  As seen at TED, these advancements are enabling people to achieve what they once only dreamed.

Below is a video of Herr speaking to the audience about his work and about how technology has positively changed his life:

YouTube Preview Image


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