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.

CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE, the Winning Partner for the DUT Racing Team

By Thierry

Dutch university students from TU Delft had only nine months to design and build a new version of their electric car that they hoped would once again lead them to victory in the 2014 edition of the Formula Student competition.

The team used design and simulation technology from Dassault Systèmes’  3DEXPERIENCE platform to design the DUT14, an electric car featuring numerous improvements over last year’s model.

Global Design Competition

Every year, some of the world’s brightest engineering students pool their talents to design what they hope will be the winning car in the annual Formula Student competition. It is an opportunity for 500 teams from all over the world to put their skills and imaginations to work during their free time, including evenings, weekends and holidays, for a good portion of the school year. In addition to the challenge, it is a tribute to the engineers who founded this competition over 30 years ago. “This international design competition was the idea of the Society of Automotive Engineers who thought that students graduating from engineering school did not have sufficient practical design experience, nor the right project management and team-working skills,” explained Tim de Morée, team leader, Formula Student team at TU Delft in the Netherlands. “So they designed the Formula Student competition to enable them to acquire all three.” Students must design, build, test and drive a formula-type racing car as well as create an associated business plan for potential investors. Contestants’ entries are judged based on a series of tests that include speed, design, safety, reliability, and cost.

Delft University of Technology is a repeat participant in this competition and winner of numerous Formula Student races in the past.

Tim de Morée is this year’s leader of TU Delft’s 86 students team. Once again the students attempted to outperform the other teams in three key races – Formula Student United Kingdom (FSUK), Formula Student Germany (FSG) and Formula Student Austria (FSA) – with their new and improved DUT14. “You may think that after designing 13 cars that we benefit from our past experiences and know-how,” de Morée said. “This is not entirely true since 80% of the team is new to this competition. The other 20% are the few alumni who participated in this year’s adventure providing us with their design and project management expertise.” As a result, de Morée’s team completely redesigned a vehicle from scratch. The four-wheel drive car has four equal motors that enable the car to accelerate even faster and to regenerate energy on all wheels while braking. “This constant reuse of energy allowed us to choose a much smaller and lighter battery package,” de Morée said.

Engineering Firm.com

The team is run like a small engineering company with students working in one of five departments: electronics, powertrain, vehicle dynamics, chassis and aerodynamics. “Team members are responsible for designing a part, for example the steering system or electrical wire harness. Only the most standard parts such as dampers or sensors were purchased from suppliers but we tried to do as much as we could by ourselves.”

The DUT14 was designed and tested using solutions from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Every “department” completed its objectives using the 3DEXPERIENCE solutions. For example, students used CATIA for their design work and the analysis and simulation solution SIMULIA to test their design concepts. “This was very beneficial due to our tight schedule and limited resources,” Marinus van des Meijs, chief engineer, said. “We had only nine months to complete the project, of which three were dedicated to design.”

Lighter, More Energy Efficient

One of the team’s objectives this year was to make the car lighter than last year. “With a lighter car we improve energy efficiency and performance when accelerating or braking,” van des Meijs explained. “The DUT14 weighed 155 kg, down from last year’s model, which weighed an already light 179 kg. We owe this success in part to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and its integrated simulation solutions, which enabled us to test each design iteration with amazing speed and precision. “All five departments of our company shared the same designs so when one group made changes, the others saw the updated design in real-time,” van des Meijs said. “Moreover, design history was capitalized, which allowed us to go back to previous design versions if needed at the push of a button.

Most of all, potential design problems were detected early on and not when we were physically assembling the car, which would have hurt our timing.”

Also new this year were the tires for the DUT14. “We designed them ourselves this time and made them wider, with a smaller outer radius and lighter than last year,” van des Meijs said. “We believed it would improve performance. Here again, without the 3DEXPERIENCE platform we would not have been able to test if our design caused interferences when steering. We were able to look at 55 different design iterations with CATIA before finding the right configuration.

The electrical department used the CATIA Electrical solution to define the wire layout, splice positions and wire lengths. “CATIA helped us to position our wiring in the most efficient way while keeping total mass on par with last year’s model,” van des Meijs said. “It is also important to allow slack where the connectors are and not in the rest of the wire harness. CATIA helped us place them exactly where we wanted. One key value of CATIA Electrical is its ability to quickly produce a precise design for routing. We used the Flattening feature to create the wiring drawings at a scale of 1:1. This made it easier to visualize every detail, which was very helpful,” he said.

CATIA, a Winning Partner

The Society of Automotive Engineers would have been proud to see how the design competition they imagined provides participants with valuable engineering skills. The TU Delft team put these skills to good use winning the championship title at the Silverstone competition and receiving numerous awards at the Hockenheim race in Germany including the Audi ultra-award for best lightweight concept. “It was a heart-stopping few days of ups and downs but we did it,” de Morée exclaimed.

With CATIA we had confidence in our design and in our ability to come up with the best vehicle possible in a very short timeframe.”

Discover the full story in video on 3ds.com

CATIA, the Winning Partner for the DUT Racing team



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