Useful Stuff

Design Methodology

This is the general approach that we use on new product developments. In this particular case it is for a typical mechanical product. It is assumed that the product brief is complete and that all the market and user research has been done. Some of the steps may be iterative. Brainstorming To generate a large range of concepts, including radical as well as obvious solutions. Sketching Hand sketches or basic CAD models are produced in order to explore in greater detail the ideas generated above. Wish list The ideas generated are scored against the clients requirements and the results used to shortlist the best concept ideas. Shortlist The preferred Concepts are modelled in 3D using our CAD (computer aided design) system. This allows concepts to be refined and mechanisms to be simulated quickly and economically, resulting in a larger number of alternative solutions that can be explored. This reduces the need for physical modelling; therefore the chance of finding the optimum solution is greatly increased. Prototypes Functional, full-sized models are made based on the CAD solutions above. These are used to evaluate how the parts and mechanisms work and feel. Modelling a full-sized mechanism or product can highlight aspects that are not always apparent on the CAD system. Master CAD Model The preferred concept is refined, the parts detailed and a workable detailed CAD model is generated. Detailing Components and proposed materials are explored for size, strength/stiffness etc. Both manual analysis and CAD-based analysis (Finite Element Analysis, Mouldflow, etc) may be used. Supply Chain Materials and process suppliers are investigated to ascertain availability, quality and costing information. Input from our strategic partners may be used at this stage. Concept Testing Test rigs are built after optimisation of the mechanical concept. These will be able to take real loads; they verify the above work and allow for final refinement and optimisation. They will be incorporated into usable products to assess the performance accurately in real situations. Field Testing Once verified for basic strength and function, rigs are also tested with a variety of potential users; feedback at this stage is vital. Test houses are also used to check performance independently and to ensure compliance with various standards. User Trials Market and user research is carried out. Until the design is frozen, it is subject to intensive rounds of improvements. At this stage patents are usually finalised and applications made. Supply Chain Key suppliers are finalised and the design is detailed according to their processes. Tooling Where possible the CAD data used throughout the development process is also used for tooling and creating tolerance manufacturing drawings, material specifications etc. Technical Support Involvement continues until beyond product launch, as much information has to be documented and passed on to the Manufacturers, assemblers and the client as a whole.
AWT Limited 2019