Challenges to Designing Smarter Products

Meeting the Challenges to Designing Smarter Products with ENOVIA

Today’s cars carry more electronics and computing power than the Apollo spacecraft that flew to the moon. One of the leading pressures facing manufacturers today is the increasing market demand for “smarter” products: products that have more functionality are more user-friendly, and more environmental. Therefore, manufacturers are incorporating an ever increasing amount of electronics and embedded software in their products.

Collaboration Design

For example, there has been a dramatic growth of electronic content in the automotive industry. The proportion of electronics in passenger cars in 2007 was around 20%, but this figure is estimated to increase to about 40% by 2015. By 2015 electronic components will become the largest contributor to a car’s overall parts and material costs.

Demand for smarter products is quite the exciting trend that offers a lot of new opportunities for innovation, at the same time there are inherent challenges. Getting it right requires new approaches to developing products. Smart products often consist of an integrated system of mechanical components, electronics, and software. This requires the involvement of multiple engineering disciplines. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, the best manufacturers seek to improve communication and collaboration across engineering disciples and increase the ability to predict system behavior prior to testing.

In particular there are certain behaviors which have negative impacts on the business of developing smart product:

  • Without significant early collaboration between the electrical and mechanical designs means that problems are addressed downstream when design changes are expensive and time consuming.
  • If the transfer of design constraints between design domains is manual and requires recreating data from scratch then there is unnecessary duplication of effort and risks of data inconsistencies.
  • When the design requires several iterations between the mechanical and electrical domains to stabilize the design, there is the chance that the design could be based on obsolete data which would lead to scrapping and rework late in the process.
  • If there is no automated way to notify the team of changes in mechanical or electrical design constraints, then design changes will be delayed increasing product time to market.

 

Costs Incurred

The impact of early life-cycle decisions on product realization is far reaching. As new products move through the sequential stages of product design to final production, the cost of engineering changes increases tremendously. A mistake that is discovered during the planning and design phase is comparatively inexpensive to fix. But if it is overlooked and discovered later during the process, such a mistake can cost manufacturers several thousand times more. By the time a mistake comes to actual manufacturing, for example, it could cost millions more to fix compared to what it would have cost if detected earlier.

According to Aberdeen Group, Best-in-Class manufacturer leverage PLM solutions to improve communication and collaboration across disciplines. However, the ECAD (Electrical) and MCAD (Mechanical) domains present a unique challenge that requires a unique solution.

Learn how Dassault Systèmes can help. Register here to watch the 10 minute ECAD EXPERIENCE webinar:  http://www.3ds.com/products-services/enovia/resources/enovia-ecad

Matthew J. Hall
Matthew J. Hall

Matthew Hall is the ENOVIA User Advocacy & Social EXPERIENCE Specialist.  You can find him on Twitter at @mjhall. Connect with ENOVIA at @3DSENOVIA