Time to Innovate


As Dr. Anderson’s classes and DFM books emphasize thorough “Concept/Architecture” work in Figure 3-1, (in the green bands shown at the right), which cuts in half the time to stable production. And this is when 60% of cost is determined, providing big cost reduction opportunities, only on the bottom timeline.

This article will show that having a higher proportion of up-front time will give you the time to innovate.

This advanced timeline will give you the time to innovate to do the following things that Dr. Anderson teaches in his classes and workshops:

Seriously address what innovation was deferred in previous rushed projects because there just wasn’t enough time for innovation then or it was tried and wasn’t done right-the-first-time and fell off the proverbial plate.

Create innovation for products and innovative processes. His white paper on concurrently engineering shows how design innovative products and processes.

• Create concept/architectural breakthroughs
that will

Leap ahead of all the competition, instead of wasting valuable resources designing a “me-too” product to fill a “market gap” and then spend the rest of the product’s life competing on price and deals. Having time to innovate will enable teams to create products that customers really want.  If this is normally perceived as "costing more," Dr. Anderson's cost reduction techniques will pay for them -- and get the innovative products our sooner, on top of that.

Generate, explore, and refine creative ideas and then commercialize them for manufacturability, as discussed more at the end of this article.  Even if innovation was "done" before a new product development project, it still needs to be commercialized for manufacturability (http://www.halfcostproducts.com/commercialization.htm )

Mass Customize versatile products that can easily accommodate custom orders and scalable derivatives at no extra cost or time that would result from trying to modify mass production designs. Further, the mass customization of flexible processes can programmably offer variety with less cost, time, space, and weight than modularity that depends on expensive and heavy interfaces. This is based on Dr. Anderson's experience as Manager of Flexible Manufacturing at Intel's Systems Group where he designed flexible fixtures for printed circuit boards.  The general principles of mass customized products/processes are shown in Chapter 8 of his Mass Customization book which is summarized on the web article  shows flexible processes for electronics (Figure 1) and  flexible processes for fabricated products (Figure 2)  at http://www.build-to-order-consulting.com/mc.htm .  Another big benefit of flexible tooling is that it enables spec changes or customer-induced changes to be implemented faster than with inflexible designs built in hard tooling, thus keeping them off the critical path.

• An example of the value of mass customization is that products  could be offered in any length or capacity, or even above or below the usual ranges, instead of limiting customers to just a few incremental models.

Provide platforms with families of products that can serve a board range of customers in many markets, niche markets, or small sales that can be served cost-effectively with engineering and production flexibility.

Do process innovation that, for proven or well developed functionality, which can:

• Improve manufacturability, cost, quality, and cut in half the time to stable production

Concurrently Engineer innovative production equipment or tooling to improve all of the above.  This is based on seven years experience at Dr. Anderson's company, Anderson Automation, Inc., where he designed and personally built special production machinery

Redesign conventional subsystems, for the same functionality, in a way that enables significant savings in cost, weight, space, or the amount of expensive materials, for instance:

Electronics. One example would replacing conventional circuit board “stacks” that connect hundreds plug-in wires with connectors with flex layers that connect all boards and devices with systems that reduce cost, quality, space, and weight and, when unfolded, allow full test coverage while the system is running. The functional and components would be the same, just less costly, lighter, and smaller, with better quality. Reliability will improve exponentially because the number of wire connections removed in the exponent of quality equations.

Structures. Rather than basing structures conventional shapes. Dr. Anderson teaches clients to design structures to match all the load paths with each element optimized sized to the load on each path, thus resulting in a structure with the lowest weight, material usage, cost, and build time. Opportunities include:

Framework for concentrated loads in which CNC fabricated trusses following the load paths. Dr. Anderson’s Weight Reduction Workshop shows low-cost ways to make truss struts from bar stock or swagged thick-wall tubing That page shows many generic examples, how to design them, and discusses many relevant applications, all of which are all big products with big loads.

For concentrated and distributed loads. The approach would again be to start with a load path strategy that would first connect the concentrated loads together with trusses (as above) and then distribute them.
          And flexible tooling could minimize weight by mass customizing material thicknesses to match the loads being distributed as loads fan out to a larger structure.
     Finally, unnecessary concentrated loads should be avoided, for instance, for outsourcing, tooling limitations, or modularity used for size/capacity increments that could be replace by flexible tooling to mass customize integral structures themselves
        If the time for innovation is allocated, major weight and material reductions can be generated in the concept/architecture, which will avoid “save weight at any cost” measures where that is the hardest to do.


Commercialization is part of innovation.

• Ideally, products should commercialized as they are designed, which is taught in DFM & Concurrent Engineering classes. And that is most likely to happen if project timelines provide the time to innovate

if not, launching un-commercialized products into production will b e a slow and costly ordeal with firefighting, change orders, and a draining of resources away from other projects, as shown in Figure 2-1 (in the DFM book), which is repeated at this site’s half-the-time article

• Even if innovation has already been “done” before the project starts, if the commercialization was not done, the project team will have to commercialize it during its time to innovate.

The worst commercialize challenges happen when proof-of-principle designers and champions are highly motivated to make sure “it works” at any cost.  So they are built by highly skilled technicians (who can make anything work as a matter or pride), who specify tight-tolerance parts to ensure a successful demonstration and a prompt go ahead, not to mention personal kudos for all involved.  But then commercialization efforts face two enormous challenges.

Designed-in tight tolerances, which will have to be selectively loosened, one by one. If not done, or the company will "pay the price" every time the product is built. Fortunately, there is Six Sigma tool that can methodically specify tolerances: Taguchi MethodsTM for Robust Design, which is best used in the original design effort.

Designed-in skill demands
for fabrication and assembly, which may require selective redesign for manufacturability, or at least skill-reducing fixtures, for fast and high-quality manufacture in the planned facility with the planned workforce.  Do not assume that skill demand problems can be automatically remedied, automation, robotics, or mass production “economies of scale. Those actually have stricter design rules.

Call Dr. Anderson at 1-805-924-0100 (Pacific Time Zone) to discuss implementing these techniques or e-mail him at anderson@build-to-order-consulting.com with your name, title, company, phone, types of products, and needs/opportunities.

             or fill out the form at the bottom of www.design4manufacturability.com/implementation.htm

Contact Dr. David M. Anderson, fASME, P.E., CMC
phone: 1-805-924-0100
fax: 1-805-924-0200
e-mail: anderson@build-to-order-consulting.com


copyright © 2018 by David M. Anderson

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