Solving the design engineer’s dilemma

10/10/2011

Here is the tale of how product redesigns with DFMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) helped two companies respond to shrinking development cycles, impress their customers and cut production costs.

Many are familiar with Moore's Law about the rate of change with which computers' processing speed increases. Design engineers can add to that a new one, dubbed by "Android's Law"-which describes what most of us have already observed, namely that product development lifecycles are rapidly shrinking. The poster-child for this effect is the Android smart phone, which has seen the duration of its release cycle decrease incrementally over recent years from about 10 months to just over six.

Although smart phones and consumer electronics tend to represent more extreme examples of this phenomenon, it's everywhere. Buyers want today's product to be better than the one they purchased last time-and they want it to cost less. In short, competitive pressure is increasing and designers, and naturally plastics processors, are getting squeezed....
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