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Wednesday 31st Oct 2018

New Design Concept: Common Sense

The latest iterations of Computer Aided Design software now combine the traditional drafting facilities with structural, flow and performance, Finite Element Analysis. In theory products can be taken from concept to proposed solution, rendering, testing and performance simulation through to proposed manufacturing route. All of this within the software environment, reducing time, the need for expensive physical testing, resulting in a fully formed solution that meets the design concept envelope.

I’ve got to get me one of those!

With all this fire power, millions of line of code, NASA level mathematics and algorithms that could run a small planet, why, when the shiny new drawings land on my desk for quotation are they so ridiculous?

We are humble Cold Forgers (look it up) who spend our days making things, real world products. Daily we receive what can only be called "Designers Dreams”

Our many years of experience enables us and I am sure other engineering companies to quickly grasp the purpose of the drawings we are asked to quote on (the design envelope) we then look at the drawings from a manufacturing point of view.

We see tolerances that can only be achieved by grinding, mirror finishes on flat surfaces, holes that would need to be bored, not drilled, ground pins that are made from stainless steel inserted into steel bodies (thus creating a galvanic cell [look it up] resulting in premature corrosion failure) Body designs which need to be milled, the list goes on and on. Oh yes and by the way the purchasing department that has been tasked with the un-enviable task sourcing this product need to bring it in for tuppence.

At what point in the programme does the system say "seriously, are you sure you want to do this?”

The design works great, the computer said it would. Where is the button you press to cost all these processes and give you an idea of the piece part price?

Why does this happen?

How many great concepts have failed because of the computer said yes but real life said "for that price? no way"

Part of the reason lies in the way FEA was developed. If you look at a conceptual model below the right hand side has been neglected to some extent at the expense of the left hand side

We have tried a different approach. We take the design concept envelope and de-construct it. Working closely with the original designers, we propose alternative strategies to provide the same (or better in many cases) performance but within the cost parameters the product must meet.

Our Design Support Agreement provides a low cost, low risk method of looking at alternative solutions that didn't come out of the box.

This is aimed at metal-based manufacturing companies, it isn't for everyone but a short conversation and exchange of the relevant NDA's will enable us let you know whether we feel we have something to offer

Contact me, Steve Hardeman on +44(0)121-378-6950 to discuss the matter further or e-mail me at 

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