A Manufacturer’s Guide to Concurrent Engineering

Guide to Concurrent Engineering

One of the most common challenges for precision manufacturers comes in the form of designing and engineering parts that both meet product needs and can be produced in a practical manner. A solution we offer at Swiss-Tech is called concurrent engineering.

Bringing in another set of eyes to brainstorm and troubleshoot precision component specifications is a proven, advantageous ways to improve product designs and processes in several key areas.

This helpful guide to concurrent engineering details the process of partnering with machining experts and how your company may benefit from this type of support.

Defining Concurrent Engineering

Concurrent engineering (CE) is a method of designing/developing products or parts of products simultaneously rather than consecutively.

This effective strategy is often utilized for new product development or on design reviews to strike a cohesive balance between component functionality and machining feasibility.

Primary Objectives

Bringing in an external perspective early on in your engineering process to suggest tweaks to your design is truly valuable.

By identifying critical features, tolerances, size of features, and overall manufacturability, your company can reduce the cost and lead times of your products to get them to market more efficiently.

1) Identifying Critical Features

Working concurrently on your engineering review means first having an upfront discussion about what features are absolutely necessary in order for the design to function properly.

Why is this important?

At Swiss-Tech, we utilize Swiss machinery in order to perform a variety of machining applications in a single process.

Identifying these critical features gives us the ability to optimize the order of our machining processes to maintain greater control over their production.

Through this method, we also gain the ability to consolidate the tooling needed to retain critical features and machine your parts with greater efficiency.

2) Understanding Tolerances

Tighter tolerance parts generally take more time to produce than those with more open tolerances. One crucial question to ask is: does your product really need such tight tolerances?

Why is this important?

If it’s determined that the answer to the question is “no,” we can potentially run the machining processes needed for its fabrication at a faster pace to provide a more productive and cost-effective manufacturing solution.

3) Evaluating the Size of Features

Reviewing the size of your component’s features is another way to potentially improve its overall design. For example, the hole size or slot width of a particular product will affect the types of precise tooling needed to machine it.

Why is this important?

Depending on the size of the features, your part may require standard, off-the-shelf tooling or custom tooling.

If the size of features can be standardized without affecting function, this is a simple way to remove cost from a product.

4) Considering Other “Machinability” Factors

There are many additional factors to consider in order concurrently engineer a product to success. One of these is the proposed material grade or hardness.

Why is this important?

Materials may not always be as easy or difficult to work with as they seem. Our extensive knowledge in pairing the best material grade with your component’s intended application can help you choose the perfect material to optimize its production time.

The Advantages of Swiss-Tech’s Engineering Support

“Every product we machine and manufacture at Swiss-Tech is a mission critical part,” Director of Engineering and Support Technology, Jason Price, commented. “When our customers are willing to share more about their design with our team upfront, it allows us to bring that message back to our employees, so they have a better understanding of how the components will be applied. This helps the entire process run more efficiently and assures world-class quality.”

Concurrent Engineering Parts

Working alongside you, our professional staff is here to help brainstorm the different elements of your product design to make it easier to manufacture, removing cost and lead times whenever possible.

Our capabilities also extend to quick-response prototyping. Unlike most precision machining companies, we have the equipment and experience in-house to create a functional prototype in a true production setting. This opportunity provides you with a more accurate view of what it will take to manufacture a part.

Another advantage of concurrent engineering with Swiss-Tech is our ability to provide feedback on the scale of your part production.

Whether you are designing a brand-new part or redesigning a product that you’ve had for a number of years, we can help to determine the right course of action to effectively produce a component over its entire life cycle.

Looking for Concurrent Engineering Help?

As a world-class provider of precision machined components, Swiss-Tech is happy to help you identify and execute ways of removing cost from your products.

If you’re interested in working with us, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 262-728-6363.

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