Background

As a freelancer design draughtsperson, I have received widespread experience for my contributions in both mechanical and electrical engineering draughting being involved in product development, presentation, and design reviews. My work involves a combination of technical expertise and creativity. I also brings together technologies from different environments and works inventively. In so doing I am able to translate ideas into working products that meet the needs. As a blogger, I strive to inspire my readers by bringing you content through this value added service. I endeavour to help designers and other professionals improve their creativity and productivity. My primary function is to identify the specific needs of professionals sector within the desgn industry and then to meet these requirements in a professional, time sensitive and cost-effective manner. I also offer services as complex as Concept Design, Project Planning and Compiling Design Applications or Presentations. My team of skilled and experienced freelance professionals of professionals are dedicated to providing reliable and professional service that is on time every time.In my Design and Drawing office, I use the latest Synchronous 3D modelling software. On site, I use laser and infrared reflector-less surveying equipment. I also provide layout drawing, design, shop detailing and mechanical surveying depending on the clients requirements. This is my design journey.....

Monday, September 5, 2016

Product Development | Engineering

similar to the one listed below. This is a general outline of getting a product idea from concept to market. It is a time tested formula and used in many companies across many industries. There are several variants of this formula, all of them are good as they fit different situations and types of product development. The most critical time in designing a mechanical system for cost saving and improving product performance comes at the very beginning of the design process. Without a good, well thought through base design, the rest of project quickly becomes costly and can result in huge issues that result in poor product performance. Mechanical engineers that can catch problems in the early design, or have the experience to never create the problems in the first place, save many of the headaches and cost overruns that happen later in production. Below is the process broken into the phases I normally use.

Concept Phase
This is the initial phase where the idea for the new product is generated and documented. The idea here is to flush out the idea as much as possible and assess if it is worth pursuing. To some degree, this is always done by an inventor or entrepreneur before coming to me, for why else would someone hire a product design and development professional unless they already have an idea they want to pursue.

Discovery Phase
This is an added phase in my process where a customer shares their idea with me so I can bid on it. It's common practice to sign a non-disclosure agreement up front with the customer to keep what is discussed confidential (keeping a customer's information confidential is something I do even without the agreement in place, unless agreed to by the customer). I also work with the customer to flush out the idea, this usually stems naturally from my need to have a good specification to create a quote and this process can range from a short phone call for a simple design to a couple of weeks of talks if the design is complicated or requires a lot of detail. I do not charge for this service thou..... At the end of this phase I usually deliver a proposal to the customer with a firm quote for the preliminary phase and estimates for the other phases beyond that.

Preliminary Design Phase
In this phase, I create a preliminary design based on the specifications agreed upon in the discovery phase. I also create an engineering model and do any other engineering and design that is necessary to flush out the product so that there is a high level of confidence that the design will work before proceeding to detailing the parts and creating engineering drawings and documents.

This phase is really where the bulk of the product design & development is done. At the end of this phase the work is summarized and delivered to the customer at a Preliminary Design Review (PDR). A written technical report is also delivered detailing the work done in this phase. After this phase, it should be very clear to all parties what the final product will look like and what its features will be. If, after the review, the customer believes parts of the design need to be tweaked or they decide they want modification or new features added this will be incorporated into the next phase. Mechanical Engineering Professionals, will then update the original proposal and give a firm quote to our customers for the next phase before proceeding.

Critical Design Phase
Most of this phase is for detailing the design and creating engineering drawings and documents of the design presented at the Preliminary Design Review. Any changes or modifications to the design requested by the customer at the Preliminary Design Review are also incorporated before drawings are made. Once drawings and necessary documents are completed, these are sent out to manufacting houses for quote so that the customer will have a detailed price for the building of the product. I also work with manufacturers specified by the customer if they have a particular vendor that they prefer. At the end of this phase the work is summarized and delivered to the customer at a Critical Design Review (CDR). A written report is also delivered detailing everything done in this phase. Again, at the end of this phase I normally update the proposal and give firm costs for the next phase before proceeding.


Build Phase
In this phase, all the parts for the assembly are ordered, received and the product is assembled. Any kinks in the assembly process are ironed out and debugged. Bugs are sometimes surprising to many people who are new to product development because most people hear about software bugs but rarely do people hear about it being associated with mechanical or other types of projects. Most often, these are trivial and come from all sorts of areas such as a part just not being made correctly or a press fit being too tight etc. 

Overcoming bugs is large part of development and the reason why most major companies will do several revisions of a design before releasing a product to the public (alpha, beta, and release designs); especially those companies wishing to release high quality products. There should always be a buffer in an initial build of a product to allow for debugging during the build. Also in this phase, the initial manufacturing procedures are worked out and any necessary manufacturing documentation is created. Higher end or higher volume assemblies may also require specialty tools to do such things as fine alignments or to just speed up the assembly process. This would also be addressed here. At the end of this phase, fully built prototypes would be delivered to the customer.


Testing Phase
On simple projects this phase is often wrapped in with the build phase and I always do some testing of a product in the build phase before shipping a prototype to a customer. The testing can be as simple as "does it work or not?" but with more intricate assemblies this can become much more complicated as one is not just testing if it works but how well or how long it works. Tests vary tremendously on the type of product and level of quality the customer wants to achieve. These can also involve market research testing to see how well the product would be received. I work hand in hand with many customers on this phase as they usually want to be intimately involved in the testing to see for themselves how well the product works. Many times the customer takes over this phase completely. The amount of testing is most often limited by time and budget constraints.

Beta Build Phase / Release Build Phase
In the final phase a documentation package is delivery which includes detail drawing of custom components and assembly drawings with bill of matetials. For tooled parts, CAD data can be exported in a variety of formats to enable tooling directly from the CAD database to ensure accuracy and expedite the tooling process.

Often the product development cycle listed above is repeated several times mainly to iron out bugs or fix problems that were discovered in testing. The beta and release phases aren't really phases so much as a shortened iteration of the entire product development cycle. Of course, in the beta and release, the design and build phases are much cheaper and quicker to complete since one is building on a design already created instead of starting from scratch. The goal of the beta phase is usually to create a short run of prototypes that are as close to release as possible and get them into the hands of key testers, select customers or others to do some final testing before a full product launch. The release build phase is usually just to get the final bugs out of the design as production is ramped up for the initial product launch.

Mamphake Mabule
c. 2016, Mabule Business Holdings
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