It’s not uncommon for companies to seek a device manufacturer after having completed the prototype development phase. That’s because they mistakenly assume that the product development team has manufacturability in mind. On the contrary, however, experience shows that during development, engineers will focus on design outputs to meet the design inputs. And not enough focus goes into product manufacturability as is necessary.
It is absolutely critical to involve the device manufacturer from early on in the design phase. Otherwise, companies run the risk of developing products that will have issues with manufacturability that pose serious challenges in later stages.
This study presents such a case, where the customer approached Quasar with a completely developed product design riddled with manufacturability issues. Moreover, we present how these were resolved, advancing the product successfully to mass manufacturing.
The customer, a cosmetic devices company, approached Quasar with a fully designed product in order to begin the technology transfer stage and proceed with and manufacturing an initial quantity of 1,000 units for trial approval. Our engineering team identified a number of issues pertaining to the product’s manufacturability. In an ideal situation, such issues as those identified are addressed before reaching this point. Care should be taken throughout the initial development stages, to ensure a smooth transition from design to mass manufacturing during the technology transfer.
The challenge for Quasar was to propose practical engineering solutions to achieve a manufacturable design while creating minimal change in the product itself.
The main issues identified were with multiple plastic components of the product that were designed to smoothly shift into a small socket within the product itself, ultimately deeming the assembly process unsustainable.
Quasar’s engineering team brought these findings to the client’s attention and proposed two options.
The First Option
The team drew up minimal design changes that could be quickly implemented. The benefit of this option was that it offered a minimum delay to the product launch and entering the market. It was also made clear to the customer that this first option was not the most efficient in terms of manufacturabilty in the long run.
The Second Option
The second option proposed required a change in the initial design which required more time to plan and implement, but in the long term would reduce production costs.
Quasar was able to provide two specific and realistic solutions to the customer. The customer opted for the first, quicker solution due to regulatory approval constraints and time to market schedule. However, the customer had the second option as the device’s next updated version of the future.
Some characteristics that made Quasar’s proposed solution a viable option for the customer:
The customer’s initially set timeframe was met and the technical requirements were fulfilled.
Our engineering team was able to overcome the challenges and deliver cost-effective engineering solutions for the plastic molding project which ultimately resulted in the success of the project.
The customer approached us at a considerably late stage. Had Quasar’s engineering team been involved from early in the design process, changes could have been implemented to ensure ease of manufacturability for scaling at a later production stage. Moreover, the product could have potentially reached commercialization up to three months sooner than the originally set timeline demanded.
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