How do you determine procurement costs for product design, materials, and specifications? A superb way to get valuable insights and pinpoint design improvement and cost reduction opportunities is through a product teardown study. What is a product teardown?
In simple words, the process of disassembling a part to understand how it has been made and its functionalities are known as product teardown.
A product teardown process is an orderly way to know about a particular product and identify its parts, system functionality to recognize modeling improvement and identify cost reduction opportunities. Unlike the traditional costing method, tear down analysis collects information to determine product quality and price desired by the consumers. Companies can understand their competitor’s product, on what ground it differs from their own and manufacturing cost associated.
The three primary reasons for a product teardown study are:
- Breakdown and Analysis:
It involves understanding the current technology, functionalities, and components of a product as well as identifying its strengths, weaknesses, and establishing areas for improvement.
Benchmarking is establishing a baseline in terms of understanding and representation of the product. It provides a comparison of new conceptual designs.
- Knowledge and product improvement:
It involves gaining engineering knowledge to enact new room for concept development.
The entire product teardown process can be summed up in five steps:
- Identifying the purpose of the teardown. This is to determine the models to be enacted as a result of the process
- Creating data sheet where all insights will be listed
- Gathering tools and documentation of the process
- Analyzing the distribution of product
- Disassembling of product, component measurement, and functionality assessment
- Creating a bill of materials (BOM), models, and function flow diagram
The product tear down study technique has proven to be suitable to obtain crucial data about the manufacturing method, components, build-up model, functionality and strategies of competitors to find for improvement and coming up with a more refined version of a product.
Material selection stands out to be one of the most crucial aspects of engineering design as it determines the design reliability in terms of industrial and economic viewpoints. A great design needs appropriate material combinations, or else it will fail to be a profitable product. Engineers need to choose the best materials for the same, and there are several criteria they rely upon, such as property and its reaction to given conditions.
Some important points to be included are:
- Mechanical properties: A design needs to go through various manufacturing practices depending on the material. The primary goal is to prevent the failure of the product from a material viewpoint and ensure service fit. The materials are subject to stress, load, strength, and temperature variations.
- Wear of materials: Most of the time, chances are that materials are contacting each other in a product. It can be seen in the case of gears. The selected materials should be able to withstand wear and tear.
- Corrosion: This is a condition where the importance of material selection can be witnessed the most. It is evident in products open to the environment for an extended period. Materials like iron are highly prone to corrosion. So it is essential to make that the material is corrosion resistant and capable of being used for the product.
- Manufacturing: Although the material is fit to be used for a product, it has to be appropriate for the manufacturing process. Improper machining can lead to a faulty product, and incorrect machining stems from an inability to put manufacturing functions of materials.
- Cost: Cost is a crucial fact to consider while selecting materials. Certain metals are rare to obtain, considering their availability and lengthy refining process. Although the cost factor can be neglected when performance is given priority, overall associated costs should be considered nonetheless. There is a reason why plastics have massively replaced metals in the manufacturing process.
During the last few decades, with the developments in technology, manufacturers have been enabled to source parts globally. More and more manufacturers have entered the competition as it grows fierce. Companies in developing nation market offer products at lower prices. To sustain business and achieve growth, many manufacturers are coming up with new products to cater to the consumers and widen it as well. They must be very marketable and of high quality. The Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) method enables firms to develop quality products in lesser time and at lower production costs.
Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA)
Design for Manufacturing and Assembly or DFMA is a design process that targets on ease of manufacturing and efficiency of assembly.
Simplifying the design of a product makes it possible to manufacture and assemble it in the minimum time and lower cost. DFMA approach has been used in the automotive and industrial sectors mostly. However, the process has been adopted in the construction domain as well.
DFMA is a combination of two methodologies which are:
- Design for Manufacturing (DFM): DFM focuses on the design of constituent parts to ease up their manufacturing process. The primary goal is to select the most cost-efficient materials and procedures to be used in production and minimize the complexity of the manufacturing operations.
- Design for Assembly (DFA): DFA focuses on design for the ease of assembly in the product. The aim is to reduce product assembly cost and minimize the number of assembly operations.
Both DFM and DFA seek to reduce material, labour costs associated with designing and manufacture of a product. For a successful application of DFMA, the two activities should operate in unison to earn the most significant benefit. Through the DFMA approach, a company can prevent, detect, quantify, and eliminate waste and manufacturing inefficiency within a product design.
Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (DFMEA)
Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (DFMEA) is a methodical string of activities to identify and analyze potential systems, products, or process failures.
Design Failure Mode and Effects Analysis or DFMEA focuses on finding potential design flaws and failures of components before they can make a significant impact on the end users of a product and the business distributing the product.
DFMEA identifies –
The potential risks introduced in a new or modified design,
The effects and outcomes of failures,
The actions that could eliminate the failures, and
provides a historical written record of the work performed.
DFMEA is an ideal process for any sector where risk reduction and failure prevention are crucial, which includes:
- Service industries
The design model is a depiction of a part design. However, the design model can never be an accurate representation of the product itself. Due to shortcomings in manufacturing and inspection processes, physical parts never match the design model exactly. An essential aspect of a design is to specify the lengths the part features may deviate from their theoretically accurate geometry. It is vital that the design intent and functionality of the part be communicated between the design engineers and the manufacturing unit. It is where the approach of GD&T comes into play.
Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing or GD&T is a language of symbols and standards used on engineering drawings and models to determine the allowable deviation of feature geometry.
GD&T consists of dimensions, tolerances, definitions, symbols, and rules that enable the design engineers to convey the design models appropriately. The manufacturing unit uses the language to understand the design intent.
To master GD&T, one needs to understand the crucial concepts, which includes:
- Machining tolerances: Tolerances mean the allowable amount of deviation from the proposed drawing. Machined parts look flat and straight through the naked eye, but if viewed with calipers, one can find imperfections all over. These imperfections or variations are allowed within the tolerance constraints placed on the parts. Tolerances should be kept as large while preserving the functions of the part.
- The Datum Reference Frame: DRF is the most important aspect of GD&T. It is a three-dimensional cartesian coordinate system. It’s a skeletal reference to which all referenced geometric specifications are related.
- GD&T Symbols: It is essential to be familiar with numerous symbols and types of applied tolerance in GD&T. The language of symbols makes it easier to interpret designs and improve communications from the designer to the shop. By using GD&T standard, the design intent is fully understood by suppliers all over the world.
- Feature Control Frame: The feature control frame describes the requirements or instructions for the feature to which it is attached. A feature control frame contains only one message. If a feature needs two messages, the feature would need the corresponding amount of feature control frames for every message required.
- Basic Dimensions: Basic dimensions are exact numerical values in theory, which defines the size, orientation, form, or location of a part or feature.
- Material Condition Modifiers: It is often necessary to state that a tolerance applies to a feature at a particular feature size. The Maximum Material Condition (MMC) allows an engineer to communicate that intent.
GD&T is an efficient way to describe the dimensions and tolerances compared to traditional approximation tolerancing. The engineer might design a part with perfect geometry in CAD, but the produced part, more often than not, turns out to be not accurate. Proper use of GD&T improves quality and reduce time and cost of delivery by providing a common language for expressing design intent.
Over the years, the term “Design Analysis” has found a significant place for itself in the manufacturing sector. Instead of making a prototype and creating elaborate testing regimens to analyze the physical behavior of a product, engineers can evoke this information quickly and accurately on the computer.
Design analysis is a specialized computer software technology designed to simulate the physical behavior of an object.
If an object will break or deform or how it may react to heat are the sort of queries design analysis can answer. Design analysis helps in minimizing or even eliminate the need to build a physical prototype for testing. As a result, the technology has gone mainstream as a prized product development tool and found its presence in almost all sectors of engineering.
This article discusses three major design analysis software, namely:
- Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
- Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
- Mold Flow Analysis
Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
The Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a specialized simulation of a physical entity using the numerical algorithm known as Finite Element Method (FEM). It is used to reduce the number of physical prototypes and experiments and analyze objects in their design stage to develop better products faster. The term ‘finite’ is used to denote the limited, or finite, number of degrees of freedom used to model the behavior of each element.
FEA will analyze an object in question by breaking down its entire geometry into small ‘elements,’ which are put under simulated conditions see how the elements react. It displays the results as color-coded 3D images where red denotes an area of failure, and blue indicates fields that maintain their integrity under the load applied. However, note it down that FEA gives an approximate solution to the problem.
Mathematics is used to understand and quantify a physical phenomena such as structural or fluid behavior, wave propagation, thermal transport, the growth of biological cells, etc. Most of these processes are described using Partial Differential Equations. Finite Element Analysis has proven to be on of the most prominent numerical technique for a computer to solve these PEDs.
FEA is used in:
Problems where analytical solution is not easily obtained,
And mathematical expressions required because of complex geometries, loadings and material properties.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a specilaized simulation used for the analysis of fluid flows through an object using numerical solution methods. CFD incorporates applied mathematics, physics and computing software to evaluate how a gas or liquid flows and how it affects an object as it flows past. CFD is based on Navier-Stokes equations which describe the way velocity, temperature, pressure, and density of a moving fluid are related.
Aerodynamics and hydrodynamics are two engineering streams where CFD analyses are often used. Physical quantities such as lift and drag or field properties as pressures and velocities are computed using CFD. Fluid dynamics is connected with physical laws in the form of partial differential equations. Engineers transform these laws into algebraical equations and can efficiently solve these equations numerically.The CFD analysis reliability depends on the whole structure of the process. The determination of proper numerical methods to develop a pathway through the solution is highly important. The software, which conducts the analysis is one of the key elements in generating a sustainable product development process, as the amount of physical prototypes can be reduced drastically.
CFD is used in almost all industrial domains, such as:
- Food processing
- Water treatment
- Marine engineering
With the help of CFD, fluid flow can be analyzed faster in more detail at an earlier stage, than by tesing, at a lower cost and lower risk. CFD solves the fundamental equations governing fluid flow processes, and provides information on important flow characteristics such as pressure loss, flow distribution, and mixing rates.
CFD has become an integral part of engineering and design domains of prominent companies due to its ability to predict performance of new designs and it intends to remain so.
Mold Flow Analysis
Moldflow, formerly known as C-mould, is one of the leading software used in processwide plastics solutions. Mold flow computes the injection molding process where plastic flows into a mold and analyzes the given mold design to check how the parts react to injection and ensure that the mold will be able to produce the strongest and uniform pieces. Two of the most popular mold flow analysis software are Moldflow and Moldex3D used exclusively by many mold makers.
There are three types of Mold flow analysis which are as follows:
- Moldflow Filling Analysis (MFA): It facilitates visualization of shear rate and shear stress plus determination of fiber orientation and venting. MFA can predict fill pattern and injection pressure while optimizing gating and runner system.
- Moldflow Cooling Analysis (MCA): MCA specializes in finding hot spots and calculating time to freeze. It helps in determining uneven cooling between core and cavity while specifying required cooling flow rates.
- Moldflow Warpage Analysis (MWA): Moldflow warpage is all about predicting, finding and determining warpage due to orientation.
We can see benefits of using different analysis procedures that correctly understand the power of the different simulation tools. During the product design, many these methods affect the cost and quality of the product, thereby ensuring the optimum productivity as aimed by the manufacturer.
During the lifecycle of a particular product, companies tend to review the existing design to look out for ways to reduce production cost. Even when coming up with a new product, so many manufacturers go for analyzing the same during its design phase so that it requires an optimum level of cost to produce. This is where Value Engineering comes in.
Value engineering is an organized method to improve the “value” of a product or service in the lowest of cost.
VE is a systematic approach aimed at obtaining the necessary functions in a product, process, or system at the minimum overall cost, thereby maintaining the quality, reliability, performance, and safety. It provides the substitution of materials and methods with less expensive alternatives, without jeopardizing the functionality. It is emphasized totally on the functions of various components and materials, rather than their physical characteristics. Value engineering is also called value analysis.
It was Lawrence Miles who came up with the concept of finding substitute materials for parts unavailable. It was found that substitutions not only reduced cost but aided in a better-finished product. It was this new technique that evolved into value engineering today.
The value in VE means two components:
- Function: The measure of performance abilities
- Cost: The resources needed to achieve the function
The function of a product is the specific task it was designed to perform, and the cost refers to the cost of the item during its life cycle. The ratio of function to cost denotes that the value of a product can be increased by either improving its function or decreasing its cost. In value engineering, the cost related to production, design, maintenance, and replacement are included in the analysis.
If we take an example of a new tech product which is being designed and is slated to have a life cycle of only two years; the product will be designed with the least expensive materials and resources that will live up to the end of the product’s lifecycle, saving the manufacturer and the end-user money. This is how product value is improved by reducing costs. It is evident that with the increase in function value and decrease in price, the overall product value increases.
Stages of Value Engineering
There are three main stages to value engineering, which are:
- Planning: Gathering product information, and understanding its primary goals, identifying the functionality of the product.
- Design: Designing alternative ways to incorporate in the product which enhances the value rather than affecting its function and quality
- Methodology: Reduce the action list as much as possible. Developing alternatives to feasible plans. Allocation of costs.
Benefits of Value Engineering
Value engineering helps an organization in numerous ways:
- Lowering O&M costs
- Improving quality management
- Improving resource efficiency
- Simplifying procedures
- Minimizing paperwork
- Reducing staff costs
- Increasing procedural efficiency
- Optimizing construction expenditures
- Developing value attitudes in staff
- Competing more successfully in the marketplace
Value engineering concepts apply to business as well as technical situations and consequently lead management to informed, result-oriented decisions. Value engineering has to be treated as a future investment for gaining technology leadership in the industry.