Not Your Grandfather’s Engineering

A trending shift has developed in software platforms that manage design. Mechanical products are embracing more sophisticated technology, making collaboration among teams more vital than ever. Manufacturing is shifting towards a larger focus on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Product Data Management (PDM) due to a series of advancements aimed at improving integration and interoperability, while also preserving a digital thread of a product’s development.

One of the biggest changes is in systems that previously focused primarily on mechanics, which are now beginning to make room for electronics. Some companies are building high-tech products even if they’re not in a high-tech industry. The automobile, for example, used to be a mechanical device; however, now, it has significant electronics connected to sensors that tell you whether you’re too close to another car, camera’s to see the back of your car, and Bluetooth connections to wirelessly connect all your devices.

The result has been a shift to greater use of PLM but many companies are unequipped to deal with these electronic parts. This changing trend in manufacturing has caused a spike in the use of outsourcing design engineering and PLM services.

Another changing trend is that collaboration has become a must as product development teams seek to optimize their speed time-to-market. Rather than shifting the product from one team or discipline to another, for example from CAD drawings to material analysis to simulation, multiple disciplines can weigh in simultaneously.

Collaboration is one of the main functions of a PDM system now. Many people are working on the same assembly at the same time, and collaborative tools let you see who’s working on what.

As companies approach a new budget year, now is the time to evaluate how your design engineering is performing against the changing trends in technology and collaboration. Is your current team utilizing all the tools and technologies available or do you need an outsourced engineering team to help support your product development goals?

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