Alignex Blog

Streamline Development with Rules-Based Design Automation

Mike Lamora on March 24, 2015 at 3:05 PM

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In today’s competitive landscape our customers are faced with many challenges that affect the organization's profit margin. Some of those challenges include increased engineering and manufacturing costs, pressures to offer customization of standard products and bottlenecks in engineering. The old adage of "throwing more bodies" at a project is just not feasible anymore.

We often talk about how to get your products to market faster than your competition. At Alignex, we have many tools to help with your product development process for new product development. A topic I want to introduce to you today is design automation. In a past SOLIDWORKS poll, 65% of responders said that a majority of their designs are based on previous designs.

Many of our customers make products that are variations of a previous design or customization of a standard product. In other words, the designs are “the same but different.” Check out our Intro to Design Automation recorded webinar for an overview of what design automation is, critical business issues associated with it, prerequisites to implement it and more.

Have any of these topics come up across an internal meeting or have been areas of management concern in your organization?

  • We have a long quoting process, which leads to long lead times
  • We can’t respond fast enough to customer inquires
  • Our competition has passed us in innovation
  • We need to reduce the cost of custom designs
  • We need to reduce repetitive tasks

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Many companies today may use a configurator as part of one of their business systems (ERP) to prepare a sales quotation or prepare a bill of material or parts list. These tools often address a single part of the process in preparing a quote or generating a bill of materials. The product often times needs to be designed and routed through engineering and then manufactured.

In the past, design automation often meant hiring expensive programmers to write a custom application that was based on a limited scope of your product and tied to a specific version of your engineering tool. The problem with this is that often times the capabilities of the tool were limited in scope and inflexible, and the programming was very extensive, costly and held all of your systems hostage. You could not update tools independently without fear of breaking a link.

Today, there are tools that allow you to capture your design knowledge into a system that allow you to ensure consistency of the information produced. Best practices in your company can now be implemented into these systems so that knowledge is now leveraged by everyone in the company. By extending usage throughout your enterprise, people outside of engineering can specify a product based on rules that engineering has established without fear of selling something you can't make. This frees up engineering to be more innovative in their engineering process.

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DriveWorks is rules-based design automation for companies that engineer-to-order. It lets you capture and re-use the knowledge and rules needed to specify, design, manufacture and engineer to order. DriveWorks also lets you automate repetitive tasks and generate design manufacturing output quickly and accurately. It can even automate quotations, bill of materials and other documents that are part of your proposal process. 

DriveWorks is scalable. You can start in Engineering or allow your customers to configure your product on your website. Use DriveWorks to create and configure custom products in minutes... not days.

If you would like to learn more about DriveWorks and if it is a fit for your organization, please contact me by e-mail directly or fill out our contact form to be contacted about a discovery session. At Alignex, we look forward to discovering the possibilities.

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