There are so many questions that must be answered by product developers and manufacturers when embarking on new product development. Will it be strong enough? Can it be manufactured cost-effectively? Will it perform as designed? Will it weigh too much? Choosing the right materials is often key to answering many of these questions. With so many materials to choose from–and many more in development–choosing the right one is often a difficult one.
Designers must look at products from a systems level, evaluating each individual part to determine: what are its individual requirements? What is its function? How many are going to be made? What manufacturing methods are going to be used? What material properties are important (mechanical, physical, electrical, aesthetic, process-ability, and cost)? There are resources available to facilitate material selection, such as textbooks, manufacturers’ literature/specs, and online resources.
Automating the material selection process
The result of a joint development project by Siemens and thinkstep might help with the process of choosing materials. Siemens and thinkstep (formerly PE International) today announced a new integrated material management software solution that will help streamline material-driven product design and facilitate manufacturer’s ability to enhance product performance and reliability. The new software will be used to manage the material lifecycle. Siemens and thinkstep expanded their existing partnership agreement to develop this new solution.
The new solution, developed by thinkstep and Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software business, will help manufacturers improve product performance and reliability by connecting design, engineering, analysis, compliance and manufacturing to a single source of material information. The software, which is part of Siemens’ Teamcenter portfolio, will help reduce errors, rework and recalls that result from the use of inaccurate material data. It will also assist in the re-use of market-tested materials for new products, which is critical in a wide variety of industries.
“Selecting the right materials is critical in order to achieve maximum safety, performance and reliability in our business,” said John Probst, Technical Director, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. “The Teamcenter integrated material management solution opens up new horizons for us in agile materials management that spans design, engineering, simulation and manufacturing processes. In the racing world, where every second counts, we need solutions like this that enable us to create more innovative designs to give our team a competitive advantage.”
“Through our expanded relationship with thinkstep, we’re delivering a competitive advantage to all of our customers through true material management intelligence,” said Eric Sterling, senior vice president, Lifecycle Collaboration Software, Siemens PLM Software. “Products from virtually every industry can fail, and often times the failure results from the inconsistent use of material information. The new Teamcenter integrated material management solution provides a more holistic view of material data for use in all phases of the product lifecycle to help improve quality and reduce development cost. The new solution gives manufacturers the right information at the right time so they can react quickly and realize innovation.”
Material property management systems have evolved significantly to keep pace with the growing demand to capture, store and interrogate material test data. However, these massive volumes of data cannot be considered material intelligence unless the lifecycle of the material data is intrinsically linked with the lifecycle of the product.
Teamcenter integrated material management provides this missing link between material data and true product intelligence. Establishing and maintaining integration between the materials considered for use in a product and the product’s bill-of-materials (BOM) is crucial to delivering successful, innovative products. The Teamcenter integrated material management solution enables the active management of materials throughout the product lifecycle, from design to production to retirement.