Concurrent Engineering – Principle, Tools, Techniques, Advantages

What is Concurrent Engineering? 

Concurrent engineering – Definition 

Concurrent engineering is a systematic approach to the integrated, concurrent design of products and their related processes, including manufacture and support. This approach is intended to cause the developers from the outset, to consider all elements of the product life cycle from conception to disposal, including quality, cost, schedule, and user requirements.

Concurrent engineering or Simultaneous Engineering is a methodology of restructuring the product development activity in a manufacturing organization using a cross-functional team approach and is a technique adopted to improve the efficiency of product design and reduce the product development cycle time. This is also sometimes referred to as Parallel Engineering. Concurrent Engineering brings together a wide
spectrum of people from several functional areas in the design and manufacture of a product. Representatives from R & D, engineering, manufacturing, materials management, quality assurance, marketing etc. develop the product as a team. Everyone interacts with each other from the start, and they perform their tasks in parallel. The team reviews the design from the point of view of marketing, process, tool design and procurement, operation, facility and capacity planning, design for manufacturability, assembly, testing and maintenance, standardization, procurement of components and sub-assemblies, quality assurance etc as the design is evolved. Even the vendor development department is associated with the prototype development. Any possible bottleneck in the development process is thoroughly studied and rectified. All the departments get a chance to review the design and identify delays and difficulties.

The departments can start their own processes simultaneously. For example, the tool design, procurement of material and machinery, and recruitment and training of manpower which contributes to considerable delay can be taken up simultaneously as the design development is in progress. Issues are debated thoroughly and conflicts are resolved amicably.

concurrent engineering

Concurrent Engineering (CE) gives marketing and other groups the opportunity to review the design during the modeling, prototyping and soft tooling phases of development. CAD systems especially 3D modelers can play an important role in early product development phases. In fact, they can become the core of the CE. They offer a visual check when design changes cost the least.

Read More: AutoCAD And Drafting related interview Questions For Mechanical Students

Why concurrent engineering?

  • Increasing product variety and technical complexity that prolong the product development process and make it more difficult to predict the impact of design decisions on the functionality and performance of the final product.
  • Increasing global competitive pressure that results from the emerging concept of reengineering.
  • The need for rapid response to fast-changing consumer demand.
  • The need for shorter product life cycle.
  • Large organizations with several departments working on developing numerous products at the same time.
  • New and innovative technologies emerging at a very high rate, thus causing the new product to be technological obsolete within a short period.

CE is the application of a mixture of all the following techniques to evaluate the total life-cycle cost and quality.
1. Axiomatic design
2. Design for manufacturing guidelines
3. Design science
4. Design for assembly
5. The Taguchi method for robust design
6. Manufacturing process design rules
7. Computer-aided DFM
8. Group technology
9. Failure-mode and effects analysis
10. Value engineering
11. Quality function deployment

Basic Principle in Concurrent Engineering

  • Start all tasks as early as possible
  • Utilize all relevant information as early as possible
  • Work structuring: systematically structure the work or work environment so that each task can be performed independently of each other either by a machine, human or computer
  • Everyone participates in defining the objectives of their work Operational understanding is achieved for all relevant information as team will work better if they know what other members are doing e.g. what constraints a team member could encounter when certain parameters will be changed.
  • A strong commitment is made to adhere to the decisions taken earlier.
  • Decisions are made in a single trade-off space.
  • Decisions are robust, overcoming a natural tendency to resort to quick, novel decisions.
  • Trust among teammates Trusting members, if they agree to accept responsibility for a task, prefer to work together rather in isolation. This will also lead to better teamwork affinity.
  • The team strives for consensus.
  • Team should be empowered to make decisions in product development and should be given the “ownership” of what they produce. The team uses a visible concurrent process.
  • Constancy of purpose: This requires a change in thinking beyond the goals of one/s individual department or team to the company’s goals. Aiming towards the constancy of the purpose results in everyone contributing his/her best working towards a common set of consistent goals.

Need of Concurrent Engineering

  • Need to reduce product development lead time.
  • Increased competition.
  • New manufacturing processes developed.
  • More demanding customers.

Concurrent Engineering tools & Techniques:

  1. Design for manufacturing(DFM)
  2. Design for assemblability (DFA)
  3. Failure effects and modes analysis(FEMA)
  4. Cost driven design or target costing.
  5. Quality function deployment(QFD)
  6. Robust design through the Taguchi method.
  7. Pugh’s theorem.
  8. Experimental design techniques
  9. Design stress analysis
  10. Benchmarking and competitive analysis
  11. Rapid prototyping
  12. Customer focused design
  13. Computer & it based tools like CAD tools (mechanical), CAD tools (electronic),
  14. CAM/CAE tools and electronic information or data network.

Advantages of Concurrent Engineering :

  • Faster time to market which results in increased market share
  • Lower manufacturing and production costs.
  • Improved quality of resulting end products.
  • Increased positioning in a highly competitive world market.
  • Increased accuracy in predicting and meeting project plans, schedules, timelines and budgets.
  • Increased efficiency and performance.
  • Higher reliability in the product development process.
  • Reduced defect rates.
  • Increased effectiveness in transferring technology
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Ability to execute high and complex levels of projects while minimizing the difficulties.
  • Shorter design and development process with accelerated project execution
  • Higher return on investments
  • Reduced labor and resource requirements
  • Overlapping capabilities and the ability to work in parallel
  • Increased cohesiveness within the firm
  • Lower implementation risk
  • Faster reaction time in responding to the rapidly changing market
  • Lower product and process design and development costs.
  • Improved inventory control, scheduling and customer relations

Sachin Thorat

Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.

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