Companies expect and demand products that are produced on time within budget and are also perfectly designed. These demands are challenging for designers and engineers as all factors must be taken into account. These factors include human factors, safety, performance, moulding possibilities, heat distribution and many more. It’s difficult, almost impossible to successfully implement all parameters without input from others. Product design, tooling and production should therefore be fully aligned.
For product design (and the requirements) is ruled that it is dependent on the sum of its parts. The design and quality of the mould influences the efficiency, quality and costs. Essential to achieve design optimization is to include a competent team that cooperatively works together from the early stages of product development. When tough decisions like conflicting requirements or industry standard practices arise, those can be resolved by input from others. “Design optimization is achieved when objectives for each contributing member within this triangular partnership are attained”(Michael Poloian:2012).
As this may sound obvious there are several reasons why it is not always practiced. Most companies are inclined to place orders with the lowest bidder and only will engage in discussion when a formal quote is approved by purchasing. When information is provided it is often based on unique capabilities and opinions that are not shared by other manufacturers.
The solution for this is mutual trust between all parties which can be based on historic experiences or common objectives. Moulders may be required to invest time up front with the design team to optimize the designs and the tool makers they may be required to also commit to tooling estimate based on preliminary designs. The responsibility of the decisions making lies with the designers when it comes to the compromises and must be carefully weighted before a commitment is made.