Top 5 Trends in Product Design
Product design, regardless of the industry, is changing continuously, under the influence of many factors. Here are 5 of the most important trends that any product designer should know about:
1. 3D Printing
Product designers, engineers and manufacturers have started to adopt 3D printing in their work process. Getting more and more affordable, 3D printers enable them to generate cost-efficient physical prototypes of their product early in the design process and get more refined end products.
3D printed models are also useful in communicating the design intent to manufacturers, who can better determine the costs and identify potential issues that may arise during manufacturing. This way you can also clarify any questions that may arise when interpreting the CAD models.
Read also: How to Build a 3D Printer from Scratch
2. Smart products
Mechanical products are not just mechanical anymore. In most cases, they include electronics parts or software. And with the emergence of Internet of Things, the entire mechanical world is changing. From consumer goods like watches, home appliances or automobiles to industrial products such as valves or HVAC equipment, products are becoming smarter and technology-dependent. So it’s time to build bridges between departments and create interdisciplinary teams. Industry 4.0 is coming.
3. Globalization and Product Design
It’s no secret that there is a tendency towards a globalized world. To achieve scale economies, companies need to leverage their product development investments by delivering their products to every available market.
When we talk about manufacturing, the fact that companies do mass production in factories located in developing countries is already old news. But global cooperation in product design is not only a new trend, but a very productive one. With the constant pressure for innovation that the market is putting on companies, globalization can help meet the demands for quality and aesthetic innovation through collaboration, and optimized use of resources.
As Adina Shorr put it in an article for Desktop Engineering, this type of global sharing of product design processes is the next-step response to the basic market paradigm of “better-faster-cheaper.”
4. Engineering Simulation
Talking about “better-faster-cheaper”, engineering simulation plays a vital role in achieving this goal in product development. Simulation / Computer-aided engineering is being used and increasingly adopted by companies from multiple industries – automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, energy, HVAC, heavy equipment, machinery and more.
Enabling you to virtually test, analyse, and optimise your product early in the design process by using numerical analysis, CAE saves time and money and helps you significantly improve the end product.
5. Cloud computing
Scientists, engineers, marketers, and researchers are all talking about the emergence of cloud-based solutions. Gartner also recognizes that “the era of cloud-based product design is upon us.” This year’s Cool Vendors capitalize on cloud platforms, enabling digital twins and smart products.
Cloud computing allows people to access applications through the internet, as the alternative to downloading and installing them on their physical computer or server.
Cloud-based services offer flexibility, automatic updates, enhanced collaboration, time and cost savings, minimal upfront investment and many other benefits.
When talking about cloud, Software as a Service (SaaS) — described as the online delivery of a program suite — also needs mentioning. SaaS proposes this concept: rather than buying a license for an application, you can rent it only for what you need while it’s being hosted on the developer’s servers; this relationship gives the company more flexibility and less overhead in maintaining the application, and can save an upfront investment of $60 000 +, as it is in the case of simulation/ CAE solutions.
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