Using Software to Redesign Your Product and Lower Costs

software design

Businesses are often asked to reengineer an OEM part for a customer for many reasons such as adding extra functionality, or to have the part interface with another system. Cost reduction can be a huge driver, also, as companies try ever harder to decrease costs to their bottom line. Some requests can even combine several optimization approaches, giving an extra boost to the finished design.

When design changes are requested in order to optimize the part, designers make modifications such as changes to a part’s existing material, applying treatment on the component’s surface to extend its durability, and even to adding new features to an existing part. During this common approach to reengineering, there is often an opportunity for cost reduction to go along with the improvements. This article discusses the method of using software to reengineer a component for cost reduction purposes.

Cost Reduction Designs

Cost reduction is often possible while retaining a part’s desirable existing functions and characteristics by changing its material or by the redesign of the component. For example, a stainless steel material can be changed to an aluminum or engineering plastic. These substitutions may reduce cost, weight and improve the product in wear and tear or easy replacement characteristics.

The Cost Reduction Process

A team of designers and technicians usually handle the redesign of an OEM part. They work with the customer or consider market requirements or research if they are introducing a part based on an original design. They then begin the process to fully redesign a new product. They must specify the material, manufacturing process, and estimated cost of each component. Successful reengineering can typically lead to lucrative patents and a way to sell this newly designed product to the buyer who then will own the patent and reengineered part.

Redesigning to Decrease Cost

One very efficient way to redesign for cost is to use online cost estimation programs along with your businesses CAD programs and other tools. These software programs can then be used after project teams finish their work on the preliminary designs. Once finished, they can then estimate the cost of each component using the cost estimation application to help with the process. The software can then help them generate estimates for parts, such as the cost of the top and bottom of plastic housing for an injection-molding device, for instance.

Initial Cost Analysis

Once the dimensions and parameters are known, the users can then take the online cost estimators and enter the necessary parameters of the plastic housing. Glossary pop ups demonstrate any parameters that are not familiar to them and display what information is required. Once the estimate is finished being entered into the program, it will provide a cost breakdown, and the estimate can be saved for reference later. After completing the estimate, the designer can instantly view the cost breakdown and save his estimate.

Design Rules and Cost Drivers

Usually in order for a product to be considered to be affordable, a company will need to manufacture it at under a predetermined dollar amount per part. For instance, $3.00 per part may work for an injection-molding piece. Theoretically, you could say that this single piece contributes to over 40% of the total cost, so it may be to the company’s advantage to trim costs by reengineering the part. The online cost estimation software can then be accessed to look for some answers. The software provides information on the injection-molding that explains important information about the proper design rules and cost drivers for this procedure and the information given can help the user to formulate cost reductions and improve the quality of the part.

Reengineering for Cost Reduction

While users go over the process in detail, they can note any changes that can be made to reduce costs and/or improve the product. For the injection-molded parts, improvements can be implemented, such as the part having thin walls that allow it to cool rapidly, or adding ribs to its flat surfaces that can add strength to the part. Also undercuts in the component can substantially add to the tooling cost, for example, and the option could be explored, as well. The user can then take away this information and reengineer the plastic housing based on the new information.

The result can be a new part with an optimized design that has ribs for enforced strength and thinner walls. A new design on a hinge and latch, for example, could allow for the removal of undercuts. The user can then return to the estimate and enter the new parameters of the redesigned part. The savings can be substantial, and the software can show you how much the new design can save you in cost per part, allowing for the total percentage of the cost reduction to be examined in detail and streamline the process of cost estimation.

Material Choices

Other ways that the cost per part can be reduced is by changing the material used on a part. The goal would be to move to an approved, cheaper alternative in order to lessen cost. You can explore how to do this easily through the different material selection choices available as options in the online cost estimation program. Once designs are completed, the effect of material on the cost can be discussed in depth. For example, if the commonly used material, ABS, had been used for the housing, you can look through the program’s options to find a suitable substitute material that can replace the old material.

Since the online cost estimating software gives live cost comparisons, you can see the effect of different materials on the total cost of the part. Different material can be virtually tried on like a glove that can lower the cost per part and result in a percentage of cost savings that can be verified immediately, and in addition you can also look to see how the reduction in the cost is made possible. For example, if you used HDPE which has a lower density and unit price than the ABS, you can validate in the program how it lowers the material cost this way. Other benefits can be displayed with the program during this type of substitution such as the thermodynamic properties of the new material that will now allow the production rate to go up from to 132 parts per hour to 276.

Re-engineering Cost Savings

Using online cost estimating software allows for the rapid estimates of the cost of parts, lets the user learn about cost drivers and the design rules for injection molding, and perform instant cost analysis for multiple design scenarios. By doing this, design teams can easily re-engineer their components to improve the manufacturability and quality of the part, while greatly reducing the associated cost to make it.

Elite Tech Engineering (Singapore) is a engineering design company which provides mechanical engineering services including OEM Equivalent Replacement (Mechanical part)
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /




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