One of the most effective and cost-efficient ways for large product development and manufacturing organizations to reduce product weight and cost is to implement optimization technology throughout the development process. However, implementing optimization processes within an organization’s design teams can be a significant challenge.
The Optimization Center Concept
An Optimization Center is an emerging and increasing popular method for overcoming this challenge. It operates as a focused ‘skill centre of excellence’ where a group of optimization experts collaborate within an organization to apply technology to develop lightweight, performance optimized designs for a wide range of product components and structures.
Dr Royston Jones of Altair ProductDesign explains the Optimization Center
Concept and its Benefit to Manufacturers
Why are Optimization Centers Needed?
Optimization technologies are often introduced after there is a weight or structural problem identified late in the program. Optimization technology is then implemented in a non-systematic way thereby limiting the benefits that can be realized. The introduction of optimization to reduce weight, save material, or improve performance late in the design cycle often leads to non-optimal results and a lot of added cost.
Optimization Centers provide a strategic execution of optimization technology. Where close integration with the product development team determines the areas where optimization can bring the most benefit ensuring that the best optimization methods and technology is performed at the right stage in the development program to achieve maximum benefit.
Optimization Center Benefits
An Optimization Center helps to promote the importance of mass both internally within the product development function and externally throughout the supply chain. The program team can view the Center as a mechanism to reduce delivery pressure as the Center’s resource is focused on achieving the program weight targets. In addition, the Center provides a collaborative environment where the deep domain knowledge of the program team can be integrated with deep Optimization knowledge. The end result is an improved design process and consequently, an improved product.
Case Study – Automotive Weight Management at Ford