When you think of an aircraft design, a car design or any product design, the first thing that comes to the mind is how this could have made. Then you might start looking for “how to design an aircraft”, “how to design a car” or “how to design a product” because designing is the first phase and the grass root for any tangible or non-tangible product.
Before designing anything you must be clear about the phases of the product development. A new product development (NPD) has various processes in it that brings out a new product in the market. New product development is basically the conversion of a market demand into a product that is ready for sale.
You must be familiar with the product development process or new product development process if you wish to develop a new product by your own. Following image gives you an overview of new product development (NPD) process:
A detailed product development process has all the phases starting from market research till the product support. Following are the phases involved in a product development:
Conceptual Design: When you start with your product development, the first phase is conceptual design. In this you have to gather the requirements and specifications as per the market demand. Then execute a quick feasibility study for the product to check its feasible solutions. Now think of 3-4 alternate design solution known as candidate configurations so as to have a choice among the solutions. Select the best configuration and start working on it considering the analysis and trade-off study. You have decided the shape and placement of members considering the load path in this phase. Click here for details
Preliminary Design: Now when you have selected the best configuration suitable to your design, move ahead with the sizing procedure of each component. In this phase you have to do a rigorous analysis considering all the expected loads during the component service life. The main task here is the hand calculations using various design manuals pertaining to your design. You will derive the component sizing and thickness in this phase. You will create the outer shell or surface and wind tunnel models of your design as well considering aerodynamics.
Detail Design: In this phase you will use softwares to visualize your design in 3D using various CAD programs. Further you will use FEM techniques to calculate the stresses and deformation due to applied loads and can optimize the structure considering the low stress regions. After finalizing the optimization, final production drawings will be generated for manufacturing task. Here material testing will be done in laboratories and a refined loft or outer surface will be created.
Manufacturing Phase: Here you have to decide the schedule of the manufacturing. You have look for a facility where you will setup the plant and machines. Further you have to design tools, generate NC programs and create templates for repetitive machining operations. After that you should start the fabrication of individual component. Then assemble all the components to arrive at the final product. This whole process is quality controlled and is commonly known as quality assurance. Liaison engineering here deals with the coordination between design and manufacturing department.
Product Testing & Delivery: In this phase you have to conduct the physical testing over the product considering its ground operations and real time operation conditions. After successful completion of testing, you should deliver the product to the market or customer for sale.
Product Support: The design is incomplete without the product support. You must provide product support after the delivery of product in case of any failure of structure. Here you should provide the customer with various manuals like wire diagrams, maintenance manuals, structure repair manuals etc.
You may refer the following flow chat for the detail product development phases in the field of mechanical engineering: