Concurrent engineering, also known as simultaneous engineering, is a method of designing and developing products in which the different stages of functional development are run at the same time rather than in consecutive order. This approach decreases product development time and also the time to market, leading to improved productivity and reduced costs.
Concurrent engineering has been around for more than two decades, and many companies claim to understand and even implement it. However, few are truly ready to break with the traditional Design-Build-Test-Fix iterative process despite the fact that it is likely costing them valuable time and resources.
A typical design process flow chart immediately reveals where and why all of this inefficiency occurs:
There are several essential members of the design process. Should each one be engaged sequentially, the potential exists for the design to be touched up to six times before moving forward. As a result, time and resources are significantly overused.
Concurrent engineering is integrated, dynamic and has no waiting or pass-on involved. The team members are simultaneously engaged with all design iterations, and immediately share input/feedback. Each engineer assumes the responsibility of entering specific requirements for their designated functions, and then run complete Physics of Failure simulations to set a solid design foundation.
When concurrent engineering is aided by Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ software, engineering inputs and feedback are automatically incorporated into the design for retest. Since environmental conditions are all pre-loaded and multiple simulations can be run, design flaws and reliability concerns are immediately identified, allowing for the entire team to evaluate the test results and, ultimately, the finished designs. There’s no need for expensive and time-consuming design-build-test-fix iterations, and the design could conceivably pass physical testing in just one cycle.
Bringing Design for Reliability (DfR) to the board level through concurrent engineering achieves greater teamwork, more robust design, reduced testing iterations and projects brought to market on time and on budget.