Best Practices for Managing Materials
The right material can improve the reliability of your product, make it stand out from the competition, and/or save costs associated with manufacturing or operations. However, the number of materials available has dramatically increased during the past decades. Most companies realize that materials information has a critical role to play in product development. Still, many are not using best practices to collect, manage and capitalize on materials information.
Materials data is used at various stages of the product development process. For example, a designer can assign a material to a component in computer-aided design (CAD) software so that it can be used to determine a product’s weight. A simulation analyst might assign a specific material model in computer-aided engineering (CAE) software to more accurately run a simulation. Of course, basing designs or simulations on the wrong material data could have catastrophic effects.
The Material Consistency Challenge
Some of the most common materials information challenges faced by design and simulation teams are caused by disconnected silos of information, inconsistent formats, multiple teams using the data and changes in material information over time. Material information management is not a “set it and forget it” process.
Adding to the challenge is that the right material data means different things to different people. For example, the right material may be:
- A material that is still available on the market, or that originates from a preferred supplier.
- A material for which the data set is complete and for which all teams involved in the product development have the properties they need.
- A material that is the least expensive of all available materials, the lightest, the strongest, etc.
These challenges are not insurmountable. There are simple actions that you can take to avoid using the wrong material. They all stem from your ability to ensure quick access to consistent materials information by the design and simulation teams.
But how? Companies have tried various solutions — some of which have helped while introducing unintended side effects. The implications of using one solution over another are not always obvious at first, so issues aren’t identified until after a material process is implemented. We have explored some of the traditional solutions, as well as their benefits and limitations, to help companies integrate materials information within the product development process.
Material Intelligence Gathered for You
Granta has gathered over 20 years of experience helping organizations manage their materials information.
By overcoming challenges associated with materials management and ensuring the right materials are used during product design, companies can:
- Increase team productivity.
- Improve product quality.
- Reduce design iterations.
- Reduce product time-to-market.
- Save time and money.