In project management, there’s an old maxim that nine women can’t make a baby in one month. Coined by Fred Brooks in his 1975 book, the Mythical Man Month, the point was that simply adding people to a project doesn’t necessarily save time. Some tasks simply can’t be divided up evenly or effectively. In fact, new talent can even delay projects as people try to get up to speed, make rookie mistakes, and add communication overhead.
Take a typical design project. One person usually can’t design a sophisticated product alone, especially if there are aggressive deadlines to meet. At the same time, a new team member doesn’t necessarily cut project time in half.
All any coworker has to do is change a dimension that you were counting on for your subassembly, and suddenly the person who was supposed to help get the product out the door faster has slowed you both down.
To avoid problems with interdependencies like these, companies use a top-down design approach for product design, starting with a skeleton model.
With a skeleton model, the design team can lay out the framework of an assembly design structure first. Then multiple designers, engineers, and even subcontractors can safely create their subassemblies to fit within the dimensions established by the skeleton.
The result is that interdependencies are dialed back, so multiple designers can work concurrently. Plus, it’s less complicated when an assembly needs to be updated later. In short, your (product) baby can be delivered faster after all.
[If you use Creo, you can hear a user perspective on skeleton modeling in this detailed explanation on Quora.]
You can also find a good explanation of how skeletons work in this video from Engineering.com.
EIZO Corporation is a company that started out making Black and White TVs in Japan in 1968. It’s expanded enormously over the years, and today makes premium monitors for professional use. (Think CGI, CAD, and MRIs.)
EIZO monitors are not only high quality, they’re also chic. Check out the FlexScan EV2750—a 27-inch monitor with just a sliver of a bezel.
The FlexScan EV2750 was designed using new top-down modeling processes at EIZO
EIZO began using 3D CAD in 2003 when the company transitioned from CRT to LCD displays. Switching away from the old 2D approach enabled engineers to digitally prototype models, which always saves companies money and time, especially when compared to using excessive physical prototypes.
But that was 13 years ago. Now, facing intensifying price and design competition from companies in Taiwan and Korea, EIZO is fighting back with another change to its design processes. The company recently overhauled its engineering organization, adding top-down modeling for use during the conceptual design phase.
At EIZO, skeleton models created with Creo Parametric support top down design.
With the skeleton model created at the concept design stage, the design team now has a better understanding of the overall structure of products. Best of all, the new process leaves more time for simulation and optimization of designs.
How’s it working? The company reports that top-down conceptual modeling is a key part of an effort to improve design and reduce overall development process time by 25% at EIZO.
And that means EIZO can continue to be a market leader for years to come.
[Ed. Top-down design features are one reason you should be designing with Creo Parametric. Find out 7 more by downloading the free eBook, Top 7 Reasons to Design with Creo.]