New aid for engineering design
Among the many features of design management that have marked the progress of well-designed products from the drawing board to the market, the breadth of information the design team has assimilated during the project has generally affected its successful outcome. The designers have had up-to-date data on the increasing number of available materials and their characteristics, methods of fixing and fastening, ergonomics research, dimensions and the 101 other engineering parameters that have a bearing on the product's manufacture, ease of use, economy and reliability.
Some of this information is readily available from a company's component suppliers, research association and consultant engineers. But it is becoming increasingly apparent that the sheer amount of data available is such that few organisations and engineering design teams can confidently claim to keep track of all of it and of the sources of help and advice.
The practice of using subcontractors to provide design assistance, as well as overspill manufacturing facilities, is now becoming recognised. In fact, many potential manufacturing sub-contractors are only too willing to collaborate at the design stage in the creation of a product, and, in this way, many of the teething troubles of a new product can be avoided by the sub-contractor using his own knowledge of tricks of the trade.
Increasingly, a designer will be acknowledged by his ability to contact and take advice from an appropriate expert. It is only specialists who will be judged solely by their ability to have a detailed knowledge on a particular subject.
We realise that the appropriate expert - particularly one who is truly helpful and impartial - may not be easy to find. With this in mind, the Design Council will, as part of its enlarged activities in the field of engineering design, set up a directory of Engineering Design Services. This directory will raise a register of experts who can operate as technical consultants over the whole field of engineering design and, in this way, it is hoped that the process of technical integration in British industry can be accelerated.