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How do we find out what resources and tools are out there to help us design better products? Rob Jamieson introduces DEVELOP3D LIVE where you’ll find all you need to know under one roof
Government is telling us that we must manufacture our way out of the recession but the reality is that they are not really doing that much to help us. We have to help ourselves. Yet budgets are so tight.

How do we go about creating products cost-effectively that work better and sell more? It’s all very well saying that improving manufacturing processes is important but often we need to improve the design of the product itself.

In such a competitive marketplace, you can’t get away with manufacturing products that are cheap and of low quality.

Just look at what happened to British Leyland, a vehicle manufacturing company formed in 1968 that later became MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005. It was believed that the company spent a lot of money on ways to improve manufacturing but not on the design of the vehicles themselves.

The public just did not want to buy an MG Metro or Maestro with underdeveloped engines.

One of my old lecturers, who worked at one of its factories, told a story where allegedly the “management” came to drive one of the vehicles one day in order to test the final gear ratio but his team had put a potato in the exhaust partially blocking it.

I come from an engineering background and know that engineering companies will just carry on doing things the same way over multiple years


When the management came to drive the vehicle they stated that the team needed to make changes. When they came back and drove the car minus the potato, it was of course better!

That is not a design process and shows that there were major problems with the management and workforce in the 1970s and 1980s. Of course, in the end, the company went bust.

Apple’s products are a good example of that crucial mix of aesthetics and functionality. It’s not only about the look of the iPhone or iPad but also its user-friendly interface and the design of its software.

So, how do designers and engineers go about finding the tools and resources to help them design better products? I come from an engineering background and know that engineering companies will just carry on doing things the same way over multiple years.

But software and hardware move on every year and unless you spend hours researching on the web or watching youtube videos on the latest developments, it’s difficult to know what to spend money on to get the functionality needed.

I also tend to find that each software vendor is only selling their own product, but how do you know whether it is going to work on your existing platform, or if you will need to make changes? How do you know what other options are available to you?

It is also becoming increasingly important in the design and development process to be able to quickly create a prototype or mock-up of your product either virtually on the computer or physically using 3D printing.

The technology that enables you to do this has moved on rapidly in the last few years, but how do you know whether it is worth the investment? So, I feel that the UK is lacking an event where individuals can go and talk to vendors, suppliers and peers to see what’s out there and discover what technology can do for them.

With that in mind we at AMD, a manufacturer of graphics, processors and media solutions, got together with Dell and DEVELOP3D to run a free event at Warwick University on the 20th March.

The idea is that the event will help you learn about new technologies in order to optimise your workstation cost-effectively to get the most out of it and improve your in-house processes. Many of the biggest software companies will be presenting their solutions both during the conference and at the exhibition.

Under the same roof there will be multiple vendors of 3D printing, rendering and machining options for you to talk to. But most of all, there will be real customers explaining the challenges they have encountered and how they’ve managed to solve them.

We’ve all been working hard to get this event off the ground and you won’t be disappointed. It’s an opportunity to talk to like-minded individuals and find the solutions that will help you to design and manufacture our way out of the recession. See you there!

Rob Jamieson welcomes you to DEVELOP3D LIVE

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