Design for Production

Publication Date01 Sep 1981
AuthorIan Armstrong
SubjectEconomics,Information & knowledge management,Management science & operations
Design for Production
by Ian Armstrong
The Design Council
Good design is not some mysterious quality that only
successful manufacturers can afford. Every manufac-
turer employs designers, although they are often called
engineers, who take an idea and develop it into a pro-
duct which can be made at economical cost on special
jigs and tools integrated into cost effective production
and assembly lines. Because more than one engineering
discipline is involved, the entire design procedure has to
be properly co-ordinated and must include input, from
the outset, from an industrial designer. A well designed
product will not only be easy to assemble and maintain,
the product will have an aesthetic appeal which attracts
the potential customer.
A well designed product is easy to
assemble and maintain as well as having
aesthetic appeal to attract customers
Over the years many hundreds of products have been
submitted to The Design Council as examples of good
design. Very few have merited the distinction of Design
Council Award which is recognised nationally and
internationally as the marque for outstanding design
achievement. On average, seldom more than 20 pro-
ducts of the engineering manufacturing industry in Bri-
tain receive Design Council Awards. Some of the suc-
cessful products which have been designed for cost-
effective production are described in the following case
Designs for production
The sheer economy of the design of Presco and SGB
Presslock scaffold fittings won a 1977 Design Council
Award for Walsall-based Press Components Ltd. Very
little material is wasted in the production of these fit-
tings supplied as complete units and without any loose
Lids are captive. Bolts are riveted into the fitting.
Nuts and washers are retained by turning over the last
bolt thread. All the fittings are zinc-plated and passi-
vated to ensure maximum resistance to corrosion during
long periods of exposure on building sites.
A single design of cap suits the complete range of
fittings and this brings considerable savings in tooling
and production costs which benefit the customer. One
pair of caps and five washers are cold pressed from a
special non-strain aged steel. The steel is coil fed on to
the press and small electronic switches monitor each
press station. At the first two stations, the coil is edge
notched and five washers punched out. The resulting
holes are used as a true guide for the strip through the
remaining punches. For maximum grip on multiple sur-
faces of scaffold tubes, the cap ends are turned in
Compared with traditional scaffold fittings, these
innovative pressed steel fittings offer the customer a
considerable price advantage and, as a result, they are
not the most extensively used scaffold fitting.
Commercial vehicles are produced by one of the most
cost conscious and competitive industries in every
developed country in the world. Most of the manufac-
turers that are surviving the current world recession are
those who have taken design seriously.
The press tools and jigs required for the manufacture
of commercial vehicle cabs involve large capital invest-
ments. To reduce this capital investment, Motor Panels
(Coventry) Ltd developed a concept which broke with
traditional press tool design. Known as the MP Stan-
dard Panel Concept, parts comprising 70 per cent of a
cab shell can be produced from a common set of press
Differences in panel configuration can be
achieved by replacing standard dies in the press tool.
For example, by modifying the tooling which presses
cab rear panels, narrow or wide cabs with or without
windows can be produced at the lowest possible cost.
Variations in the cab height can be produced in the
same way. Regardless of the length, width or height of
the cab, the door pressing is common to all variants.
The outer and inner door panels are produced with
symmetrical outer edges. A further pressing operation,
which includes piercing, "hands" the door to right or
left. The same ingenuity has been applied to the cab
roof panel deliberately designed to fall short of the front
of the cab. This enables flat or curved windscreen
panels to be fitted to suit customer's requirements.

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