Industrial Design – Why and What for?

What is Industrial Design?

Many times we hear the term “design” in the context of clothing, fashion, etc. But the design process is also true for industrial products. As engineers, we many times hear about the issue of industrial design and we understand that our product development process must involve an industrial designer.

What is industrial design and also why do we have to involve an industrial designer in the project, just based on the assumption that the product requires designer in order for the project to succeed?

The concept of industrial design can be simply defined as a way to give shape and color to the product according to guidelines defined by the client with help and guidance of the designer. Therefore, the designer shall be a person with extensive experience in engineering – an artist with feet on the ground, with experience in development of various product in various fields, with ability to work with different manufacturing technologies and materials.

For many products, the design is key issue in product success.because even if the product will meet customer and engineering needs but will not be attractive, its chances to fail are very big.

The designer can also help us to characterize the product, such as:

  • Human Engineering
  • Attractive looks and shape
  • Selection of manufacturing technology
  • Selection of materials

Industrial design and mechanical planning

The design process is very important and shall take into account different aspects of planning that are usually known to product engineer. Therefore, the design process shall be integrated with the product design in a transparent work environment between designer and product planning. There are some companies that provide such working environment in which designers work closely with product engineers so they combine their abilities to achieve a product that was designed and planned at the highest level.

Key steps in the process design – product design

Product design process is a long process consisting of several stages:

  1. Introducing the designer:

The first meeting with the designer will be after primary definition of the general idea of the product and list of requirements. Such list shall include several items such as:

  • Company details and the market it is active in
  • Competitive products in this market
  • Other product lines of the customer that are associated with the product
  • The main purpose of the product
  • How to use a product
  • Target Market
  • Estimated cost – price target for production
  • End User price
  • Time schedule for development and production
  • Production technologies
  • Additional available information

The designer will ask more questions and try to estimate the meanings of the above to the development and product manufacturing. At the end of this session the designer will define the timetable of the design process and estimated costs.

  1. Definition of final product requirements document

After the first meeting the preparation of a final requirements document that will include customer’s requirements that was agreed upon shall be prepared.. This document will be used by the designer as a basis for achieving the goals and requirements defined by the customer for the product he is supposed to design.

  1. Preparation of drawings

To illustrate his idea or his general direction, the designer will prepare drawings and forward to customer in order to receive preliminary approval. These drawings will be preliminary proposals of  how the product will look like both in shape and size and in terms of the color.

  1. Approval of design concept

After receiving of initial feedback from the customer and implementation of it’s required changes , we can move on to approval of the design ideas. This stage will include a detailed discussion of the drawings and various options with all involved parties. The goal of these discussions is to approve the design of the product and therefore is very important for the product development process.

  1. Performing a detailed design

After receiving approval of the initial design, the designer will prepare a detailed design and present to the customer again to get approval.

  1. Product design.

After finishing the detailed design comes in fact, the engineering design phase of the product. This step is a fact beyond the design process and the actual production process of the product. Sometimes a very attractive product design but production cost is too high and sometimes impossible due to inappropriate settings from the start. Product planning at this stage will cooperate with the designer and the factors of production to bring the product to be bar production capability and meets customer requirements.

  1. Prototype production and design verification

After the final engineering design of the product and its approval by the client, prepare a designer or alternatively engineer files to produce a prototype of the product and transfer them from different vendors in order to get price quotes. After receiving bids and approval by the client will begin the manufacturer selected in producing. After receiving the prototype can be get a clear indication of product performance and verify the design by testing matching performance against customer requirements as defined at the beginning of the process.

  1. Changes and entering serial production

Sometimes there is a need for improved design based on the conclusions of the design validation performed on the prototype. After making changes in the design could go into serial production when other activities are performed in parallel as a production file preparation, different specifications, assembly instructions, etc.. Also performed at this stage of preparation activities such as preparation of the production line patterns, production tools, testing tools, etc..

  1. Product file

Once finished product engineering design and approval by the client, have the overall product portfolio to prepare production drawings, assembly drawings, various specifications, assembly instructions, etc.. File format will be determined in advance with the customer. The purpose of the production portfolio to allow for the production while performing activities such as fitness testing, the testing process and finished product review various production stages