This report presents a thesis carried out on behalf of the company SVIA AB (Svensk Industriautomation AB). The work was performed by two students at Jönköping University in the field of Mechanical Engineering, Product Development and Design. The task carried out by SVIA aimed at reducing the cost of an already existing product.
Cost reduction and making the production process more effective is a natural course for manufacturing industries. When working with cost reduction factors such as Cost of material, assembly- and resource-efficiency are essential for a successful improvement. The task carried out by SVIA focused firstly on reducing the time for assembly for an existing product and secondly the cost of material. The product which was treated in this thesis was SVIA:s maneuver panel, ManFlex, which is used for robot operations.
The work followed a well established time plan which involved elements from Cooper’s stage gate model with the exception that the development process was done on an already existing product. Some key elements from the model were therefore overlooked.
The work started with a research phase which aimed at finding key aspects of the product such as customer requirements, the cost of individual parts and assembly operations and also finding out the cost of various manufacturing process carried out by the subcontractor. The research phase involved, among other things, interviews, a study of literature and a field trip. Parameters found during the research phase were later used to generate concepts for a new version of ManFlex. During the concepts phase a morphological matrix were used to generate as many concepts as possible which aimed at reducing the cost. Selection of the final concept was made in consultation with SVIA.
The final concept demonstrated small esthetic changes but focused on making the assembly process easier by reducing the amount of unique screws, moving screw operations out from the product and also reducing the total weight of the panel by reducing the amount of material used. After completed work the students delivered a design proposal of a new ManFlex with reduced costs. The design were prepared in a CAD-software and production documents such as drawings, DWG-, DXF- and parasolid-files were also created, allowing the company to produce a prototype.