Editor's Window31 Mar, 2007 By: Amy Stankiewicz
The Realities of Reuse
Design reuse: the practice of taking past designs and preparing them during the design phase itself for repurposing into new designs. The reality is that many companies are already in the habit of reusing designs in one way or another. But what would it mean if you had a systematic process by which you readied all designs for reuse from the moment they were created?
The benefit to starting with an already completed design is that engineers are able to save the time involved with starting a design from scratch. But we all know that design models with myriad interrelated features can be extremely difficult to change. Interdependency between the sequence of individual geometric features can be constraining; a change to one feature early in the sequence can force a later feature to create invalid geometry.
Despite the potential difficulties involved with preparing and verifying designs for reuse, many top companies are succeeding in doing just that. So says a recent report that studies the design-reuse habits of some of the most successful manufacturing firms.
According to The Aberdeen Group study—which was released at the end of February—best-in-class companies (companies that hit engineering targets on a 76% or better average) are more likely to dedicate resources that facilitate the preparation and verification of designs for reuse than are poorer-performing companies (a.k.a. "laggards"). In fact, 75% of the top performers that responded to the study say they integrate the verification of designs for reuse during the design phase itself. This process includes dedicating resources during the initial design phase to design for modifications, centralize design data and provide details in the models themselves.
The Aberdeen study recommends that you dedicate specific resources to prepare and verify designs for reuse in the design phase, as well as implement geometric search technology to find the designs. It's interesting to note that the best-in-class companies that responded to the study are three times more likely to use geometric search capabilities to find designs for reuse. They're also two times more likely to track the amount of time required to change existing designs into new ones, the study states.
To download a free copy of Aberdeen Group's Design Reuse Benchmark Report, visit www.aberdeen.com/summary/report/benchmark/DesRes_Out_3908.asp. The report is available free of charge until April 27.