In socialistic countries, customer satisfaction and the market conditions were not of high priority: Some selected parts of the market products were of satisfactory costs and quality to customers. Quality and costs of a product decide on its success in the world-wide market. The wishes and expectations of the customer for a high-quality and low-priced product continue to grow, however, with the desire for faster availability of this product. The customer determines also the delivery time and other competitive factors as the durability of the product. At present the trend goes towards shorter product life cycles, which in turn requires reduced time spent on the product development. With these complex market requirements and growing diversity of the products the engineer faces new challenges in his development tasks. It can be paraphrased as follows: In reduced lifecycles a quality-assured and advantageous product has to be developed despite increasing complexity of the design and demands for reduction of material used, manpower and monetary spending.
For the solution of this complex problem the following suggestions are tested and implemented:
• Structured design process for the development process,
• Simultaneous work where ever possible during the development stages,
• Employment of modern resources for the product development,
• Use of information technology and
• Implementation of rapid prototyping for models and in secondary manufacturing processes.
An important research field at the Department of Mechanical Engineering Design at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg is research and further development of productive procedures and tools for the realization of a computer integrated product development process. This process includes the effective application of technologies to produce the prototypes for presentation, producibility analysis and production.
Of particular interest is the closed process chain (loop) from Solid Modeling via Rapid Prototyping and 3D-Digitizing where the entry point of this process chain depends on the needs of the application or particular interest of the innovating company. Information for faster and more competitive preparation, verification and Re-Engineering of existing and established products, which have to be adjusted to the world-market needs, will be made available. The results of this applied research offer opportunities to display new developed products for the lagging industries in the former East Germany, and furthermore arranging for necessary venture capital to produce the product, to gain information about possible suppliers and manufacturing opportunities in order to minimize the investors’ risks of an enterprise.