Accelerating the design process / by Eric Dacus

On the redesign of the Fusion ice tool:

"We didn’t feel we could safely reduce more weight with the older design after we did the (FEA) analysis," says Brendan Perkins, design engineer at Black Diamond. Starting with a clean slate, the engineering team gave the designers a basic mockup of what the ice tool’s wall thickness should be along with other critical design elements like pick angle and approximate shaft size. Using the same iterative design workflows, the team came up with a new hydroformed aluminum shaft design that was 9.4 percent lighter."

And on the use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA):

Previously you might get to an optimized design through engineering know-how and experience, but at this point, further gains won’t come through those means

From: Design News: Walk a Mile in Your Ski Boots

Interesting article for those curious about the design and optimization of the design of climbing and skiing gear. The article focuses partially on the use and need for FEA, however it seems to me the real power behind these redesigns is the up-front collaboration between the engineering, industrial design, and manufacturing. Understanding what you need, what your constraints are to achive that need, and where to start iterating is immensely valuable to speeding up a design process. 


Iterations on our knee femur implant. 

In medical device design, and specifically what I’m working on, the times that we’ve had a design review with surgeons, engineers and machinists present has taken months off the design cycle just because we could rapidly iterate to a better starting point for a particular implant design concept.