Does having a final design of a product mean the end of the design journey? Why would the EU ban certain items from being sold in Europe? And why would a small-sized product cost multiples of the cost of a larger product to manufacture and assemble? There’s a LOT to consider when the design is done.
If an entity cares for their client base and their bottom line, it is imperative to consider the production process and the regulatory compliance of the product. But what does that mean, exactly? And how? We will be exploring all these questions and answering them based on our expertise and to the best of our knowledge. But first, let’s see the three biggest benefits of actually considering production and regulations.
Cost reduction is probably the main motivation to consider the service of production design. Manufacturing and assembling a product can be a hole in the pocket if not done correctly. Second reason is Meeting market standards. It is almost a guarantee that the designed product will be launched and sold in certain markets with no hiccups, this ultimately means a larger customer base. Last but not least is quality control. That means the assurance that the manufacturing tools are producing the desired outcome, up to certain standards, and the components are being supplied through trusted and certified vendors.
Now, with the why explained briefly, let’s explore the what and how.
Have you heard the phrase “Less is more”? It applies in a lot of situations, one of which is production. It is intuitive that the less parts a product has, the less it will cost to make and assemble, keep in mind that the time spent assembling those components is money paid for.
When reducing parts, do think small. Components like screws, fasteners, washers …etc, are not expensive, but they take the majority of time to assemble, so their cost adds up to multiples of their price. Conventional fasteners usually take up 50% of the assembly time, built in fasteners can be used to reduce that time drastically.
Eliminating fasteners completely is often unrealistic. In that case, using the same fastener type and size will save time and money. This does not only apply to one particular product, it applies to all common parts in a production line.
A modular design is also one way to keep assembly costs down. This method subdivides the system into several smaller parts called modules. These parts can be modified, exchanged, replaced, or assembled much easier than a conventional design.
The consideration of the production process will prove to be useful not just by reducing assembly time and cost, it will also create a flexible product that is foolproof to assemble, and has a high degree of automation potential. Those factors not only increase efficiency, they will also increase reliability.
There was a certain point in time where designers and engineers thought of regulations as a headache imposed on them that would limit their creative freedom. Sometimes, these regulations were only considered at the end of a project so nothing would hinder the design process. But not anymore they don’t, times have truly changed.
How much does being ethical cost? What a silly question! Nevertheless, it is extremely relevant in the product design industry. Different regulatory agencies around the globe have different regulations and standards for a variety of industries, some agencies offer regulatory frameworks more detailed and mature than others. For example, the CE and RoHS regulations must be followed if the product is to be sold in the EU region.
The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive is applicable to essentially all electronic products sold in the European Union. Such hazardous substances include lead, cadmium, mercury, and many other substances that could prove dangerous to living beings.
CE marking indicates that a product has been assessed by the manufacturer and deemed to meet EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. It is required for products manufactured anywhere in the world that are then marketed in the EU.
CE for example, has more than 20 sectoral product directives, every directive has a number of ‘essential requirements’ that the product has to meet before being placed on the market. Technical documentation relating to the product needs to be compiled. This information should cover every aspect relating to conformity and is likely to include details of the design, development and manufacture of the product.
Many product regulatory compliance frameworks have now advanced enough that they are actually providing competent system designers and product developers with exciting new opportunities to reduce product costs, development costs, and improve time-to-market.
This is a long, extensive, and intricate process every product has to go through and for very good reasons. The environmental implications of manufacturing, using, and disposing of certain products are huge, these regulations proved to lessen the effect of such products. Not just that, these regulations reduce health hazards on humans and animals or eliminate them all together.
Design for regulatory compliance is an important measure. Following those regulations comes at a price, of course, but it is definitely a worthwhile investment. The best course of action is usually an early consideration of the regulations, which in turn will reduce time to market and redesign costs. This whole service will definitely yield a better, more competitive product with a much better positioning in the market.
Principle Design Director
Omar is one of the most recognized product designers in the MENA region. His passion and talent blended with his experience combined with his personal vision about designing products for: culture, environment, psychology, and technology has privileged him to direct the strategic and conceptual design direction of most successful products.
He designs products with Ihsan, making the user at the heart of the product. He has won over 100 design awards. His work has been featured all over the globe. He helped design products for different nationalities making their life more tangible.
Ahmad has extensive experience in mechanical engineering and industrial design. Ahmad had delivered multiple award-winning design projects across organizations of all sizes, including small startup teams and multinational companies.
He is experienced in prototyping, research, and machinery. He has a proven track record in both superior practical skills and face-to-face communication settings. He is also noted for high environmental ethics, and always prioritizing quality and efficiency.
We share and create a set of fruitful insights in different forms which will help in making an educated decision along the way!