An engineered product is a collection of materials in the shapes of components and weld, solder, or adhesive joints. In fact, up to 70% of the cost to make a product is due to its materials. Therefore, it makes sense that getting the materials right will have a big impact on a product’s success. However, many organizations have difficulties getting the materials right, and they end up facing common problems such as:
During product development of a power tool, the material to use for a drive shaft was being considered. Based on the requirements for the drive shaft an aluminum alloy was identified as a potential candidate. Evaluations were performed to to determine whether the alloy was suitable. Also supplier evaluations were conducted to identify a capable supplier of drive shafts once the product went into production. This case study discusses the evaluations and their results.
Designing and manufacturing a mechanical, electrical, or electromechanical device requires thorough specification of the materials properties of the individual components and controlling the materials properties. Doing these will help ensure high manufacturing yields, good quality, and good reliability. For some products the materials requirements are minimal, allowing for a wide range of material variation in order to produce the final product. Other products with many materials requirements (e.g. automotive, medical, appliances) require tight control of the materials properties.