V-twin-cylinder 16- and 18-hp engines have been named the best new product of the year made by a large company. The National Society of Professional Engineers, based in Alexandria, VA, gave its annual award to Kohler Co. (Kohler, WI). The firm built the air-cooled, four-stroke engines using an overhead camshaft (OHC) design. Incorporating an automotive-type belt and predominantly phenolic and powdered-metal components, the engines are three decibels quieter than comparable models throughout most of their operating range, the Society says. The award also cites Kohler for its innovative process of designing the OHC engines. The company made extensive use of solid modeling, rapid prototyping technology, customer input, and vendor participation. The tooling vendor made the tooling directly from the solid model, without the need to generate detailed prints.
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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