How big does a company have to be to qualify as "small to medium"? And what are the steps a company has to go through in order to get involved in this sort of public-private partnership? This seems like a great way to help fund projects which could have a major impact, but might not pay off in the short term. I'm willing to bet that many engineers and their managers are completely unaware of these possibilities.
I remember that story, Doug. It was really interesting and you're right, Tom Lange is very easy and open to talk to. P&G believes it's in their best interest to make the technology readily available to smaller suppliers because the more they leverage simulation to take costs out of their processes, whether it's around materials or production operations, the more that will utlimately benefit P&G's customers. Of course, the simulation offerings are based on open source work, but Lange says P&G has developed interfaces to the core open source solvers that make it far more accessible to the mainstream. Let's hope a lot of the suppliers make use of the offer.
P&G's simulation software is world class, and the fact they are making it freely available up and down their supply chain is a big deal. Engineers at P&G use the company's proprietary simulation software to improve thousands of product designs every year. The result is significant materials' savings, as well as products that are more manufacturable and marketable. If you can get access to this software, get on the phone with Tom Lange ASAP. He's a good guy and easy to talk to.
Here's another example of large companies dragging their suppliers into the new technology world. Many have argued that technology adoption occurs when large companies push technology down their supply chain. Walmart did it like a hammer when it forced its supplier to adopt RFID a few years ago. Looks like P&G has friendlier approach with its suppliers.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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