Would you want to use a software tool that would help you develop more innovative designs?
Not many engineers would answer "no," to that question, which is exactly what Invention Machine (www.invention-machine.com) is banking on.
The Boston-based company has introduced a product called Goldfire Innovator that addresses the front-end of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).
The company says that it is the first software to integrate within a single desktop platform comprehensive functions and content that help the innovation process, upstream from PLM. These include problem-analysis tools and methodologies that guide users to solutions; semantic knowledge retrieval, providing access to relevant content; and proprietary patent information and access to more than 9,000 scientific effects and more than 2,000 scientific Web sites.
One of Invention Machine's customers is GKN Aerospace, located in Cowes in the UK. Kazunari Sukui, technology development engineer, says that while he has just started using the technology at the end of 2003, they plan to use it to find new ways of making components.
"One of the major benefits of the software is it tries to make engineers think in a more innovative way," he says. "It makes you think creatively rather than just solving problems."
The software does this, he says, because it makes the engineer break down a project into small components. "The program asks you question, such as 'have you ever thought of doing this?' It is a step by step process. The software also has a set of scientific effects, which is quite good," he adds.
Invention Machine has built the world's largest cross-disciplinary scientific effects library with more than 9,000 scientific effects and animated examples of its applications across industries.
The software is a knowledge base that keeps building its knowledge as the engineer uses it, explains Rick Bigley, solutions engineer for Invention Machine.
"This technology gives an engineer the tools to fully understand the design
or the process and all the interactions, and how they affect one another good
and bad," Bigley says.
The software ranks the components or the steps, and will eliminate the less useful functions and simplify the design or process, he adds.
Bigley explains that there are three major components to the software that
are integrated into one product: the Optimizer, the Researcher, and the
Innovation Trend Analysis, which looks at the competitive landscape and sees
what patents the competition has filed.