April 06, 2020

Drive manufacturability by improving collaboration between your engineers

Drive manufacturability by improving collaboration between your engineers

Manufacturability is vitally important to optical and photonics companies, but workflow bottlenecks can significantly impact how readily, and cost-effectively, you can meet market demand. Zemax is addressing this challenge by providing engineers with an integrated workflow that enables engineers to work together more efficiently to produce high-performing products on time and on budget, even when at scale.

The greatest challenge to manufacturability isn’t the talent of your team but the limitation of the tools they use.

The sports superstar Michael Jordan knows from personal experience how achieving the highest of goals depends on people working together effectively: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

This perspective on collaboration applies to the design and production of optical products as much as to basketball. Your optical designers, CAD users, mechanical engineers, optomechanical engineers, and manufacturing engineers are all highly skilled, but they use different products to do their work. The lack of integration between their tools can impede their teamwork, and your overall manufacturability, in the following ways. 

  • Inaccuracies due to incomplete information- When tools aren’t well integrated, it’s exceedingly difficult to share complete specs and details. As a result, people end up having to make important decisions based on approximations or assumptions. Having a limited view of other engineers’ work can lead to inaccuracies at any stage of the process and introduce errors that that have to be cleaned up later.
  • Time wasted on manual processes- In today’s typical workflow, engineers spend a lot of time on manual tasks, which can not only be frustrating but also extend project schedules considerably. What’s more, errors can easily creep into manual processes, creating further delays because you have to go back and fix things. Ultimately, all this can restrict how quickly you can get to market.
  • Cost overruns- Optical products need to be produced as cost-effectively as possible in order to meet customers’ pricing expectations. But many teams find it difficult to build products to spec, within budget, and on schedule. There’s the labor cost of having to redo things over and over, due to inherent inefficiencies in the typical workflow, as described above. And there are significant hard costs associated with prototype iterations and the wastage of components that don’t make it through compliance.

A common language improves the workflow to help you achieve better manufacturability.

At Zemax, we believe the secret to overcoming the barriers to manufacturability is equipping your engineers with solutions built to improve team collaboration and automate manual processes. Improving the workflow and capabilities of all your engineers leads to greater productivity and better innovations on tighter budgets and timelines.

Our suite of products – OpticStudio for optical design engineers, OpticsBuilder for CAD users, and OpticsViewer for manufacturing engineers – share a common language throughout the entire optical design-to-manufacturing process. 

These Zemax solutions enable everyone on your team to share complete design data and analyze performance in a virtual model. When all of your engineers can work on the same files in their own environments, you’ll eliminate redundant or manual tasks, see fewer mistakes, and limit the number of design iterations and physical prototypes needed, saving time and money. To ensure the integrity of the original designs, the files are protected from inadvertent changes.

Here’s how a common language streamlines the workflow for all the team members. Optical engineers can see the impact of their designs downstream and make adjustments accordingly. CAD users are able to import native optical design files into their CAD systems, eliminating the need to recreate files. And they can see how different components affect performance— as well as access pricing information — enabling them to make better choices. For their part, manufacturing engineers can access a complete 3D file for their analyses.

With access to complete designs and capabilities to streamline the workflow, all your engineers have the insights and resources to create products that get to market faster.

Learn more about how you can optimize manufacturability through a streamlined engineering workflow.

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