CONCORD, Mass.—Digital manufacturing software developer aPriori reported that the United States Patent and Trademark office has awarded the company an exclusive patent for its design for manufacturability technology (Reference Application Number 16/044,927). The technology enables manufacturers to improve profitability of their products and accelerate time to market by identifying and eliminating expensive cost drivers early in the product lifecycle, aPriori said in a release.
Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is the process by which engineers optimize their designs so that the product can be manufactured successfully and as efficiently as possible. It includes solving for material utilization, specialized tooling or operations required, machine capabilities, and feasibility rules.
The company said that the awarded DFM patent has multiple technology elements that differentiate aPriori from other software on the market. For example, aPriori provides customers with the capability to create a digital thread between the digital twin (3D CAD model) and any of the company’s 79 benchmark digital factories that represent manufacturing facilities around the world.
Another differentiator is automated manufacturing simulation that allows new or modified digital twins to be automatically evaluated for potential manufacturability issues, with no intervention by the design or engineering team. Users only need to get involved when a DFM issue is identified, according to aPriori.
In addition, the software is said to enable visual identification of potential manufacturability issues through an easy-to-interpret heat map overlayed onto the CAD model. It offers manufacturing guidance that presents the end user with potential solutions to eliminate problems identified by the analysis. It also features a manufacturing routing engine that is said to evaluate “every possible manufacturing route within a digital factory to find the optimal solution that maximizes efficiency and minimizes cost.”
“Our product management and software engineering teams have worked tirelessly over the past few years to design and implement these unique capabilities,” said Arnie Greenfield, aPriori’s vice president of engineering and chief technology officer, in the release. “The design for manufacturability functionality identified in this patent is something that should be on the desktop of every CAD designer, engineer, sourcing specialist and cost engineer. It is a real game changer.
“By identifying potential manufacturing issues early in the design process, we dramatically cut down on engineering change orders that slow down the release to manufacturing process and jeopardize time to revenue,” he continued. “For members of the sourcing team, having detailed manufacturing data and a “should cost” value available creates the opportunity for a fact-based negotiation with suppliers around manufacturing operations, versus just hammering them for a better price.”
According to aPriori, some of the world’s most sophisticated product manufacturers use its Cost Insight digital manufacturing software to achieve cost savings and production efficiencies. Companies such as Carrier, General Electric, CNH Industrial, Caterpillar, Arrival, and Flex are using aPriori to address business challenge related to design and engineering; sourcing and purchasing; and quoting of new business by suppliers.