Information Technology

Streamlining the Engineering and Design Process of Machine Parts

Modern technology has been evolving and advancing rapidly in recent years. Even the most common household appliances are, at their core, an ecosystem of moving parts and mechanisms. Although most people seldom consider what actually makes up the items they buy, these moving parts are the key to allowing us to enjoy the luxuries of modern convenience continuously.

Breaking Down Common Household Machines

A closer look at some of these machines shows that the common coffee maker is made up of nearly 50 different parts. Although many of these never meet the typical human eye, each of these components is necessary to conjure the perfect cup of joe. A typical household dryer is another example of a seemingly simple machine but one with several parts, donning over 120 parts within the typical machine. Finally, a car, one of the most common family machines, boasts an average of 30,000 parts, which is no wonder considering its size and functions. No matter the machine’s size or complexity, each part must work together to function properly.

An Engineer’s View of Everyday Products

Although the common man may not spend much time considering the complexity of these machines, it is what consumes the livelihood and work of engineers and designers. These people spend thousands of hours researching, collaborating, designing, and selecting the correct parts for the job at hand. Before they can even begin designing something, engineers need to be able to source all the components needed for the item. This is called collecting component data, and it is a task that is easier said than done. 

Collecting Component Data for Design 

There are several existing methods, new and old, that aid engineers in collecting component data. The first option is the DIY method, which entails a redraw of the part made by supplier manufacturers. Although this method allows for the part to be generated in the engineer’s preferred form, it is time-consuming in nature and is subject to human error. Other methods include requesting part data from the manufacturer or downloading user-generated resources.

Accurate data is ensured when sourcing directly from the manufacturer, but there are limited brands and formats to choose from. User-generated resources offer a large selection of products but are often generic and uncertified by engineering governing bodies. Engineers can also download part information on demand, which has many perks; however, it does not offer a large selection of brands to compare. 

Development of Component Search Engine

Many of these traditional methods of collecting component data have shortcomings, and because of this, a new method was developed called a component search engine. This method takes advantage of previous methods and streamlines the entire process of finding and selecting a specific part. This creates not only a quick turnaround time but also one that enables great accuracy. While studies have shown that nearly 50% of designers spend over an hour per day looking for components, part-specific search engines aim to eliminate this time commitment. 

Advantages of Using the Component Search Engine

Some of the most commonly searched-for parts are objects like a cylinder, a bearing, or a connector. These all have hundreds of thousands of variations across the market, making a component search engine a one-stop shop for all things needed to make an informed decision. Users on these platforms can sort and filter by a number of part features. Part number, keyword, manufacturer, sketch, geometric similarity, and geometric comparison are just some of the ways that engineers can narrow down their search. Some platforms even offer photo search technology to find matches based on a part that only exists physically.

Summing Up

What ends as a coffee machine on your kitchen counter began as 50 unique parts that were sourced and designed by engineers. The way these engineers sourced the parts may have been done by many different methods, but it is easy to see that one method might be the better option for many moving forward. Saving time, money, and precious other resources, a component search engine is the key to streamlining the engineering and design process for millions of workers across the world.

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