This is fun. Writing about a seemingly boring subject and turning it into something everyone can aspire to. Right off the bat, design reviews are not what you think. The Wikipedia definition is clinically accurate yet it’s missing everything that matters – a design review meeting provides a podium for talking out the issues. This talk, or in many cases speaking up what’s on your mind unlocks creativity. The result: product design becomes better and also the reviewers become better aware of each other’s concerns. This last one is very important for reasons other than pure technological improvements. It’s important for a show of wit, experience, care, and therefore career advancement. In other words, design reviews can sink or advance your career.
Aside from job security, design reviews do indeed improve the product. This is the time to come together with marketing professionals and other engineers and objectively look at the design. Basic questions will be discussed: (1) Will the product work as intended? (2) Will it hurt the user? (3) Can the user hurt the product? These are the main areas of concern, which are broken down into finer details during the review.
In my work I create industrial equipment that makes stuff we use in our daily lives. Stuff like electricity, lights, paper, electronics, among many others. Behind each of these tangible and intangible things is complex machinery that needs to be designed. My main tools are SolidWorks, PDMWorks, and Simulation. These tools offer significant help in preparing for a design review. A top level assembly drawing is the single most important document required during the review. You can see all the components, their relationship to each other. A bill of materials, (BOM) is presented along with the drawing where you can see part descriptions, part numbers and revisions. SolidWorks is very powerful in creating indented tables of an assembly’s hierarchical structure. The cost of each component can also be included in the design review. SolidWorks Costing Tool makes this easy. Once the design review is completed and the design is ready for release, it’s important to remember to freeze the design. Literally, Feature Freeze can be enabled in the modeling software, which will speed up further development steps such as drawing generation for production. Freezing the design will also prevent Design Creep – a phenomena where the scope is always shifting.
Utilizing software tools such as SolidWorks, ProE, Autodesk, CATIA, Siemens 3d, etc., makes design review productive and a fun experience. Wouldn’t you want to make your job easier? And to aid your design of observation equipment even further, you can download CAD models of viewports , sight glasses and sight windows here: Sight Glass Products.