aPriori (Concord, MA), a provider of automated product cost management software, has introduced a new version of the company’s flagship product: aPriori Professional 2017 R1.
This latest version provides manufacturability and cost driver guidance for additional manufacturing processes and expands the guidance available for existing processes. The software helps engineers during the design phase, notably to understand the manufacturing impact of tolerances, identify areas of the design that may present manufacturability issues and evaluate features that are expensive/time consuming to make.
One of the “design to cost” highlights featured in the new version that will interest plastics processors is a view for plastic injection molded parts, which has been enhanced significantly to identify many additional manufacturability issues and cost drivers.
The aPriori software does not make recommendations for design considerations such as part consolidation or design for assembly, due to the fact that the context of the part is not known. “However, we can cost assemblies and users can do several things with those assemblies [which are not new in the 2017 R1]. They can see the cost and time impact of having to assemble many components,” aPriori’s Mark Dignum told PlasticsToday.
“The feedback that we provide to engineers focuses on three key areas for plastic parts: Design features that may present manufacturability issues [such as] sharp corners, low draft angles and non-compliant part thicknesses for the selected material, all of which can make plastic parts difficult to manufacture, resulting in increased cycle times, defects, and costs,” explained Dignum. “On each part, we evaluate the feasibility of each geometric feature for the selected material and process, highlight potential issues on the model itself and provide the user with guidance for understanding and also avoiding the issue.”
As for material selection and the impact on key cost and performance drivers, Dignum said that “for plastic parts we provide insight into how the selected material compares to the rest of the material in three key categories: Unit cost, cooling time and mass.”
aPriori is designed to provide real-time cost information on parts and complete products. The software leverages CAD and intelligent cost models to quickly determine feasible manufacturing methods and product costs while generating detailed manufacturing analysis and cost estimates that quantify the impact of changes to product design, materials, manufacturing processes, volumes and location in real time. With aPriori, manufacturers launch products at cost targets, maximize savings in re-work projects and avoid overpaying for sourced parts.
Tooling design is a big cost contributor to manufacturing using the injection molding process that engineers have indirect control over, Dignum noted. “Many of their design decisions can drive the need for more complex tooling. For instance, undercuts can drive the need for slides and lifters, which are very large tooling cost drivers.”
“This latest release of aPriori represents a significant step forward in our efforts to provide cost and manufacturability guidance for product designers and engineers,” said Julie Driscoll, Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Product Management. “We have discovered through numerous conversations with our customers that while generating a quick, detailed cost estimate is important, engineering teams also want a way to easily identify and eliminate drivers that are increasing the cost of a product.”