Configure, Engineer Products Remotely

Compiled By Tim Stevens Automate the configuration and engineering of complex manufactured products with a new Web-based product configurator from Design Power Inc., Cupertino, Calif. With CustomWise and a laptop computer, sales engineers can configure customer-specific products during interactive, iterative sessions right in the customer's office. While the configurator provides selection of specific parts and components from a selected list, it also allows custom designs constrained only by rules and expert knowledge programmed in by the user-company's design staff. Sales representatives input customer requirements, including engineering specifications and physical constraints. The configurator identifies decision points during design iteration and queries the user to choose the design options available, based on specific customer parameters. As a design is completed, CustomWise creates a 3-D computer model of the customized product, along with complete bill of materials, annotated drawings, purchasing documents, and plant-floor assembly instructions. Computer visualizations and drawings help customers more fully understand proposed designs before committing to a purchase, and sales representatives can interactively implement changes to instantly demonstrate how the change impacts design, materials, and cost. The CustomWise software engine resides on a central server and is accessed via a Web client, running on a laptop or remote office system. By deploying the software across an organization, CustomWise users can standardize a uniform work process for a distributed sales force, according to the company.

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