The Next Proactive Step

July 12, 2007
Gerber Scientific gets results from adding formal maintenance analysis process at the product concept stage.

If proactive maintenance is all about resolving root causes -- instead of symptoms --then why not start maintenance analysis at the product design step?

That's how Gerber Scientific's Ned O'Donovan approached proactive maintenance while implementing DFMA design software from Boothroyd Dewhurst Inc., Wakefield, R.I. As director of new product development and project management, he added Gerber Scientific's field service representatives to the design teams that interact with the Design for Manufacturing and Assembly software. "Formerly only production and engineering provided input."

O'Donovan says adding a formal maintenance analysis process at the product concept stage effectively simplifies design and increases customer satisfaction. "Facilitating maintenance works as a revenue producing competitive tool." (Remarkably, less than 10% of DFMA users utilize the software in proactive maintenance efforts, estimates Nicholas P. Dewhurst, executive vice president.)

O'Donovan, also a graduate level professor of innovation and product development at Rensselaer, says the resulting products are also 'friendlier' to production. "We gather around the Boothroyd Dewhurst software as a collaborative 'campfire' to optimize our designs. Once we have a conceptual design in the computer, the software helps our teams analyze, optimize and simplify designs while accommodating service needs." He says the software's ability to reduce part count is an important advantage.

Gerber's products include gantry-style fabric cutters, sign printing equipment and ophthalmology products for cutting, grinding and coating lenses.

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