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Tag: Lab

How Industry 4.0 is giving ERP a new lease of life

There’s no question that the manufacturing industry is moving at a rapid pace. Assembly lines are becoming smarter, R&D becoming more innovative, and operations becoming slicker. Manufacturing businesses are embracing new technologies and utilising everything from the Internet of Things, to smart devices, in order to build a competitive advantage and stay ahead during highly competitive times.

But while new technologies are coming thick and fast, there is one application that has been a vital tool in the manufacturer’s arsenal for the last 50 years. There’s one application that streamlines efficiencies across entire supply chains and there’s one application that is continuing to grow in order to keep up with, and seamlessly integrate with new, more recent technologies. That technology is the humble Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system – a technology that has been around for decades, but which remains the next big thing in Industry 4.0.

Boosting factory efficiency

The smart factory of the future is one that is capable of delivering shorter product runs, manufacturing more complex products with more frequent material changes, resulting in quicker deliveries, different mixes of packaging and distribution, better change forecasting, supply chain management, and product traceability.

ERP has been helping businesses achieve all of this for many years. Yes, the stories of manufacturers saving time and money with ERP are everywhere – and they’re all true, but many of these document a single business process. Imagine the efficiencies that a business could achieve with seamless integration of planning, materials management and procurement, manufacturing, financial and business intelligence processes through one single system. ERP can deliver complete factory automation and unify multiple business processes, and disparate systems to better connect all facets of your supply chain. It can enable you to work smarter, faster, and spend more time focusing on product innovation and servitization, instead of operating manual tasks to try and plug the gaps left in your poorly automated supply chain processes.

Get a handle on those robots

Like it or not, the age of robotation is coming to manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is a period where manufacturing businesses are improving machine uptime, decreasing labour costs, consolidating factory space and saving on capital expenditure – robots facilitate all of these.

However, the introduction of robots to the factory floor means that a busy manufacturing manager now has yet another asset to manage. And what happens when one of them ultimately fails in a way that a human worker rarely does?

By linking robots to your ERP system, and integrating their data streams into your ERP data, you can better schedule robot maintenance and analyse their output to make them move orders forward more effectively. And by using ERP to adjust your product designs and held inventory, you can consistently change and modify your designs and materials to reap even more value from your robots.

Help your business leverage the Internet of Things

From product development to production control and after-sales, connected devices are providing manufacturing businesses with a higher level view of their supply chains and enabling them to make better informed decisions, more quickly. Add the Internet of Things into the mix, and the possibilities for a manufacturing business become endless.

Many manufacturing businesses are starting to fit sensors to their products to analyse their performance in terms of their effectiveness safety levels, durability and other critical values. By sending this information directly to your ERP solution, you can update Bills of Materials, adjust design specifications and adjust processes to continually improve your products through production. By leaving sensors on products post production, you can feed this information into ERP to track the lifecycle of a product and use this information to deliver a greater service to your customers by alerting them when a product may need maintenance, and to streamline or alter your production strategy for continuous product improvement. The use of sensors in manufacturing post production is nothing new, but ERP offers a way to route the masses of data collected by the sensors into your design and engineering processes to enable continuous improvement.

Greater productivity, improved efficiency and higher flexibility are the three traits of any competitive manufacturing business during Industry 4.0 and unsurprisingly, three benefits that ERP can deliver. The businesses that truly thrive during the fourth industrial revolution will be those that continue to use ERP as a mission critical supply chain tool, and continue to think up new and innovative purposes for their solution. After all, ERP has evolved throughout the last 50 years, just imagine where it will be in the next 50?

Three Phases of prototyping

Prototyping involves more than just the creation of a tactile mockup. It’s both a proof of concept using off the shelf hardware mixed with DIY materials and a fully-functional product constructed of precision-crafted components.

For that reason, new product designs generally go through several prototype iterations before they are deemed ready for the production line. Whereas it’s common to think in terms of a single prototype, the process, in fact, typically results in the creation of multiple iterations.

Indeed, the design process can usually see as many as three to five different prototype phases, with a multitude of test units put through their paces.

To that end, we have partitioned the prototyping process into three classifications: what we’ll call the Alpha, Beta, and Pilot. While different product developers may use alternative terminology such as minimum viable product (MVP) and proof of concept (POC), these phases are fairly universal. Each phase represents a step forward along a product roadmap and corresponds to an increasing score along the Technology Readiness Level scale.

It should be noted, however, that the process itself is usually nonlinear in nature, as developers will occasionally use lessons learned in various test phases to go back and revisit earlier iterations. Depending on what stage along the process you are, the tools, methods, decisions and challenges will be different.

For the sake of clarity we’ve listed prototypes in succession; however, in some cases, prototypes may be developed anywhere along the product development timeline. It’s important to realize that developers design prototypes to match the manufacturing method, so depending on changes and differences it may be necessary to push forward prototypes concurrently.

Contact us today to find out more.

How Rapid prototyping helps you Design and Develop Products quickly

Product design failure in the development stage is a huge loss for the organization in terms of man-hours and the money invested in the development process. A tangible prototype of the product makes the complex product design looks simple. It helps product designer and engineers in visualizing and analyzing the actual part of the product before the development stage. This drastically reduces the chances of product failure to a great extent.

It helps you to develop every component of the complicated product in stages and compare every part of it with the prototype prepared. Any deviation from the prototype can give you a clear indication of the design failure of the part and it helps the development team to rectify the error immediately.

Why Rapid Prototyping?

  1. Clear understanding and visualization of the Design Concepts
    It acts like a POC for the client and it’s easier to understand the design rather than struggling to visualize by looking the design on the screen or paper. It helps the designer to understand the look and feel of the design rather than having a virtual design through CAD model.
  2. Quick changes or modification
    Having a visible and tangible model provides manufacturers with the better understanding of how the product may look like. It helps them analyze the actual design and suggest correction or modifications quickly which can be incorporated to make the product design perfect before advancing to the manufacturing stage.
  3. Reduction in monetary investment and time consumption for Designing
    Rapid prototyping creates a model very similar to what an actual product can look like. This eliminates a need for preparing molds and use of other software to create a model. The existing CAD software and printing equipment are sufficient to create a rapid prototype which gives you a feel of an actual model. This not only result in saving of time and cost invested in creating the actual models but also results in overall reduction of your time to market.
  4. Product Customizations
    Rapid prototyping empowers you in developing the customized products with ease. A small modification in CAD model is sufficient to create a modification in the existing design without the need for any special tool or process.
  5. Higher Accuracy level in designing
    The material used for the prototyping has similar properties of the actual product. This makes it easier to perform the physical tests and identify the flaws and errors prior to the actual manufacturing process. This helps manufacturers to avoid the risk of halting the manufacturing process at a later stage.

Nowadays, manufacturers are more inclined towards rapid prototyping while initiating their new product development and manufacturing process. These revolutionary techniques are making things easier for product development companies, and product manufacturers in developing innovative products cost-effectively.

If you are struggling to hold the market share due to continuous innovative products being pumped by the competitors, there is a time to look into your product design and development process. Probably you require an expert who can boost your product development team to enable them to develop products at a faster pace.

At JOULEHUB, we carry out a systematic study of your concept and existing product line to redesign of systems and components successfully. We can partner with you to innovate, design and develop products rapidly to gain the first mover advantage.

JOULEHUB offers custom engineering design solutions and services to our global clients leveraging a team of experienced engineers and designers. Our diverse services span all aspects of engineering from legacy conversions, to designing and detailing, to FEA/CFD analysis. JOULEHUB has domain expertise in many industry verticals including automotive, off-highway vehicles, heavy machinery, consumer equipment, packaging and medical devices.

Contact us today to find out more.

We are hiring!!!! Business Development

Location: Luzern Switzerland, Remote work possible

Start date: December 2018

What we do:

JOULEHUB is a R&D laboratory specialized in electronics, robotics and mechanics. We project, create prototype and if the customers need, we can produce also. Our business core is based on:

  • Project
  • Feasibility study
  • Prototype
  • Production

What you are going to do:

  • Responsible for the acquisition of new leads
  • Support us in the development and implementation of the growth strategy
  • Execute and improve daily operations
  • Finalize of the interviews

Contact us today to find out more.

Key Differences Between Production and Prototype Tooling

In product development, testing is a critical factor. In some cases engineers need to demonstrate how a new design will perform as part of management approval for investment into production. In other cases, regulatory requirements require testing of products from representative materials and processes that correspond to those intended. As part of its prototyping methodology, manufacturers often use different strategies for executing prototypes depending on the purpose of the parts. When injection molding is involved in the final product, the use of specially engineered polymers in the product specification may result in the need to injection mold the parts being used in testing in order to get reliable results. Depending on the circumstances, the final production injection molds may be used or separate prototype tooling may be utilized. The goal is to ensure a superior prototype and timely testing, which helps identify design changes before taking a product into full production.

There are a number of key decisions, which go into the prototype tooling process, which enables a design team to select the appropriate build strategy. A key element to consider is the degree of uncertainty or uniqueness of a particular design. The more unique a given design is from a company’s previous manufacturing experience, the more critical it is to test process and product early. Likewise, overall program schedule plays a big factor. The component in need of testing may just be one part of an overall system being developed. Final production tooling timing may be aligned more with the overall system’s development schedule. If so, waiting for production tooling may be a costly risk delaying valuable testing time. In those cases, a simple prototype tool to allow early evaluation of the component or sub-system may be a great investment. Finally, the likelihood a product may change should also be a factor in considering if separate prototype tooling should be used. If a design change is likely or probable, it is better to identify this early rather than executing the change to final production tooling which could require welding on the tool steel or other changes which might compromise the integrity of the mold for long run use.

For both production and prototyping, every tool is different. Two factors, which strongly influence the distinction between the two, are as follows:

  • Production Quantity – The degree of automation in a tool is often correlated with the production quantity intended. High production molds often are highly automated with wear maintenance provisions, sensing and process control capability built into the design. These factors add to the time and cost of the tooling but provide cost and processing efficiencies in the actual volume molding itself. Likewise high production molds are often multi-cavity allowing several parts of the same design to be molded simultaneously. Prototype molds by contrast, typically have limited automation and cavities, saving time and cost in fabrication and thus are suited to low volume molding with quicker development time.
  • Hard vs. Soft Tooling – Another difference between the prototype tooling process and production tooling process has to do with tooling materials. Production tooling is often made from hardened P20, H13 or other tool steel suitable for repeated use and long tool life. Heat-treating and surface hardening or plating are also often utilized. Prototype tools are often called soft tools based on the fact that aluminum and or mild steel are often used. This tooling material can be cut quicker in the machining process allowing for faster and more cost effective prototype tools. The tradeoff however is that tool life may be limited depending on the plastic intended to be molded and processing is not optimized for shortest cycle time. Soft tooling can offer affordability for both production and prototyping. However, because it allows for quick turnarounds of samples, it is often the preferred choice for prototypes.

Tooling is a big investment and cost is always an important deciding factor. Therefore, a manufacturing company will determine which type of tooling makes the most sense from a financial perspective and any product based factors necessary to make the right choice.

Innovative Prototyping and Production Services

The JouleHub team of experts can assist your team in the process of making critical decisions about machines, material, and tooling and providing the support services needed regardless of choice. For a superior quality prototype or product, we would love the opportunity to help. Visit us online or call to speak with a company representative regarding your project.

Why Choose CNC Rapid Prototyping

When it comes to rapid prototyping, there are several different options. These include 3-D printing, sand casting, selective laser sintering, investment casting, fabrication, and CNC rapid prototyping. While they all offer unique advantages, there are some unique advantages to CNC prototype machining.

What Is CNC Prototype Machining?

CNC prototyping involves utilization of 3D solid model CAD designs as the input, and correspondingly fabricating the part directly from solid material through a computer controlled cutting and milling process. Some have used the term, “subtractive” rapid prototyping to describe this process, to contrast it with 3D printing, which is sometimes referred to as “additive” manufacturing. The subtractive aspect is that the CNC machine removes material from a starting material block to create the final part precisely to the CAD model specifications. With modern CNC machines, this material removal process is efficient, quick, and accurate to demanding specifications. Because of this subtractive nature, CNC prototyping allows for parts made from literally any material that is machinable and commercially available in cast or extruded stock. This provides material versatility and permits prototyping in materials that are often identical or very similar to those specified in production use. CNC prototyping suppliers offer an outstanding option for low volume customized products and prototypes with precision results!

While prototyping offers many benefits, two stand out. First, by creating a model before producing hundreds or thousands of finished products, engineering teams can identify potential problems, often times minor geometry or functional issues that by human nature are inherently difficult to catch in a computer model alone. This can allow the manufacturer to make the necessary corrections before going into full production, which saves a significant amount of money. Secondly, human factors, or how humans interact with the product are most often best assessed on the prototype. Issues such as color, texture, feel, light, shadows, temperature to touch, resistance to motion, etc. can be assessed with prototypes made to high craftsmanship, quality, and proper materials.

A Broad Reach

Prototyping and CNC Prototyping in particular can benefit any industry, whether aviation, automotive, architecture, aerospace, construction, medical, or something else that requires a finished product with precision and detail. Investing in the prototype process with CNC machining reduces the risk of time-consuming and costly mistakes.

Likewise, CNC is a viable option for many lower volume production projects. Depending on the geometry and material, whether a customer needs 100 or 1,000 units, CNC machining may be an excellent option as it eliminates the need for upfront tooling and molds due to its “on-demand” manufacturing methodology. Whenever a customer needs a plastic or metal prototype or multiple pieces in low volume manufacturing, CNC machining can be an outstanding process.

Enjoy Stellar Results

If you need a rapid-prototyped part or component, our team at JouleHub can help. As a leader in the industry, we maintain state-of-the-art CNC machines and have a dedicated team of professionals eager to assist you. Visit our website or call for more information.

What is Research & Development?

Research and Development is a term thrown around a lot in business environments, but many people don’t completely understand it. Research and Development means exactly what it says. It the first step in creating new products or improving old ones. This is where businesses research and discover what is needed to make their products. This is where they develop a plan to move forward with their products and improvements. When written out, Research and Development sounds like a pretty big part of a business’ creative process but many businesses cut costs by cutting out this step completely.

When businesses do this, they often find themselves regretting this decision. If a businesses doesn’t have the time, funds, or materials for Research and Development, it is highly recommended that they outsource this step for the sake of their products and customers.

Here at JOULEHUB, we offer the Research and Development your business needs. We are here to help your business succeed. We have a fully equipped laboratory ready to put your products to the test. Most of the time, we find that our clients’ biggest concern with Research and Development is their lack of equipment. They cannot perform the tests they need to themselves, so they reach out to us! We have everything needed to run tests and get results that tell you what you need to know about your products.

We also help out businesses that don’t have enough time or staff to perform these tests to the best of their abilities. Lack of time and man power can lead to rushed, botched tests and inaccurate results. That is just as bad as skipping Research and Development all together.

Don’t let time, equipment, or money keep your business from flourishing. You deserve better than products that fall flat because you didn’t spend enough time researching your options and testing them before putting them on the market. Do yourself a favour and contact us here at JOULEHUB to discuss your Research and Development needs today.

JouleHub is born!

Welcome to JOULEHUB and first of all thanks for connecting with us.

Today we want to introduce the basic principles and the idea behind JOULEHUB but before we do, we would like to answer the most common question:

What is the meaning of the name JOULEHUB?


Joule stands for the unit of energy named after James Prescott Joule.

Hub simply stands for network or environment, which is usually used for locations with many innovations.

JOULEHUB is a place where energy is shared with people.

And now the main question remains: What is JOULEHUB?

JOULEHUB is a laboratory, located in Lucerne e in Switzerland, where people and companies work together on creating projects in the field of electronics and prototypes.

It is meant as a training and exchange environment for different technologies. JOULEHUB’s basic principles are:

  1. Innovation: in JOULEHUB we have work on many innovative projects.
  2. Information exchange: The information, patents and projects will be shared to be available to all and to enrich each other’s work.
  3. Training: With JOULEHUB’s people,you can build and enlarge your know-how to improve your knowledge

Our main idea is based on the principle to give all companies the possibility to outsource their ‘research & development’ departments, avoiding any business risks.

Like we said before, there are some bigger projects which we are working on already:

  1. The ‘World Solar Challenge’
  2. ‘Formula-E’, we want to create the first team composed not only by experts but also by students.

Now that’s just the beginning of it all and a small part of what JOULEHUB is looking to accomplish.To be continued…