Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Engineers will surprise you if you give them a good tool and let them see what it can do. That's something of the subtext of today's Check It Out write-up and, for that matter (as well as shamelessly self-promotional), something of the subtext of everything DE has been about since its first issue 15 years ago.
A lot is going on in this two-page PDF about British automotive and design outfit Gordon Murray Design. First, there's a reference to the “iStream” assembly process. You might know it, but I've got some research to do, since it was named Autocar Idea of the Year 2008. Anyway, iStream is a simplified assembly process that gets you a plant that's 20% the size of a conventional plant yet flexible enough so that you can build two car styles simultaneously.
Next, the bosses installed a Fortus 400mc additive manufacturing in the company's Prototype Workshop. Initially, the idea here was to protect intellectual property by iterating designs in house, exercise greater control over design processes, and slash outsourcing costs. The usual boss thing.
And that part all worked, but then the engineers at Gordon Murray Design started doing what engineers do best: They took the Fortus system and used it in an unanticipated way to solve – inexpensively – a gnarly problem that woud have cost a fortune to fix if they had stuck to engineering traditions.
Unanticipated ways of engineering and designing things seem to be the norm at Gordon Murray Design, which brings us to the final big thing in this little paper: The T.25 eco vehicle for tooling around cities. Sounds like a nifty little buggy. You can get three of them into a typical curbside parking space if you back them in. During the course of the T.25's development, engineers figured out ways to use the Fortus 400mc for production parts such as the instrument panel as well as using it as a prototyping design tool.
The metatags I'd use to index this paper for the benefit of web search engines would be things like rapid manufacturing, rapid prototyping, mold design, ROI, and so forth. But the one keyword that really fits it is actually a phrase: Expect the unexpected from engineers given a good tool. Hit the link over there and take two minutes to see what I mean.
Thanks, pal. -- Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
Check Out How Gordon Murray Design Uses Their Fortus 400mc.