Many machine and plant engineering companies are still using Office software to manage the early phases of product development. The problem is that while the product design process is handled by tried and tested computer-aided technologies, the work done in the conceptual phase is difficult to evaluate or replicate. Yet this is when critical decisions are made, which have huge financial implications.25 Feb 2020
So far it has not been possible to envisage all the different product variants at this stage of the development process. Dr. Sandra Szech and Dr. Thomas Gumpinger von Odego plan to change all that. They began researching the issue of modularization in 2009 at the Technical University of Hamburg. In due course they decided to put theory into commercial practice, establishing a business in the city based on their research. The result is the software Odego Cquenz. Its creators know their market, and what it wants. The agility to respond quickly to changing market needs. The ability to configure product variants effortlessly, instead of developing them laboriously over a long period of time. And the power to deliver in the shortest possible time. These are key goals for many engineering firms. But achieving them is often difficult. “A sprawling mass of data records, as well as decentralized and often implicit knowledge about products, processes and relationships, means that developing a modular system is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” says Szech. In addition, decisions based on these imponderables, arrived at after protracted deliberation, soon cease to be relevant in our rapidly changing market landscape.
The cloud-based software from Hamburg enables businesses to digitize the early phase of product concept development. Interdisciplinary teams can collaborate to define the portfolio, construct the product architecture and develop a modular system. “We offer our clients an alternative to the Powerpoint/Excel-based engineering traditionally used to develop the product concept,” explains Dr. Sandra Szech. The implicit knowledge of the developers can thus be tapped and harnessed digitally. The software platform is capable of displaying product families with many millions of variants. “This is where all conventional tools come up against their own limitations,” adds the company’s proud co-founder.
Industrial users input all the elements of their modular system into the Cquenz program, including requirements, components, functions, interfaces, number of units and modules, together with their relevant interconnections. They then explore the various scenarios interactively in visualizations. So industrial clients can design their modular product system from a variety of different perspectives.
Thomas Gumpinger is the creative brains behind the technological development of Cquenz. Sandra Szech, with her extensive knowledge of the industry, is responsible for implementation in the manufacturing sector. The pair made their debut at HANNOVER MESSE in 2019, and were very pleased with the response they got from visitors. Their client list now includes big names like Bosch, hidden champions such as Achenbach Buschhütten, and global players like Jungheinrich. The big breakthrough came in June 2019 at the Smart Variant Con in Berlin when Siemens promoted Cquenz as the state-of-the-art tool for developing product concepts.
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