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There are many product businesses that suffer from spending too much money on products or projects, because they either don’t have the expertise or don’t have enough time to complete the projects efficiently. It is, therefore, possible to benefit from the help of engineering consulting firms. These firms can provide a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer or materials engineer, or an interdisciplinary engineering team, to ensure that the work gets done efficiently and on time. This then helps the product company to get their products to the marketplace faster and save money in the process.
Every product based business has only has a finite amount of engineers, resources and time. It can be very frustrating when the engineers, especially a small team, are being pulled in different directions to work on various types of technology: medical devices, PCB and circuit design, materials compatibility, thermal analysis, packaging, plastics design, finite element analysis … when they have their hands in too many projects it can be a very inefficient use of time because they aren’t dedicating enough time to a single project, and may not be proficient in disparate areas.
It is often easier to hire an engineering consulting firm to assist. This way, the in-house engineers can hand over some of the aspects to the job to specialty engineers. By doing this, the product company can ensure that the product get released or the job gets done in a timely manner. They can also save a tremendous amount of money because they aren’t paying their engineers to work on it which can take extra amounts of time if they aren’t familiar with that particular field of engineering.
A materials engineer can help by offering their knowledge with various types of metals, insulators, high temperature materials, composites, nano-layers, cryo-materials, or plastics in order to ensure that the medical device or other project is as light (or as heavy) as it should be. They can also assist to ensure that the device reliably lasts as long as it was intended to serve. These are highly specialized engineers and can save a firm a lot of time and money by offering their expertise only when needed Furthermore, a materials engineer can help with process development, specifying precursors and chemical suppliers, evaluating emissions for EPA compliance or chemical content.
A mechanical engineer can ensure that the devices and projects function as they should. While there may already be engineers on staff that offer this, engineering consulting firms can find a mechanical engineer that has a focus specifically on what is needed, regardless of whether it’s packaging, cabling or any type of other mechanics to ensure that the device functions properly when complete.
An optical engineer can help assure that the lithography used in the manufacturing process is of adequate precision and registration. The optical engineer can also make sure that the company is using the latest in technology to their advantage: roll to roll processing, nano-printing, backlighting, or laser patterning. Selection of the appropriate technology often requires a very experienced engineer. A good technology selection at the beginning of the project sets the stage for competitive advantage, cost control, and quality.
The consulting firms can also provide an electrical engineer to be able to properly power the device. Whether it’s being plugged in, using solar power, batteries or any other type of source to provide power to it there are electrical engineers that can provide a lot of assistance because of their detailed knowledge. Perhaps the device needs FCC compliance, or testing lab certification. The original design needs to take these requirements into account. An engineer experienced in these matters can make sure that the inherent design is consistent with the regulatory requirements.
Lastly, the product company may be looking for a team of engineers to help with a product or project. It is economical to bring in an “extra” team of engineers only as needed, rather than keeping them on staff. The engineering consulting firm can provide a team that is well suited for the tasks and ready to start immediately, minimizing the time that their staff needs to bring the extra team up to speed. The costs of extra infrastructure, software licenses, CAD seats … is avoided by using a team from an engineering consulting firm. Also, it is also easier to assign responsibility for success to a team than to isolated consultants.
Some product companies have little or no in house engineering, and rely upon their contract manufacturers to help them design products. This is risky and without oversight, and potentially a conflict of interest; a contract manufacturer is motivated to maximize their profits, not the product company’s profits. It is better to have an engineering consulting firm design the products for a number of reasons. First, the engineering firm should be familiar with good design practices, engineering codes and standards, and have more experience with design. Also, the engineering firm can help the product company keep the contract manufacturer in check.
Whether a product company looking for assistance has engineers on staff or not, a consulting engineering firm can provide the most specific experience for the job and immediate increase in manpower without long term commitment and capital expenses. The quicker a job is completed, the more a company can save money, and generate revenue from the product. When the job is completed efficiently and quickly, the time to market is reduced, which is generally a desirable outcome.