Acorn Product Development



It takes a healthy and robust ecosystem and supporting process to developing manufacturable products

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Successful product development, as defined by creating products that are manufacturable, is a team effort, and in general the more complex/leading edge the product is, the more important it is to have an extensive ecosystem of suppliers and specialists available to assist with the development. 
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Bridging the gap between technology and products

Saturday, December 23, 2017

There is a tremendous amount of innovation taking place in the medical/laboratory instrument market segment over the past several years, ranging from desktop laboratory instruments to remote health monitoring devices to lower cost/less invasive diagnostic tools. 
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Product Development Outlook for 2018

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

As we close out the year and look forward to 2018, we see a number of trends and developments in technology and business that will have a significant impact on product design. 
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Robotics and Healthcare

Friday, October 20, 2017

When people think of the application of robotics, they often think about warehouses or manufacturing lines, where they automate a number of processes around moving boxes from the shelves to the loading dock. 
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2017 Robobusiness Santa Clara Blog

Friday, October 06, 2017

We’re back from the RoboBusiness Conference, which was held in Santa Clara at the end of September. This year’s conference was well attended and featured many well known speakers from leading technology companies and organizations, including Accenture, DHL, GE, Intel, NASA, Nvidia, Stanford University, and Xerox PARC. This years theme focused on the adoption and application of robotics from a business and operational perspective. It also focused on the growing importance and new directions of artificial intelligence (AI) for robotics. 
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Acorn Blog – Robotics Design – defining requirements

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

As we discussed in an earlier blog, a detailed set of requirements is key to any successful product development effort. In the case of developing a robotics system, this is especially important as these systems tend to be dynamic systems (i.e., they involve motion) and may be used in a wide variety of environments. Understanding and defining the operational requirements and boundaries of the robot is critical both to the design and ultimately to customer satisfaction (setting proper customer expectations). And if your business model is to sell the robots as a service, designing the robot(s) to satisfy a potentially wide range of customers and their (potentially) unique requirements will be critical to expanding your customer base. 
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Designing robots for adoptability

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

In our last blog we discussed some of the key aspects in defining requirements for designing a robot – in this week’s blog, we’re going to dig a bit deeper into this topic by focusing on how customers will adopt and use the robot in their work (aka, “use models” and “use cases”). Having clear, well defined use models is critical to the success of any product development effort. Our intent here is to provide a framework to build upon in developing your use cases. 
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Work your supply chain as early as possible

Saturday, August 19, 2017

In the early 1980’s, Ford embarked on developing a new car by utilizing a different development process on order to develop a product that had more universal appeal and was more easily manufactured. The process involved early and frequent communication with customers on the design of the car, but also incorporated a new concept (which seems obvious in retrospect) – teamwork. By assembling a team of designers, manufacturing engineers, and marketing/sales people that worked together from the very beginning of the development (vs. the more traditional approach where engineering “throws the design over the wall to manufacturing”), Ford was blazing a trail for the way cars would be designed and put into manufacturing that is still employed today by many if not all of the world’s top auto manufacturers. 
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Designing a product for manufacturability – it starts with a set of requirements

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Designing a product for manufacturability (DFM) is generally part of an overall design methodology/process that generally involves reviews, assessments, risk identification, etc.. Whether you’re implementing a phase gate, Agile, or most likely some hybrid type of process, DFM should be part of the process (not something that is tacked on at the end). 
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DFM and DFA – The Key Words Are “Design For”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In a previous blog we talked about the definitions of DFM and DFA (note that there are other “DFx” acronyms as well – Quality, Reliability, and Service are 3 others that are used). The implementation of a DFM/DFA approach to design can have a significant impact on the overall development cost, as well as timeline for getting a design into production. And while DFM/DFA analysis can be done after the design is “completed”, it is far from the optimum approach from either a cost or time perspective. 
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