Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Product design goes online

An exciting online system can enable companies to design and manufacture better products. This will in turn help to differentiate European products from others that are making their way to the market.
Product design goes online
Innovation is the key to business success. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the industrial sector dream of producing more innovative, better-designed products that reach the market more quickly. The EU-funded project 'Knowledge-based intelligent design assistant' (Assist) aimed to respond to this need through cutting-edge, high-tech knowledge management.

Assist developed smart online software that could decrease both product design and time to market of new products by at least 15 %. The whole design and fine-tuning process could be reduced by 25 %, while environmental impact of the product design could also be reduced by the same amount.

In addition, the project sought to increase innovative ideas that stemmed from different stakeholders – such as customers, employees or suppliers – by at least 35 %. This would shorten the time to implement creative ideas and result in more innovations reaching the market more quickly.

This web-based system represents a growing knowledge base involving product design requirements, conceptual designs, usage reports and other key data. It features a smart user interface that works in different contexts and considers each business's needs.

Assist's software also boasts knowledge management tools to search for useful information and to facilitate construction and refining of designs in the product's early phases. It can incorporate pre-existing designs or drawings as well.

After developing the software, the project looked at how to involve trade associations in order to help SMEs validate their final results. The software has already found its way to numerous SMEs in different fields, upgrading SMEs in various sectors such as manufacturing, automotive and engineering. This will keep European SMEs a step ahead of the rest.

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