Strategic Steps to More Efficient Machine Design

For many industrial equipment manufacturers, superior engineering is the secret weapon to winning market share. Companies that empower their engineers to exceed customer expectations for quality and price, while maintaining lead-time commitments, find themselves at a competitive advantage.

As designs become more complex, engineering decisions become more challenging. Unfortunately, engineers waste a significant amount of their time on non-value-added work and can struggle to find the time to identify conflicts and fully evaluate essential engineering decisions affecting quality and cost. Cost overruns and missed delivery dates are often the result.

Tech-Clarity is an independent research firm that analyzes how companies improve design, engineering, manufacturing, and more. A Tech-Clarity research study based on the responses of 228 manufacturers examines machine design practices, how engineers waste time, and best practices to avoid non-value-added work. This study reveals strategies to more efficient design, including:

  • Accessing product data from anywhere
  • Improving collaboration
  • Automating machine design tasks

Let’s take a closer look at just a few of the ways top-performing companies optimize design efficiency to speed time to market. Or, feel free to download the complete Tech-Clarity eBook How to Reduce Non-Value-Added Work in Machine Design.

Pain-free Data Access from Any Location

Many engineers find the inability to quickly find the data they need lessens their ability to innovate. The figure below shows the percentage of data management-related activities that steal significant time away from the innovation work of machine designers.

As products become more complex there is more data to manage and leverage. Worse, engineers work with outdated data 29% of the time, wasting time and risking costly errors that can multiply as products become more complex.

A cloud platform enables engineers to efficiently access needed data from wherever they are. They no longer waste time searching for or recreating data. Nearly half of machine designers identified “flexibility to access design data whenever I need it” as a top way a cloud platform improves efficiency.

With improved efficiency engineers have more time to manage complexity, balance cost and quality, and meet release dates.

Improving Collaboration

Previous Tech-Clarity research found that poor collaboration costs companies in multiple ways, significantly decreasing profits. On today’s complex products 40% of engineering time is impacted by how efficiently teams work together, and 93% of engineers agree they need to improve how they collaborate with different groups.

While there are many costs as a result of poor collaboration, poor visibility to engineering information and manual communication often result in communication delays. Engineers report that waiting for information (38%) and waiting for feedback or approvals (33%) result in wasted time that prevents getting work done.

Machine designers recognize the importance of easily sharing design details, and top performers are more likely to point to the cloud as the way to make this happen. On top of this, 55% of top performers view easier collaboration as the top way a cloud platform can improve efficiency.

Automating Machine Design Tasks

Machine designers view many tedious design tasks as bottlenecks. Unfortunately, these issues create additional work for engineers who don’t add value and make their work less satisfying. Difficulties with part and assembly structures force engineers to waste time managing data rather than designing. Further, machine designers report they spend 45% of their design time outside of CAD, preparing for manufacturing. This significant effort takes them away from innovation, improving the design, and ensuring quality.

See the figure below for ideal design automation capabilities that limit tedious work from a machine designer’s perspective. For example, automatic recognition of similar features saves time because reused changes don’t need to be done manually and individually.

Software intelligence can also save time by automating and streamlining tedious tasks, such as trimming or applying fasteners to holes and joints. It can also automate manufacturing preparation steps, such as generating cut lists.


Software apps that run on a single, integrated design collaboration platform, like those available with 3DEXPERIENCE® SOLIDWORKS or the SOLIDWORKS® Cloud Offer, make machine design as efficient as possible. All stakeholders have real-time access to all the data, both design and communication data, that is automatically captured on the cloud-based platform. Machine designers can easily access product data in real time from anywhere. Plus, you can automate machine design tasks to increase productivity.

Imagine an environment in which it is easy to communicate concerns, identify issues, and propose resolutions at any stage of the development process. Communicating product ideas is easy because all team members, from engineers to managers to executives, can participate in the design review process with 3D digital mock-ups.

Potential issues are discovered earlier in the process, so they are less costly to resolve. Designers have instant access to updates made by other contributors. This enables real-time concurrent design, enhanced decision-making, and faster design maturity—enabling you to beat the competition to market and improve the bottom line.

Download the Tech-Clarity eBook How to Reduce Non-Value-Added Work in Machine Design or contact your local reseller if you have additional questions.


Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.