Pre-design – The Cornerstone of an Industrial Machine and Automation Solution
Pre-design is a key part of the design process for a mechanical engineering and automation solution. The main goal of pre-design is to produce a reliable, high-quality proposal to solve the customer’s problem and improve the company’s productivity.
Before designing the machine, assembly or production cell itself, it is important to map out the profitability of the investment and the options for implementing it. A carefully preplanned total solution prevents the need for changes during a normal project, which, when implemented, also entails significant additional costs.
Pre-design provides added value
Separate pre-design is an increasingly sought-after service because it benefits the customer.
If a company’s call for tenders is answered only with rough technical data and a rough budget, the main focus is often on the total cost of implementing the investment.
However, the total cost does not tell you what the customer will actually get and how he will benefit from the investment. A superficial offer made on a fast schedule may divert the thoughts of both the customer and the service provider from implementing the plan to the wrong paths.
High-quality pre-design inspires confidence…
For this reason, a separate pre-design should be considered to limit the investment uncertainties to a minimum, and the main focus will be on the technical implementation of the solution and the benefits to be derived from it.
For example, Metecno’s own MetePRE® pre-design is a tool that enables a company to form a strong, informed view of whether it is in the company’s best interests to complete or even abandon a project.
… And provides a lot of information
Sometimes, already at the pre-design stage, it is noticed that the features desired from the solution cannot be implemented in practice within the desired budget.
In this case, it is appropriate to postpone the investment or to plan it on a new basis. On the other hand, pre-design most often reinforces preconceptions and provides certainty for starting an investment project. High-quality pre-design, which provides accurate technical data and a fixed budget for investment, takes time, but in return gives the company the most useful information.
Pre-design is able to answer user requirements and other detailed questions by the customers. Among other things, the main features of the machine and, if necessary, a breakdown of the cost of implementing a feature, interface data, a finished layout image of the solution and, for example, calculations of production efficiency are typical, accurate data preplanning provides.
Preliminary design provides concreteness
In practice, 3D modeling is an important tool for high-quality pre-design.
It concretises the designer’s thinking and the customer sees the solution they need with their own eyes. Preliminary in-depth discussions with the customer also play an important role in guiding design in the right direction: what the company needs, what kind of production environment the machine operates in, what options are expected from automation in the future, or what kind of payback period is required for the investment. If necessary, during the pre, a device will be built to test the planned solution.
Detailed calculations of component and labor costs complement the pre-design and allow comparison of different options. The resulting pre-design offer to the customer, with a precise delivery time and a fixed price, also gives the perspective to look at competing offers B and C more critically. Do they take into account the findings made by service provider A in the pre-design, at what level of cost and with what reservations?
Pre-design challenges the service provider
The company can also use pre-planning as a measure of service.
Among other criteria, it is also one way to evaluate the service provider – how has the design process been taken forward and does the end result meet the set quality criteria? A well-done pre-design gives a strong indication that the service provider is also able to provide a high-quality implementation of the solution.