Experience is a new modern hype. You can see it everywhere these days. User experience, selling experience, learning experience, total experience, etc. You can continue the list… I want to talk about “product experience” today. This is obvious and new at the same time. Manufacturers are interested to know more about their products. It related to sales, usage, problem reports and defects, maintenance, etc. It becomes almost obvious – the more information you get about usage of your product during whole product cycle – the better you can do. I like old, but famous quote by W. Edwards Deming – “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
An interesting article by SolidSmack caught my attention earlier today – InfraStructs: Embedded ID Tags in 3D Printed Objects Eliminate Need for RFID and Barcodes. The article speaks about how to embed the information in 3D printed objects:
California event is the announcement from Microsoft Research that they are developing embedded ID tags for 3D printed objects. Titled InfraStructs, the internal tags are created from the same 3D printing process already used to create the intended, printed object; effectively generating an internal, invisible tag that can be read with a terahertz (THz) imaging scanner.
How manufacturers will use and why PLM vendors will benefit is? The premise of existing RFID technology is to use a specific tag that must be attached to product that will allow to tag manufacturing items, spare parts during whole lifecycle. The idea was good, but the implementation is a bit complicated and still costly. By direct embedding of additional information manufacturing can achieve the next level of efficiency. Here is another passage from the article.
Ultimately, the benefit of this approach for manufacturers is that they can embed unique information such as serial numbers or simple programs in coded tags by integrating the design into a pre-determined 3D printed design. In turn, this eliminates the potential need for other (and oftentimes more expensive) identification systems such a RFID tags and electronic chips that can add cost and complexity to the manufacturing, as well as the need for bar codes which can be cumbersome to work with and are vulnerable to tampering.
What is my conclusion? We are moving towards connected world, where design and engineering parts will be more connected to their physical implementations. It will allow better measurement of product experience and, as a result -better product lifecycle management. Just my thought…