Improved RFQ Process by Optimization Technique 2004-01-1155
Multi-piece propshaft design during a customer's request for quote (RFQ) process has proven to be a great challenge for supplier engineers. This challenge requires a good balance of design quality and fast response time in order to meet customer expectations. Failing to do so may lead to either increased development cost due to late design changes or loss of the opportunity resulting from missed deadlines or a lack of design definition. After receiving all of the customer's requirements, the iterative design process normally takes a minimum of one to two weeks. During this period, supplier engineers must perform many trade-off analyses by adjusting more than one dozen design variables to satisfy various design criteria. Typically, this is accomplished by manually adjusting design variables to search for an acceptable design using tools such as Microsoft Excel. Very often, engineers are required to make design decisions based upon limited trade-off analyses due to very stringent time constraints. Using iSight software, the propshaft design optimization was performed in a compressed period of time. The optimization process included design variable mapping in Microsoft Excel sheets, problem formulation, and optimization algorithm selection. The optimization process significantly improved both up-front design quality and design process efficiency. It has led to better customer satisfaction and faster engineering competency during the RFQ process. Results have shown success in multi-piece propshaft design optimization, as well as increased opportunities for implementation of quality engineering methodology during the streamlined design process.