Original Publication Date: September 30, 2021
As a manufacturer of precision components for more than 40 years, Hirsh Precision has worked with innovative Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers for a wide array of applications, from blood cell separation systems in medical equipment to water purity measurement in semiconductor production facilities. Today, we are also supporting innovative customers for their orbital space vehicles and launch systems.
The innovation Hirsh is witnessing today is happening at a much higher pace than it was in the past, and some customers have several design solutions tested out in parallel at the same time, rather than taking them through a prototype to production phase that typically took 1-2 years.
As a result, traditional manufacturing practices are no longer sufficient to answer the new pace of innovation’s needs.
Pace of Innovation in the Past
Fifteen years ago, we saw a customer’s product innovation as the Design of Experiments (DOEs) in series. First, engineers conceptualized a new design. An engineer ordered several prototype parts and tested out the Form, Fit, and Function over a period of 6 to 12 months.
Following some design changes, the engineer then ordered several small lot parts for final design verifications and New Product Introduction (NPI) process qualifications in the next 12 to 18 months.
Finally, the new product was released for volume production after 18 to 24 months. The designs and the innovative processes
Engineers following a Higher Pace of Innovation
Today, we are seeing customer conduct DOEs in parallel tracks with purposefully design variants for real-time & competing designs’ viability and optimization.
Design engineers will order engineering parts in the quantity of 30s or 50s for several design variants all at the same time and expect to receive the engineering parts in 4 weeks or sooner.
Next, the design engineers will select the optimized design out of several design variants and order a small lot for NPI within 6 weeks after receiving the initial engineering parts. The product will be released into production in 10 weeks or less.
Hirsh Precision’s 3-Track Manufacturing System
Fifteen years ago, the design and production innovation process took approximately 12 to 18 months, but now, that same process will take place in 10 weeks or less. In addition, the design iteration paradigm has shifted from the series of DOEs over several months to parallel DOEs in weeks today.
As a manufacturing solutions partner, Hirsh Precision can no longer support our customers’ new, higher pace of innovation by relying on a traditional manufacturing timeline. In the past, we have accepted orders of both engineering and production parts from several customers and queued up their orders on a one-production track system on a first come-first served basis. In short, this process is no longer suitable for our team, or any precision manufacturer.
Our solution to this problem? Hirsh Precision has developed a 3-track manufacturing system that will allow us to be an agile, solution-driven industrial partner.
Fast-Track Work Center
Track One – think of this as our Racetrack Model – is a dedicated work center that’s staffed with highly experienced engineers and equipped with versatile machines that are used exclusively to produce and ship engineering parts in 4 weeks or less.
Track Two is designed for scheduled and planned production for NPI smaller lots that span several work centers – more of a standard freight train line for on-time, on-quality delivery rather than a racetrack-style production line.
Scalable Automated Production
Track Three is a fully automated, 24-7, lights-out production solution that’s designed to produce repeat parts on a weekly and/or monthly shipment schedules. This solution allows us to reduce set-ups and eliminate non-productive time.
Through our own manufacturing solution paradigm change, Hirsh Precision can now support a wide array of customers from medical, to scientific instruments, and to orbital spacecrafts and launch systems with speed and efficiency.
As the pace of innovation continues to evolve and streamline, Hirsh Precision continues to be your reliable and dependable manufacturing partner.