School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering

20/11/2018 - 21:20

University of Queensland researchers have developed a suite of new tools to help smaller businesses streamline their product portfolio and achieve their advanced manufacturing goals.

UQ partnered with material handling company Cascade Australia to digitize their product design process, with the ultimate aim to automate the process and develop a new product line to conquer international market share. 

UQ Senior Lecturer Dr Michael Heitzmann said the improved design would make it easier to transfer knowledge and information between sites and on to the next generation of engineers.

“Through this new design process, a new product design can be generated for the customer with the click of a button based on the customer requirements,” he said.

“This provides instant feedback to the customer, reduces design time and facilitates the automation of the manufacturing process.”

Dr Heitzmann and his team worked in close collaboration with Cascade Australia and Cascade Corporation team members in Brisbane and the US, to develop the new digital design tool.

“We performed extensive surveys together with Cascade Australia to establish the voice of customer and identify design improvements,” he said.

“From there we were able to develop a configurator tool which captures the key product parameters and design rules.

“This configurator drives the computer aided design (CAD) and finite element analysis (FEA) which generate and validate the final design.”

The tool was unveiled at Cascade’s inaugural global sales summit, during the visit at The Univeristy of Queensland this week.

General Manager Michael Slobe said Cascade Australia is proud to be partnering with UQ on this project.

“We are excited to tap into the great minds and capacity that the university have to offer,” he said. 

“So far the team have grasped the scope and jumped into the project without hesitation.”

“We look forward to sharing with our customers the exciting progress we have been making on the project that will benefit them in the future.”

The project is supported by an Innovation Connections grant as part of the Australian Government's Entrepreneurs' Programme, in partnership with Cascade and The University of Queensland.

Media: UQ Communications, Paige Ashby, p.ashby@uq.edu.au, 3365 8525