Invite to a workshop: find better ways to improve testing in product development and manufacturing

The Open University

21st March 2022

We would like to invite you to a workshop if you are involved in product design, verification and validation, testing (virtual and physical), and systems engineering in automotive, aerospace, software, and other manufacturing industries.

How do companies plan and manage testing activities that provide the optimum balance of quality assurance versus cost and time, when there are uncertainties around the new technology and where the standard process and years of experience are not available? If this is a question that you are seeking the answer to then please come and join us. In collaboration with you, we aim to develop a systematic framework of testing processes in new product development, aiming to digitalise the testing process in the future.

The workshop will be a valuable platform to compare current practices and for participants to network, collaborate and learn from each other. The aim is to gather a more comprehensive understanding of the current practice, identify current challenges, and co-create solutions that benefit both you and academic research.

Workshop participants will have first access to all the research developed in the project, such as tools, methods or frameworks developed in this research. There is also the opportunity to participate in future case studies, provide feedback on the research direction, and work with our researchers to find optimal solutions in your testing and manufacturing process.

We plan to conduct the workshop early May. If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Khadija.tahera@open.ac.uk.

Background of the research and the researcher:

Currently, manufacturing industries are going through radical changes as they are developing new technologies to meet the low carbon and sustainability targets. Physical testing plays a significant role in assessing technology readiness levels (TRL) and in new product development for quality assurance. Hence, the need for physical testing is only increasing. For example, the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy highlights the need for enhanced testing across different uses and stages of new technologies, including low carbon hydrogen production and heat recovery.

A complex product with many components and subsystems such as an engine, car, aircraft or a ventilator is tested physically and virtually at different stages of product development, from concept development to final validation. For incrementally developed products, testing is focused on the changes and mostly on verification and validation, but for the radically new product, testing plays other significant roles such as exploration, experimentation, learning, demonstration, and refinement when new technologies are introduced into the product (i.e. from TRL Level 4 onwards).

Testing could count up to 30 to 50 per cent of the total development cost in the automotive and aerospace industries. Therefore there is an industrial trend of approaching testing differently from the past to cut costs to speed up the development process, still fostering the learning benefits of the physical testing activity. A critical trade-off is how much testing can be reduced without compromising the quality, especially for radical emerging technologies requiring comprehensive testing. Therefore, a pragmatic method of supporting testing strategies of new product development is needed.

The researcher has experience in successful collaborations with the automotive and aerospace manufacturing industries, improving the testing processes in engineering product design and manufacturing to establish best practices. The expertise include the investigation of the role of testing in engineering, and development of methods that improves physical and virtual testing in engineering design and manufacturing through modelling and simulation.

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