Keywords: design process materials industries, problem solving, process industries, process innovation, product development
Problem solving in product development: a model for the advanced materials industries
Problem solving has been identified as a key aspect of product development. Yet, existing descriptive models of problem solving in product development are derived from experience in traditional fabrication and assembly-based industries. This paper examines the sequence of problem solving activities in the advanced materials industries. As opposed to the paradigm of product development seen in industries based on traditional metal fabrication and assembly production technology, development activities in advanced materials industries are focused around a core effort in process development. The paper characterises the steps of design and the associated testing patterns in the advanced materials industries. The model formalises the emphasis on process design and process experimentation, providing a richer description of the problem-solving sequence than the traditional design-build-test sequence so common in the fabrication/assembly industries.