MAN’s wide and varied range of engineering capabilities and design expertise provides the perfect ingredients for companies and inventors looking to bring new products to market.
MAN can get involved in the early stages of an idea or pick up a design and manufacture it in the most cost-effective way possible, often succeeding where other companies have failed.
Customers can use one, two, three or all Manufacturing Assembly Network members depending on the scale of the brief and, the real beauty of what the group offer, is that it can add in new specialisms when required.
This means clients can access electronics, pressings, CNC machining, casting, injection moulding, forgings, and a host of world class assembly lines – all overseen by Grove Design, one of the UK’s leading engineering design agencies.
A shared discipline throughout its membership is the ability to provide added value at the earliest phases of design. Whether that’s a stamped part that fits in the palm of your hand, or a large machine housing complex electronics, the breadth at which the MAN Group offer design optimisation, guidance and DFM capabilities is truly unique.
Listertube is a tube bending and manipulation manufacturer, and one such member of the group working closely with customers at early design stages. The company has recently released several design guides that help customers and prospects minimise cost and lead times.
Often, even the most competent of designers are not fully aware of exactly how tube bending machines work and hence their capabilities and limitations. To combat the issue of receiving quotation requests where meeting design requirements of the tube component was extremely complex, Listertube decided that the best approach was to start educating early. Complex tube designs may limit it to certain bending machines, involve special tooling, require making it in multiple parts and joining it, or even necessitate hand bending fixtures. All of these, of course, have a large impact on the cost and severely limit sourcing choices. The resources therefore consider guidelines that ensure any tube component specification is optimised for production without compromising the functionality needed.
Listertube design guides can be downloaded for free at the following links:
Launched just last year, the Brandauer Innovative Solution Centre (BISC) is a structured approach to consultation with a dedicated hierarchy of tiered and affordable support. A diverse set of in-house skills, necessary to capture a wide variety of potential metal stamping and tooling projects assists with very specific needs, uncovering cost and time savings, engineering efficiencies and process optimisation opportunities.
Brandauer recently used the service to target the rail industry and rolling stock and infrastructure specialists on projects that are aiming to take the weight out of their parts. A 15-strong engineering team has been set-up as part of the service to the sector to provide a full design and manufacturing service, collaborating with the client from early-stage development, and giving them access to feasibility studies and prototyping to prove-out the component, to the manufacture of precision tooling and high-volume production.
This all-round consultation approach is already proving extremely popular, with a number of new opportunities secured, including a small carbon steel pierced cup that acts as an energy recovery device for use in rolling stock.
Servitization is a big area of potential for Alucast, where customers can access individual services that the aluminium castings business can offer, such as casting simulation and heat treatment, to solve specific production issues or to ensure quality compliance.
The service helped the foundry bounce back from the pandemic after sealing wins with major carmakers. Customers now benefit from a single source castings service, including the ability to provide simulation, casting, machining, and the latest testing facilities.
Last year, the later had significant investment of over £200,000 into creating a specialist Dye Penetrant offer, which is a form of non-destructive testing used to access structural vehicle components and other parts for cracks.
Alucast recognised that customers are always looking for faster production times and ‘right first time’ quality so investments such as this go a long way to helping customers get products to market faster. What the process means to those customers is that they don’t lose time, or experience the additional costs that arise when a faulty part is sent out for secondary processes.
Grove Design offers a dedicated multi-disciplinary design office that can work from concept through to definition for manufacture.
A state-of-the-art studio combines the latest 3D CAD modelling and analysis with significant production experience to deliver solutions that include vehicle drivetrains, special purpose machinery, processing plants and assistance with new product development.
Initial concept, virtual design prototypes, CAE simulation and testing to full scale pre-production model capabilities mean that Grove Design’s comprehensive design and testing service allows for reduced time to market – An important factor for start-ups and established businesses alike to make the most of their window of opportunity and gain serious competitive advantage.
Prototyping and workshop facilities (large enough to need an overhead crane) set Grove apart in their ability to refine designs and properly consider design for manufacture issues. Grove was also the leading force behind the MAN Group’s very first product: The manKIND Visor.
Protecting frontline workers against the threat of Covid-19 was the catalyst for each member of the MAN Group to come together and collaborate to launch a new product.
The group invested more than £30,000 into the design and manufacture of the manKIND Visor, an easy to assemble and reusable visor that was proven to be more comfortable than the solutions that were originally available.
Backed by expertise from the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), the collective took just six weeks from initial concept and prototyping to create a bespoke tool at Barkley Plastics able to produce 500,000 units every year.
Grove Design initially started 3D printing and distributing a few visors to help the NHS, but quickly realised that they needed a more robust production method to keep up with demand. That’s where the expertise of each group member played a significant role, particularly by tapping into the group’s supply chain capability for sourcing the right materials and distribution.
lightweight, easy to assemble with a push clip feature, suitable for repeated use, can be easily cleaned (the headband can even be put in a dishwasher) and includes a full peak for better protection – The visor was a stand-out solution for the increasingly saturated market.
The manKIND Visor story is a great example of the MAN Group’s ability to pool resource and expertise and bring a new product to market at speed.
Whilst MAN Group provide a single source engineering solution, it’s also a model that customers can access via a modular approach. Whichever combination of services, capabilities, and experts are required for any given engineering project, MAN has a solution where very few, if any can compete.