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Design for Manufacture - how easy is this to do in today's workplace?

Apr 20, 2015

Designs on a whiteboard“The role of the industrial designer in manufacturing is a familiar one to many, but the relationship between designer and engineer is often fraught with misunderstandings that can throw a project off course,” reports Plastic News in their write up of the conference.

Often, as the designer, material selection and process are considered to be ‘off limits’ as that is the engineer’s job. Likewise, engineers are often unable to make suggestions for change to the design as that is the role of the designer.

The result? Potentially a design that ends up being completely unsuitable for the process.

Augusto Picozza, director of industrial design at Jarden Consumer Solutions, said at the conference, “a good designer can wear multiple hats, understanding engineering, manufacturing and the end market.”

At Plunkett Associates we completely agree. We combine expert material, tooling and production advice with design experience that works hand in hand with the customers needs.

Our Design Engineers know that formulating a design well, requires certain issues to be understood:

(a) how much time is there before the required launch date

(b) what quantities are predicted to be sold across the product life

(c) what is the target unit price and

(d) who is the customer?

CommunicationGood communication with the client is paramount. Once we have as much information as possible, we can translate the idea into a product – designing to suit the manufacturing process from the outset.

Strong links and discussions with our suppliers early on are just as important. Their expertise and knowledge of their specialist fields can be extremely valuable in formulating the best solution for part design.

We’re not saying it’s all plain sailing or even easy, but we have been doing this now for 10 years and have a great track record to prove it!Success

The secret? We enjoy doing what we do and that helps us become better at it! We work as a team, with designers and engineers using each other’s strengths and can often be seen in lengthy discussions bouncing ideas off each other to work out how to get the best solution for a client. 

So the key for anyone involved in trying to get a product to manufacture – it’s really not rocket science. In fact it’s pretty simple – just start talking…


  • Plunkett Associates worked on the design and production of titanium frames for an artificial heart valve where precision and consistency was paramount. Communications were efficient and productive with concepts readily incorporated into the final design, and suggestions for improvements all highly appropriate. The quality of the end product was ideal and I have no doubt that I will use the advice and expertise of Plunkett Associates again.
    David Wheatley, Wheatley Research Ltd
  • “Doing business with you has been an absolute pleasure. You have made my goals a reality. You have been patient, helpful and above all, responsive. Best service that I have experienced in ages. I consider Plunkett Associates to be an integral part of my business plan moving forward.”
    Jet Cooper, Sculptor
  • Thanks for the present that arrived this morning, as promised. Parts look first class, as always.
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
  • Plunketts developed a solution that met our precision requirements at a cost significantly lower than alternative manufacturing approaches we had investigated
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • Plunkett Associates have excellent breadth of experience, work with high quality partners and have a flexibility that we have found enables challenges to be met successfully, cost effectively and in a timely manner.
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • Interestingly, people who look at it in its own right with little knowledge of what it does, just like it! It’s tactile and it looks good…
    Tim Collings, Operations Director, Troika Systems Ltd
  • To create such a consistent quality finish in chrome was an amazing achievement and the prototypes really gave our stand the wow factor.
    James Clark, Group Commercial Director, The Airdri Group
  • I can’t recommend Tim and his team highly enough. We ended up with a design which can be produced and assembled quickly, efficiently and reliably, in volumes that make sense
    Simon Leggett, Director, Olivewood Technology
  • Kirintec were thrilled with Plunketts. They made a complex process simple and we were just amazed at the lead times achieved. Plus, every single deadline was met without any drama.
    Penny While, Marketing Director, Kirintec
  • Plunkett Associates truly offer a complete turnkey solution with Speed, Effectiveness and Precision.
    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
  • Thanks to Plunkett Associates flexible, bespoke and cost effective service I was able to produce the objects that I had originally had in mind.
    Simon Ryder, Artist
  • Plunkett Associates have a fantastic supply chain, work with all sorts of production processes and will always do their utmost to solve a problem.
    Naim Audio
  • We always know exactly what we’re getting and we know we won’t be let down on quality, price or lead times.
    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
  • "With their simple to understand language, willingness to go the extra mile and approachability, Plunkett Associates were a great partner for our company. We couldn’t be happier with the results of our project. (A working prototype that they got right first time, by the way). Thank you!"
    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama Ltd
  • “We use Plunkett Associates because we want someone we can trust, that knows what they’re talking about, has all the contacts, will provide reliable advice and feedback and will get the right result for us.”
    Jim Copestick. Design Manager, Thorlux Lighting
  • “Accuracy, finish and delivery all first class.”
    Andrew Peters, JMDA Ltd
  • “We were really surprised at how quickly they turned round such a high quality prototype and the parts certainly proved their worth. They were of high enough quality to provide a fantastic visual representation and to undergo rigorous testing."
    Stuart Wilson, Design Director, TRT Lighting
  • "Tim's experience, expertise and supplier base have been fundamental to us getting this project off the ground."
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd
  • Plunkett associates always find a solution. Whatever we need to prototype, they have a great grasp on the technologies available, costs and lead-times so we get the right solution tailored to the project needs. Have always delivered and never let us down.
    Naim Audio

Get in Touch with us for your Prototyping, Machining and Tooling & Moulding requirements…