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Leading edge technology or bleeding-edge new material technology?

Posted By Brian Wright, Friday, November 10, 2017


As a Certified Estimator, Mechanical Engineer, and a Senior Project Manager with 33 years of experience, I am often requested to evaluate new material technology. The criteria expected are normally the new products expected lifespan, a hopeful payback in under 2 years for a premium cost and or cost additions for that new technology that gives the client a superior product, and/or a competitive edge.

One assignment that I was appointed to for several years that provided me with a unique design process insight was an Automobile proving ground.  We would work with cutting edge engineers who designed new components and also entire cars and then run the component and vehicles through a 100,000-mile test to proof the concept.  Normally that brought light on an area that needed refinement, and then another 100,000-mile test was completed to proof that change.  After running the vehicles and components through 2 million miles of iterative product improvement and testing, it was ready for production.

When I see a new product, the first thing I now search for is the field test that proofs the designer’s concept.  No matter how well thought out the Engineers design is, a field test will proof that concept. In most cases, a successful field run exists; and in some cases, it is still in the concept stages and little data exists.

I am usually either surprised that the new product has an amazing amount of successful data and has not received wide public acceptance by A&E firms or the other end of the spectrum, with little to no testing is completed. In hind-site, a field test may have missed the required criteria to proof the product for this clients intended use as well.

With the extensive knowledge a Certified Estimator brings to the initial conceptual A&E design meeting for any project, the value of that level of information we bring to the Design team in choosing materials that perform at an agreed cost and what that cost is, is priceless.  Have you decided to onboard a CPE to your design team?

Brian Wright
Education Committee Chairman

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Richard Miller says...
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2017
Brian it is so important when evaluating materials that one understands the issues with the practical side of application. We have all seen the sizzle of a promising product only to learn of issues with the installation or the lack of certified installers.
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