IATF 16949:2016 Clause  Product design skills

In the automotive industry, product design plays a crucial role in developing innovative, safe, and high-quality vehicles and components. As per IATF (International Automotive Task Force) requirements, automotive companies should ensure that their product design teams possess a specific set of skills and competencies to meet the industry’s demanding standards. Here are some key product design skills required in the automotive industry as per IATF:

  1. Automotive Engineering Knowledge: Strong understanding of automotive engineering principles, including vehicle dynamics, powertrain systems, chassis design, materials selection, and safety standards.
  2. CAD (Computer-Aided Design) Proficiency: Proficient in using CAD software to create detailed 2D and 3D designs of automotive components and systems. CAD skills are essential for visualization, simulation, and rapid prototyping.
  3. Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA): Familiarity with DFM and DFA principles to design products that are easy to manufacture, assemble, and maintain, leading to cost-effective and efficient production.
  4. Material Selection and Knowledge: Ability to select appropriate materials based on performance requirements, durability, weight considerations, and cost-effectiveness.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: Knowledge of automotive safety and environmental regulations, such as crash test standards, emissions regulations, and compliance with international standards like ISO 26262 (Functional Safety for Road Vehicles).
  6. System Integration: Ability to integrate various automotive systems and components to ensure seamless functionality and overall vehicle performance.
  7. Modeling and Simulation: Proficiency in using computer modeling and simulation tools to analyze the performance and behavior of automotive designs under different conditions.
  8. Innovative Thinking: Creative and innovative approach to solving design challenges and developing novel automotive solutions.
  9. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Strong communication and collaboration skills to work effectively with cross-functional teams, including engineering, manufacturing, quality, and marketing.
  10. Project Management: Familiarity with project management principles to plan, execute, and monitor product design projects effectively.
  11. Safety and Reliability Considerations: Understanding of safety engineering principles and reliability analysis to design products that meet stringent safety standards and are dependable for consumers.
  12. Ergonomics and User-Centric Design: Consideration of ergonomics and user experience to create products that are user-friendly, comfortable, and convenient for end-users.
  13. Continuous Improvement Mindset: Willingness to embrace continuous improvement practices, learn from feedback and data, and incorporate lessons learned from past projects.
  14. Testing and Validation Techniques: Knowledge of testing and validation methods to ensure that designs meet performance, safety, and quality requirements.
  15. Sustainability and Environmental Awareness: Awareness of sustainability practices and environmental considerations in automotive design to minimize the ecological impact of products.

By possessing these essential product design skills, automotive industry professionals can create vehicles and components that meet IATF’s rigorous standards for quality, safety, and regulatory compliance. Furthermore, these skills contribute to the development of cutting-edge, reliable, and customer-oriented products that drive innovation and success in the automotive sector.

Clause  Product design skills

Personnel with product design responsibility shall be competent to achieve design requirements and are skilled in applicable product design tools and techniques. Applicable tools and techniques shall be identified by the organization. An example of product design skills is the application of digitized mathematically based data.

The competency criteria for personnel with responsibility for design and development must be defined as well as the specific tools and techniques they need to use. They should be competent in using design software such as Catia, Autocad, Solidworks etc, as specified by customers. Keep the copies of certificates handy at the department Software competency means formal training. Learning from friends and having a manual is not considered competent Although not applicable to process design personnel, they should also be familiar with the design software because project may be using the drawings Core tool competency is applicable both for process and product design personnel. Here are some applicable product design tools and techniques commonly used in the automotive industry:

  1. Computer-Aided Design (CAD): CAD software allows designers to create detailed 2D and 3D models of automotive components and systems. CAD facilitates visualization, simulation, and rapid prototyping, speeding up the design process and enabling iterative improvements.
  2. Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE): CAE tools simulate and analyze the performance of automotive designs under various conditions, such as stress analysis, thermal analysis, and fluid dynamics. CAE helps optimize designs for safety, performance, and durability.
  3. Finite Element Analysis (FEA): FEA is a subset of CAE that uses numerical methods to analyze how structures respond to mechanical loads. It aids in evaluating the structural integrity and safety of automotive components.
  4. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD): CFD simulates fluid flows and heat transfer within automotive systems, such as engine cooling and aerodynamics. It enables optimization for fuel efficiency and performance.
  5. Design for Manufacturing (DFM): DFM focuses on designing products that are easy and cost-effective to manufacture. It involves considering manufacturing processes, tooling, and materials during the design phase to improve producibility.
  6. Design for Assembly (DFA): DFA aims to simplify the assembly process by designing components and systems with easy-to-assemble features. This technique reduces assembly time and minimizes the risk of errors.
  7. Rapid Prototyping and 3D Printing: These techniques allow for the quick production of physical prototypes, enabling designers to test and validate designs before mass production.
  8. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA): FMEA is used to identify and assess potential failure modes in automotive designs and manufacturing processes. It aids in proactively addressing risks and improving product reliability.
  9. Tolerance Analysis: Tolerance analysis tools help analyze the effects of variation in dimensions and tolerances on the final assembly. This ensures that the product fits and functions as intended.
  10. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): VR and AR technologies are used for design reviews, product visualization, and training purposes, allowing stakeholders to interact with digital models in a virtual environment.
  11. Multi-body Dynamics (MBD): MBD simulates the dynamic behavior of complex mechanical systems, such as vehicle suspension and drivetrains. It helps optimize vehicle handling and performance.
  12. Material Selection Software: These tools assist in selecting appropriate materials for automotive components based on specific requirements, such as strength, weight, and cost.
  13. Electromagnetic Simulation: Used for designing electrical and electronic components, such as sensors, wiring harnesses, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) analysis.
  14. Root Cause Analysis (RCA): RCA techniques help identify the root causes of design or manufacturing issues, allowing teams to implement corrective actions effectively.
  15. Value Engineering: Value engineering techniques focus on optimizing product features to achieve the best balance between cost, performance, and customer satisfaction.

Strategy to achieve competency in Product design

Ensuring that personnel with product design responsibility are competent and skilled in applicable product design tools and techniques is essential to achieve design requirements and develop high-quality products. The organization can implement several strategies to ensure the competence and skill development of its design personnel:

  1. Training and Development Programs: Offer comprehensive training programs that cover product design principles, industry standards, and the use of design tools and techniques. These programs should be tailored to the specific needs of the organization and the roles of the design personnel.
  2. Certifications and Qualifications: Encourage design personnel to pursue relevant certifications and qualifications in product design and related fields. Industry certifications can demonstrate their competence and commitment to continuous learning.
  3. Cross-Functional Exposure: Provide opportunities for design personnel to work collaboratively with colleagues from different departments, such as manufacturing, engineering, and quality assurance. This exposure enhances their understanding of the entire product lifecycle and encourages knowledge-sharing.
  4. Mentorship and Coaching: Establish mentorship programs where experienced designers can guide and support less experienced team members. Regular coaching sessions can help bridge knowledge gaps and foster skill development.
  5. Performance Reviews and Feedback: Conduct regular performance reviews to assess design personnel’s progress and competence. Provide constructive feedback and set specific development goals to support continuous improvement.
  6. Continuous Learning Culture: Foster a culture of continuous learning within the organization. Encourage design personnel to participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences to stay updated with the latest design trends and technologies.
  7. Hands-On Projects: Assign design personnel to hands-on projects that challenge their skills and allow them to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. These projects can range from concept design to prototype development.
  8. Collaboration with External Experts: Establish partnerships with external design experts, consultants, or academic institutions to provide additional training and insights to the design team.
  9. Internal Knowledge Sharing: Organize internal workshops or knowledge-sharing sessions where design personnel can share their experiences, best practices, and lessons learned.
  10. Benchmarking and Best Practices: Encourage design personnel to study and benchmark against industry-leading companies to adopt best practices and stay competitive.
  11. Resource Allocation: Ensure that the design team has access to the necessary resources, such as state-of-the-art design software, prototyping tools, and testing equipment, to enhance their skills and capabilities.
  12. Design Reviews: Conduct regular design reviews where design personnel present their work to a panel of experts, receiving valuable feedback and improving their design skills.
  13. Recognition and Incentives: Recognize and reward design personnel for their achievements, contributions, and continuous improvement efforts to foster a culture of excellence.

By implementing these strategies, the organization can build a competent and skilled product design team capable of meeting design requirements, leveraging advanced design tools and techniques, and delivering innovative and high-quality products to the market.

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