We have reached a materials age – breakthrough products using new materials continue to amaze and delight, and redefine the way we live.
Think of all of the new products intended to make our lives easier (robots cleaning our floors, dishwashers ordering their own soap) and give us thrills (gaming headsets that provide ultra-immersive experiences, spherical cameras for capturing live-action 3-D films). The list goes on and on.
New innovations can help us stay healthy too. For example, new material innovations in the medical device industry introduced the use of non-metallic "bone-preserving" implants for hip replacements offering a long-lasting, minimally invasive alternative to metal implants which tend to pose a greater health risk to patients. With about 1 million hip procedures (in America alone) each year, this is good news. Taking it a step further, material innovations can even save lives! Check out this Forbes Tech article on the Apple watch.
Our reality truly has been redefined with all of this innovative technology. And yes, we as consumers can all enjoy this wave of material innovations and product breakthroughs, no doubt. But what does this have to do with our world in business and manufacturing? Companies realize that to stay competitive, they must design their products with newer, better, and greener materials. Materials are now front and center in product design.
Material innovations have become key to market success in medicine, electronics, aerospace, automotive, energy, and consumer products. As manufacturers race to meet consumer demands for smarter, stronger, cheaper, more functional and more sustainable products, the management of material data, properties and processes becomes a vital objective. The lifecycle of materials is now as equally important as the lifecycle of products. With materials driven product design, the materials lifecycle and product lifecycle should both be managed throughout the product development process. Materials management is here to stay and a key to your business’s success.