Our customers are seemingly at a post-downturn paradox: their teams are ramping up projects and aggressively pursuing new machine designs, yet those ambitions are being tempered by their current staffing limitations. I continue to hear many design engineering departments discuss their struggle to find enough engineering resources to develop new products, whether due to hiring constraints or the ability to secure talent.
The question naturally, then, for suppliers is: “How can we add value and help our OEMs deliver their products on time and with improved performance?” There are several ways that our applications experts at Sauer-Danfoss are answering that question.
A good place to start is by seeking out non-value added areas in software development to eliminate them. With our PLUS+1 development platform, we’ve taken a lot of the time out of the equation for OEMs, in the form of non-value added repetition of coding tasks.
We can provide building blocks for the OEM programmer in the form of packaged functionality, such as Generic Dual Path, Fan Drive, and Anti-Spin Subsystem Applications, thus allowing OEM programmers to focus on the value-added customized parameters for their specific machine requirements.
We can also help the OEM engineers meet their aggressive development schedules by developing custom software targeted specifically to the machine’s parameters and objectives.
As development cycles shorten and resource levels remain tight, the focus of an OEM engineering organization inevitably moves to readily available solutions instead of research. With the ongoing challenges posed by Tier 4 regulations and the ever increasing need for fuel efficiency, the focus continues on machine and system efficiency without sacrificing productivity.
In this area, we are eliminating the guesswork by proactively vetting new energy-saving system solutions and testing them in our own facilities. We’ve invested in demonstration vehicles that prove, with operational data, their generic applicability and value to multiple machine designs. OEMs can take advantage of our many hours of research and apply these solutions to their machines. We continue to explore numerous ways to save every possible unit of horsepower, redirect power, and eliminate wasted power.
Finally, supplier participation in the machine development cycle is another way that OEM engineering teams can deliver machine projects to aggressive schedules. To support this, Sauer-Danfoss is making investments in our global Application Development Centers. This is not only investment in facilities and machines but also investment in the development of the teams and the organizations around those facilities and machines. This enables us to participate in the OEM’s development work by bringing solutions to life—with systems development and machine performance validation. It also allows us to propose an initial machine solution to an OEM that is significantly more developed than we could in the past.
Eliminating software development waste, providing proven efficiency solutions, and investing in machine application development are ways that we’re helping the OEM. These result in shortened development cycles and money saved, plain and simple. Taking a truly integrated systems approach while working closely with customers has always been our strategy, and this is true now more than ever. It’s a win-win and a very relevant and effective way of bringing value-added engineering to today’s markets.
Marc Weston, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Sauer-Danfoss, wrote this article for SAE Off-Highway Engineering.