Re: Reinventing the wheel!
- From: RoyJ <spamless@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 10:41:37 -0500
I teach design classes to budding engineers. There is a gray middle ground between sticking with the old proven design and going with the 'bleeding edge' technology. Trying to help program young brain cells to make this distinction can cause gray hair!
In real world jobs, there is a real tendency to not make changes in "what we did on the last project". The result is 30 year old technology and getting your product kicked in the market place.
The other side of the coin is the engineer who gets a kick out of implementing the latest and greatest technology. Or the one that refuses to look for good ideas from past project, the NIH syndrome.
The best engineers and designers have a knack for picking out the key design elements from old products, looking for better ideas in the marketplace, and add in some internal inspiration to get to a much better end result.
One of my groups did a small pump redesign: basic design cleanup, picked some key elements from the bigger and more expensive brothers in the product line, and then did some serious repackaging to get it to fit in the smaller pump. Result was 60% reduction in mfg cost and 5x increase in field reliability. All I could do was smile.
I often see comments about "Reinventing the wheel" on replies to questions about making something that is manufactured. One time I asked about making something on the knifemaking newsgroup and got a response about reinventing the wheel. What? Them guys make knives! Like there is some kind of knife shortage?.
What about all the new aluminum flashlights? Did Mag-Lite and Brinkman waste their time reinventing the flashlight? Why does West Coast Choppers waste their time reinventing the motorcycle. And then there are ... wheels, you can buy all kinds of sporty wheels for automobiles, those companies really are reinventing the wheel!
If it wasn't for "reinventing the wheel" we'd only have stone wheels with one choice of tire for only one make and model of automobile. So much for building a better mousetrap, why reinvent the mousetrap?
Don't get me wrong, these replies usually inform the OP of a product like they are wanting to make, and often very helpful. But there are new inventions and about everything else is "reinventing the wheel". Reinventing the wheel give opportunity for improvment and variety.
rant_mode = off
Appreciating those who build a better mousetrap!
- Reinventing the wheel!
- From: Roger_N
- Reinventing the wheel!
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