Case Study: Promoting Design Automation by Rural Manufacturers

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Purpose – This paper describes a cooperative endeavor between a state university and a federal agency to modernize design automation among rural manufacturers. It concerns efforts to infuse leading-edge design technology into rural product development.

Design/methodology/approach– Boise State University established a rapid prototyping (RP) laboratory and conducted an information campaign targeting Idaho's design and manufacturing sector. About 12 rural companies participated in a program supported by a federal grant wherein they received solid modeling and RP services while developing a product.

Findings – Significant unfamiliarity about benefits of solid modeling and RP persists amongst Idaho's rural manufacturers. When exposed to the potential of these technologies, manufactures readily move to adopt them into their new product development processes. Those companies adapting design automation improved their capability to bring products to the marketplace more rapidly and with greater market success.

Practical implications – Other regions with similar dispersion of manufacturing can disseminate knowledge of advanced design automation technology and services through promotional approaches as described in this paper.

Originality/value – The paper focuses on a cooperative endeavor to infuse leading-edge design technology into rural product development.