Within the limited range of the next few pages, this report attempts to present a snapshot of developments and/or important features in the general area of product and process development. The scope of this section is broad and attempts to address soft as well as hard issues involved in the development of composites. Therefore it will address issues such as design methodologies, rapid market development approaches, people issues, and education. The report attempts to address the features of the product development process through case studies from different areas related to composites. As brought forth in the previous chapter, the underlying premise is that the Japanese do not differentiate between basic manufacturing/processing science and product development. Rather they address the entire area from an applications perspective.
The reader is cautioned that although composites have been in use in the United States for decades, this area remains underdeveloped and our advances are probably shadowed by the advances made in Japan. It must however be mentioned that approaches such as total quality management (TQM) and statistical process control (SPC) following Deming and Juran, although developed in the U.S., found greater acceptance initially in Japan, to the point where they are now used as a "matter-of-fact," and the different facets of "concurrent engineering" are deeply ingrained in the thought and activity processes. At the outset, however, the reader is cautioned against making widespread comparisons between Japanese methodologies and those used in the United States for the purposes of suggesting broad changes in approach, as many of the differences have their roots in the different socio-politico-cultural systems prevalent in the two countries.
Within the context of this chapter, we will: