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Electronic Data Interchange

- EDI is a new way for companies to do 'paperless' business using a process that transfers business documents through a computer network, rather than via the postal system.

- Many companies use EDI as a fast, inexpensive and secure system of sending purchase orders, invoices, design and manufacturing data, etc. 

- Some manfucturers use EDI to transmit large, complex CAD drawings and multinational companies use it to communicate between locations worldwide. 

- However, the transfer of files requires that the sender and reciever agree upon a standard document format for the document that is to be transmitted.

-The EDI process starts with a trading agreement between a company and their trading partner. Joint decisions have to be made regarding the standard to be used, the info to be exchanged, how it is to be sent and when it will be sent.

- To send a document, EDI translation software is used to convert the document format into the agreed standard. 

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

- Save money by eliminating the need for processing paper documents.

- Saves time as information is transferred digitally.

- Improves customer service as business documents are transferred quickly with fewer errors.

- Expands customer base due to improved customer service through efficient EDI processes.

Disadvantages:

- Incompatibility with some companies due to range of standard document formats.

- Standards updated regularly, which causes problems with different versions.

- Expensive to intially set up.

- Limits trading to only companies with EDI.

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Integrated Services Digital Networks and broadband

- The development of these means that huge amounts of information can be transferred across computer networks as far greater speeds than ever.

- ISDN involves the digitisation of the telephone network, which enables voice, data, text, graphics, music, video to be transmitted at high speeds over existing telephone lines.

- It enables users to have additional phone lines installed so that the Internet could be used at the same time as the telephone without any problems.

- Five types of broadband access are offered; Asymmetric digital subscriber line, Cable, Wireless, 3G technology and Satellite. 

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Videoconferencing

- A videoconference allows two or more locations to interact using two-way video and audio transmissions at the same time, enhancing communications and speeding-up the decision-making process. This eliminates the need for travel to meetings, which might be across the other side of the world. 

- This system includes a video camera to capture images, a screen to view images, microphones to pick up sound and loudspeakers to play sound.

- Data is transferred via the Internet using ISDN or broadband. There are two types of videoconferencing systems: Dedicated systems have all required components packaged into a single console. Desktop systems are add-ons to normal personal computers such as webcams and microphones.

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

- Eliminates the need for travel to other countries, saving both time and money.

- Visual information can be communicated as part of the conversation.

- Accelerates the decision-making process as presentations can be made to several people.

-Corporate training of many staff at the same time.

Disadvantages: 

- Synchronisation of time of meeting in different time zones across the world.

- Connection can often fail.

- Lack of eye contact with others in meeting can effect intent or conversation.

- Pressures of being filmed and often recorded.

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Electronic point of sale

- It ensures the business stays one step ahead of its competitors. By using these systems, a business is able to supply and deliver its products and services faster by reducing the time between the placing of an order and the delivery of a product.

- Each product can be electronically identified using its unique barcode. When passed over a barcode reader or scanner, the bar code is read by a laser beam. The laser scans the bar code and reflects back on to a photoelectric cell. 

- Each product has its own unique 13-digit number. The first two numbers indicate where the product was made, the next five are the brand owner's number, the next five are given by the manufacturer to identify the type of product and the final digit is the check digit, this confirms that the whole number has been scanned correctly. 

- Data matrices, also known as 2D barcodes, are visual barcodes that can be read and decoded by machine vision systems. The increasing use of data matrices arises from the manufacturer's requirements for tracking their products or components. Serial numbers can be marked onto components, which is useful for tracking defective batches and fake parts.

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Electronic point of sale

EPOS provides manufacturers with:

- A full and immediate account of the financial transactions within the company's products.

- Date that can be input into spreadsheets for sales/profit analysis.

- The means to monitor the performance of all product lines, this is particularly important in mass production as it allows the company to react quickly to demand.

- Accurate information for identifying consumer buying trends.

- A full and responsive stock control system by providing real-time stock updates.

- A system that ensures sufficient stock is available to meet customer needs without over-stocking, which ties up capital. 

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Internet marketing and sales

Advantages, to manufacturers and retailers:

- World-wide reach and access to new markets and increased customer base.

- Increased company profile on a world-wide basis.

-Faster processing of orders and transactions, resulting in efficiency savings and reduced overheads.

- Detailed knowledge of user preferences and market trends by tracking sales.

- Cost savings due to reduced sales force and need for retail outlets.

- Less expensive than traditional advertising media such as TV or magazines.

- Innovative marketing tactics can be employed that target specific groups.

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Internet marketing and sales

Advantages, to the consumer:

- Access to a wide range of products or services.

- Availability of product information to inform purchasing decisions.

- Online discounts and savings through price comparison websites.

- Convenience of shopping at home.

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Internet marketing and sales

Disadvantages:

- Security concerns regarding input of personal bank details when purchasing goods.

- Personal info can be shared with other companies without customer consent.

- Difficult to find websites without exact details, resulting in a need for other expensive marketing methods.

- Show internet connection can cause difficulties in accessing information.

- Difficulty in navigating complicated Web pages.

- Does not allow 'hands on' experience of product i.e. touch, taste and fit.

- Access to innapropriate material.

- Spread of 'junk' mail and threat of computer viruses.

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Quick response manufacturing (QRM)

- QRM was developed to make companies more efficient and hence profitable.

- QRM requires the manufacturer to move from traditional batch production to 'flow' production. QRM turns the company into one that responds to actual consumer demand rather than planning for an expected demand that may or may not happen.

- It involves several concepts, but its main aim is to increase the overall flexibility and responsiveness of the company. 

- In the ideal QRM situation, the manufacturer would begin production as soon as an order is initiated. Suppliers deliver raw materials directly to the production line, the product is manufactured and the finished goods wold flow directly to a waiting truck for delivery.

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Quick response manufacturing (QRM)

Advantages:

- Less money needed to run the factory because fewer raw materials and finished goods are stocked.

- Better position to increase market share as quicker response times may attract new clients.

- Increased turnover of stock as production systems are triggered by demand. 

- Smaller batches are often produced, resulting in lower storage costs.

Reducing the cost of quality by minimising waste and by giving more responsibility to production teams.

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Quick response manufacturing (QRM)

Disadvantages:

- Increased reliance on suppliers to react to demand and quickly accommodate production schedules.

- Poor supply could result in a manufacturer's inability to meet customer requirements.

- Large variations in demand could cause problems if the manufacturer cannot react to the high production volume efficiently. 

- Managing and implementing the change required can be very difficult as QRM changes the roles and responsibilities of employees. 

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Concurrent manufacturing

- In order to remain competitive and cope with increasing market pressure from customer demands, manufacturers need to get to the market first with products that customers want.

- Concurrent manufacturing is about all of the key people who work at each stage of the design and manufacturing process working together to make sure that changes to one part of the process will not require changes to be made at another. In this way, designs become 'right first time'. 

- These systems aim to eliminate the need for design changes and overcome production problems and product introduction delays.

- Such delays and problems add significant costs to a product which in turn makes it less competitive than desired.

- This manufacturing bring together members from a wide range of disciplines such as design, manufacturing, project management, marketing and others.

- One of the most important factors is the effectiveness of the project team. Therefore, excellent communication is needed to be truly effective. 

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Concurrent manufacturing

Advantages:

- Reduced time to market

- Reduction in design modifications

- Decreased design and manufacturing costs

- Improved product quality

- Enhanced customer satisfaction

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Flexible manufacturing systems

- This system is one where several machines are linked together by a material handling system such as a computer-controlled robot or conveyor system.

- This system brings together new manufacturing technologies such as CNC or robotics to form an integrated system.

- It is different from an automated production line because of its ability to process more than one type of product at the same time.

- Modern FMS have powerful computing capacities that give them the ability not only to control and co-ordinate but also to perform production planning.

- One main advantage is its high flexibility in managing manufacturing resources like time and effort in order to manufacture a new product.

- This flexibility allows the system to react quickly to changes in production in two main features: machine flexibility involves the system's ability to be changed to produce new product types. Routing flexibility involves the ability to use several machines at the same time to perform the same operation thus increasing the speed of production. 

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Flexible manufacturing systems

Advantages:

- Increased productivity due to automation

- Shorter lead times (the time from design to market) for new products

- Lower labour costs due to automation

- Improved production quality due to elimination of human error

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Built-in obsolescence

- Built in or planned obsolescence is a method of stimulating consumer demand by designing products that wear out or become outmoded after limited use.

Forms of obsolescence

- Technological occurs mainly in in the computer and electronics industries where companies are forced to introduce new products with increased technological features as rapidly as possible.

- Postponed obsolescence occurs when companies launch a new product even though they have the technology to realise a better product at the time. 

- Physical occurs when the very design of a product determines its lifespan.

- Style occurs due to changes in fashion and trends where products seem out of date and force the customer to replace them with current goods. 

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Arts and Crafts

- This movement grew out of a convern for the effects of industrialisation upon design, traditional craftmanship and the lives of ordinary 'working class' people. 

- Poor quality, over-decorated and often oversized imitations of traditional items of furniture were being produced due to new production methods. This type of furniture was totally innapropriate for the majority of ordinary people who required simple and inexpensive products.

- Around this time emerged two figures of Arts and Crafts: John Ruskin and William Morris. Ruskin examined the relationship between art, society and labour. Morris put Ruskin's philosophies into practice, placing great value on craftmanship, simple forms and patterns inspired by nature and the beauty of natural materials.

Style-  Simplicity: interiors were visually simplistic by removing clutter and including suitable sized furniture which would provide a practical and clean living environment. Furniture was 'humbly' made with minimal ornate decoration. Splendour: small and highly ornate artefacts were produced working with unusual materials. Nature: natural plant, bird and animal forms were a source of inspiration. These were a reflection of a purity approach. Colour and texture: colour was used to provide unity and focus. 

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Art Nouveau

- It was developed by a new generation of artists and designers who aimed to fashion an art form appropriate to their modern age. The principle of this design style was the concept of unity and harmony across the various arts and craft media and new aesthetic values.

- Old traditions and artistic styles sat alongside new, combining a wide range of contradictory images and ideas.

- Art Nouveau forms a bridge between the Arts and Crafts and Modernism. There was a strong link between the decorative and the modern that can be seen in the work of individual designers. 

Style- Nature: designers were heavily influenced by natural forms and interpreted these into elongated, curvy 'whiplash' lines and stylised flowers, leaves, roots, buds etc. The female form: the design style is frequently referred to as 'feminine art' due to its frequent use of female figures with long, flowing hair. Other cultures: the arts and artefacts of Japan were a crucial inspiration. Japanese woodcuts, with asymmetrical outlines and minimal grid structures provided vertical lines and height. 

CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH - his style incorprated strong right angles and floral inspired decorative motifs with subtle curves. 

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Modernism

- Modernist architects and designers rejected the old style of designing based upon natural form and materials.

- They believed in the 'the machine aesthetic' which celebrated new technology, mechanised industry and modern materials. Modernist designers typically rejected decorative motifs in design and the embellishment of surfaces with 'art', preferring to emphasise the materials used and pure geometrical forms. 'Machines for living in'. 

- Style- Form follows function: Bauhaus featured functional design as opposed to highly decorative design. Designers produced high-end functional products. Simple, geometrically pure forms were adopted with clean lines and the elimination of unnessary clutter. Products for a machine age: products respected the use of modern materials such as tubular steel and mechanised mass production processes. Products looked like they were made by a machine. Everyday objects for everyday people: consumer goods should be functional, cheap and easily mass produced so that ordinary working class people could afford them. 

MARCEL BREUER AND THE BAUHAUS

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Art Deco

- This style is an eclectic style that drew on tradition and yet at the same time celebrated the mechanised, modern world. It embraced both hand-crafted and machine production, exclusive works of high art and mass-produced products in affordable materials.

- Art Deco reflected the ever widening needs of the contemporary world. Unlike the stark functionalist principles of Modernism, it responded to the human need for pleasure and escape. Art Deco was an opulent style, and its lavishness is attributed to reaction to the forced austerity imposed by the First World War. Geometric forms and patterns, bright colours, sharp edges, and the use of expensive materials, such as enamel, ivory and bronze are attributed to this style. 

Style- Geometric forms: popular themes in Art Deco were zig-zagged, geometric fan motifs. Primitive arts: the simplified sculptural forms of African, Egyptian and Aztec Mexican art and architecture influenced contemporary designers to omit inessential detail. Machine age: the style celebrates the machine age through explicit use of man-made materials, symmetry and repetition. 

EILEEN GRAY

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Streamlining

- This style was influenced by the modern aerodynamic designs derived from advancing technologies in aviation and high-speed transportation. This was a period of new materials and mass-production processes that could produce more refined products.

- Streamlining is the shaping of an object, such as an aircraft body or wing, to reduce the amount of drag or resistance to motion through a stream of air. A curved shape allows air to flow smoothly around it. Therefore, in order to produce less resistance, the front of an object should be well rounded and the body should gradually curve back. 

- Style- Teardrop shape: with the sleek, efficient forms of airliners, the form adopted as perfect aerodynamicism was that of the teardrop, with the round end being the front. This aerodynamic form became the new aesthetic direction and guided the design of modern products. Futuristic design: science fiction provided optimism for a new and better future with sleek rocket shapes and atom designs. 

RAYMOND LOEWY

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New design style

- Style- Humour and personality: products were bright and colourful like children's toys, often including unnecessary decoration in an attempt the give objects personality. This made them more appealing to the consumer. Retro design: designs that take inspiration from past movements and styles and re-interpret them in a modern way. Deconstruction: a development in architecture where the surface structure of a building is distorted so that it becomes non-rectangular. 

PHILLIPPE STARCK

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