New Product Introduction

Building a Robust Strategy with

New Product Introduction & Lifecycles

Launching a new automation process can be both exhilarating and daunting. While automation offers the promise of growth and innovation, it also comes with financial risks and process uncertainties. A well-planned New Product Introduction (NPI) strategy is essential to navigate these challenges successfully. 

An NPI strategy with MWES aims to minimize risks, optimize resources and costs, and maximize the success for the new product. In such a dynamic environment, the MWES NPI process is critical for companies looking to stay competitive and meet the market’s ever-changing demands.

Stages of New Product Introduction

Stage 1: Definition

Definition involves evaluating the existing process, performance requirements and where automation can seamlessly integrate the process. Tools like SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis can be instrumental in this phase, helping to prioritize ideas that alignment with business strategy.

Stage 2: Feasibility

The feasibility stage involves deeper research into the selected ideas and understanding the process needs and identifying any hurdles to automation integration. Here the practicality of the concept is assessed which includes thoroughly analyzing the technical requirements, resource allocation and cost implications.

Stage 3: Development

The development phase is where the product starts to take shape. Engineers work to create a proof-of-concept, which is then refined through multiple iterations. When dealing in robotic automation, this will involve complex software and hardware integration.

Stage 4: Validation

Before launching the automation process, rigorous testing and validation are crucial for its success. This ensures that the automation process performs as intended and meets all safety and regulatory standards.

Stage 5: Implementation

This involves integrating the automation process into the production environment. A successful implementation is well-coordinated and leverages the insights gained throughout the development process.

Stage 6: Evaluation

Finally, evaluation is where the automation process is analyzed and accepted into the production process. It ensures that the production environment is performing as expected and safety systems working as intended.

By following these six stages, businesses can navigate the complexities of automation integration and emerge with innovative solutions that drive growth and success.

Lifecycle Comparison: TRL vs. MRL

When it comes to developing and deploying new technologies, two key frameworks guide the process: Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) and Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL). Both are critical in assessing the maturity of technologies and their readiness for integration into a larger system or process.

Technology Readiness Levels (TRL)

Technology Readiness Levels are a method used to estimate the maturity of a particular technology. The TRL scale ranges from 1 to 9, with 1 being the lowest level of technology readiness, basic principles observed and reported, and 9 being the highest, actual system proven through successful mission operations.

The TRL process is primarily concerned with the technology itself, including its scientific and technical development. It answers questions about whether the technology works, if it’s reliable, and if it can perform its intended function within a system.

Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL)

Manufacturing Readiness Levels, on the other hand, assess the maturity of a technology from a manufacturing perspective. They help determine if a technology can be produced reliably and cost-effectively at scale. The MRL scale also ranges from 1 to 10, with higher numbers indicating greater maturity. It considers factors such as the availability of materials, the feasibility of production processes, and the existence of a suitable manufacturing infrastructure.

Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) Diagram

The Interaction Between TRL & MRL

While TRL focuses on the development of the technology itself, MRL ensures that the technology can be manufactured to meet demand. The interaction between TRL and MRL is crucial; a high TRL does not guarantee a high MRL. For instance, a technology might work perfectly in a simulation (high TRL) but may not be manufacturable at scale (low MRL) due to various constraints.

The goal is to align TRL and MRL so that as a technology matures, its manufacturing processes are developed concurrently. This alignment minimizes risks and ensures a smoother transition from simulation to production.

Lifecycle Comparison

Throughout the lifecycle of a manufacturing process, TRL and MRL must be considered in tandem. The development process should not only focus on proving the viability of the technology (TRL) but also on ensuring that the automation system can be manufactured (MRL). This dual focus helps prevent scenarios where a technology is advanced without considering the practicalities of its production, which can lead to delays and a lower return on investment.

TRL and MRL are complementary processes that, when aligned, provide a comprehensive view of a technology’s readiness from concept to production. Midwest Engineered Systems understands both readiness levels can lead to more efficient resource allocation, better planning and ultimately, successful integration of a manufacturing system.

Building the future of manufacturing, together

How we can help your business with

The MWES Process

Our Process

With each automation project, Midwest Engineered Systems implements a project management process that walks through the steps for successful equipment integration.

people working

Process Development

Our approach to automation process development is to first evaluate the firm’s current production operation and understand the company’s process needs.

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Proof of Principle Testing

We offer the ability to experience the performance of an automation system with real parts and production conditions before significant investment in a production automation system is made.

Consolidating Multi-Line Production

We can utilize our depth of knowledge on facility-wide automation projects to analyze the current production system to build the best automation solution.

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Engineering for Manufacturability

We can help reduce the costs associated with automation by analyzing and suggesting product and process modifications.

Why work with us

A trusted partner in manufacturing


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The Future of Manufacturing

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