Title: A case study of flexible tooling solutions for a small healthcare company

Authors: Huw Millward, Chris Byrne, Tony Howells, Russell Penman, Richard Collings

Addresses: The National Centre for Product Design and Development Research (PDR), University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC), Western Avenue, Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK. ' The National Centre for Product Design and Development Research (PDR), University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC), Western Avenue, Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK. ' The National Centre for Product Design and Development Research (PDR), University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC), Western Avenue, Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK. ' The National Centre for Product Design and Development Research (PDR), University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC), Western Avenue, Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK; Performance Health Products (PHP) Ltd, Unit 32, Village Farm Road, Village Farm Industrial Estate, Pyle CF33 6BL, UK. ' Performance Health Products (PHP) Ltd, Unit 32, Village Farm Road, Village Farm Industrial Estate, Pyle CF33 6BL, UK

Abstract: Performance Health Products Ltd is a small healthcare company that specialises in the design and development of posture management products that can be customised to the specific needs of the end user. The company formed a collaboration with The National Centre for Product Design and Development Research to develop an injection-moulded version of their AXXIS backrest system. This paper employs a case-study methodology to examine how flexible tooling solutions can drive rapid product development in the small company context. Customisation of the company|s product has been matched by agility within the overall development and manufacturing process. The case-study shows that flexible tooling solutions provide a balanced development strategy, that risk management is a key element during the initial tooling development, and that cost reduction and time compression can be achieved through the use of reconfigurable tooling, high-speed machining techniques and advanced cutter technology.

Keywords: customised products; flexible tooling; small firms; healthcare; posture management; customisation; agile systems; injection moulding; backrests; rapid product development; agility; agile manufacturing; risk management; reconfigurable tooling; high speed machining; advanced cutters; cost reduction; time compression.

DOI: 10.1504/IJASM.2007.015785

International Journal of Agile Systems and Management, 2007 Vol.2 No.2, pp.147 - 162

Available online: 15 Nov 2007 *

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