With more and more businesses looking to bring product development in house amidst the uncertainty of the current climate, the demand for on-site manufacturing facilities is currently at an all-time high.
Project development manager Michael Sansum takes a look at the importance of New Product Development (NPD) and gives us insight into the value of creating a bespoke solution for testing.
The importance of NPD for business growth
NPD is an essential part of business safe-guarding and growth; factors that only continue to grow in importance in the uncertain market conditions almost every industry is expecting to face post-Brexit. Investing in facilities and solutions to encourage innovation to happen sooner rather than later is a smart move, and one that a number of UK businesses are already seeing the benefit of.
Limited test chambers prevent product innovation
One such company, and a DGTCS client, is the second-largest supplier of architectural coatings and sundry products in Europe. They supply decorative, wood care, and specialty coatings to professional painters via a network of more than 550 service centres and more than 3,500 independent wholesalers and decided that their previously limited test chamber was preventing further product innovation with a growing risk of competitors overtaking them.
The solution; investment in flexible climatic test chambers
Test chambers are a crucial part of the new product development process, although it’s common for them to be kept separate from the rest of the production process. In fact, they are often located off-site or an additional cost is paid to use a third-party facility. In cases where test chambers are brought in-house, they can be limited capacity-wise due to space either being at a premium at the manufacturing facility or other areas of production being prioritised and therefore dominating what room is available.
Issues around space shouldn’t deter manufacturers from investing in their own climatic test chamber. Similarly, an existing unit that is limited doesn’t have to be the end of the story, especially as it’s such as essential facility to aid efficient and effective NPD. The true value of a test chamber, and particularly for the DGTCS client in architectural coatings, is the ability to create an environment that means after testing, they can be sure of having the upmost confidence in product integrity, even in varying climates.
An example in action from a speciality paints and coatings supplier
As in the majority of cases, the main problem experienced by DGTCS’s coatings client was limited in-house testing facilities, with restricted capacity within their existing climatic chamber. With nothing “off-the-shelf” available to meet its requirements, the client approached the DGTCS team to develop a bespoke design within a two week time-frame.
The main challenge came with working with a relatively small chamber size and yet needing to achieve a sensitive balance between temperature and humidity.
With the addition of high-quality humidifiers and dehumidifiers, the innovative climatic test chamber allows for close control and can create a wider range of environments than ever before. This was a crucial element of the brief; the chamber needed to be incredibly flexible and accurate, giving the manufacturer the upmost confidence in product integrity at varying climates when testing its paints and thinners.
Choosing to site the unit internally at their manufacturing facility has provided ease of access, greater capacity, and increased space for a range of different testing methods.
Creating a bespoke test chamber
The differentiator on this project was a client that was committed to investing to achieve higher levels of innovation as well as the ability to safe-guard existing products. Plus, a strong working relationship with DGTCS to create something bespoke.
The new test chamber now provides a long-term and flexible solution for in-house testing requirements. The increased capacity allows them to complete a broader range of testing, which in turn, offers further insight into how products behave at different temperatures and humilities.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in hearing more about, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the team.