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For a number of years now the pressure has been on consumer goods manufacturers to continually reduce the size of finished goods, just look at how small your latest mobile phone is compared with your first “Nokia brick.”

The demand for devices that have increased functionally while occupying less space in our pockets and bags, not to mention with minimal weight, generates its own pressures and challenges for the designers and the engineers charged with making things fit on a pinhead!

While it might sound like a simple enough task there are a number of challenges that require some serious effort to resolve and, while to many of the engineers involved, these challenges are part of their daily “problem solving routine” to us they are a testimony to innovation and the result of some serious research and development.

At its most basic level there is the challenge of designing components themselves and configuring layouts to reduce the space occupied while maintaining performance and functionality can be tricky. The redesign and miniaturisation of components can demand new manufacturing techniques and the use of new materials, involving computer-based modelling and/or iterative prototyping.

It can in some instances require the integration of components, developing one component which may perform the functions of a number of obsolete components.

Article originally published on Make UK

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