Commercialisation of P3: Signposting - design process modelling and simulation software

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering


Institution Background=================The Cambridge Engineering Design Centre (EDC) has been researching design process improvement for over ten years. We work in collaboration with companies such as Rolls-Royce, BAE SYSTEMS and Perkins Engines who are interested in developing their ability to capture, store, monitor, control and simulate their development processes and to communicate and reuse this information. The EDC's work covers the design process related to both products and services. The centre has 69 staff and students that work across eight interlinked research themes. Further details can be found on the centre's website Scientific Context=============The EDC is an Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (IMRC) which has been (and is) part funded by an EPSRC Block Grants. These grants have funded the work on which this application is based.Commercial Opportunity==================Poorly controlled design process can delay product launch and thereby impact on commercial success. In addition many industries are subject to hefty financial penalties for late delivery or under performing products. This proposal identifies an opportunity in the market related to improving the design process.Commercial Potential================An innovative piece of research software called 'P3:Signposting' for managing and improving design processes of complex products has been developed in the EDC. The software architecture enables it to be configured to represent almost any structured process and hence is much more widely applicable than for just design process modelling. This project will investigate turning the research software and its delivery to market into a commercial product. To make best use of the EDC's knowledge base and so that effort is not too diluted, the developments will in this instance be aimed at design functions in manufacturing industries, principally the aerospace and automotive sectors. The project will develop both the technology and services to deliver the technology to market. The Challenge===========The project has recognised the need to address a potential unidentified need and a market dominated by compromise products that are currently be used to manage the design process. This will be on two fronts, technology development an market activities.The Business Idea=============The idea is to create a business around the software related to design process improvement . This will focus around the P3:Signposting software but will not be limited to this and is also likely to involve services supplied around the software. Resubmission of EP/F00902X/1 (2007)===============================This project was first submitted in 2007.The balance of the project has changed from a marketing based project with some software development into a a technology development project supported by market research. This change is both to reflect the call requirements and what we have learned over the last year, in particular that the technology needs more development than we first anticipated.
Description The management of large design processes is complex and there is often much uncertainty in an organisation's ability to deliver a new product or service to plan. The purpose of this project was to explore the commercialisation of a design process simulation tool that had been ten years in development as a research tool. The outcome was the realisation that, although the tool had many merits in research and in practice, it currently does not promise a large or quike enough return for investors.
Exploitation Route Numerous researchers worldwide are downloading and using the CAM software. The Cambridge team are continuing to develop the coda as a joint activity funded by a number of current research projects.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Construction,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport

Description The P3 software, now know as the Cambridge Advanced Modeller (CAM) continues to be developed. The tool is directly used on funded research projects with Rolls-Royce, BT, BP, Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, Laing O'Rourke, Airbus, GKN and Honeywell. In addition, hundreds of copies of the software have been downloaded by other researchers worldwide.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Construction,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport
Impact Types Economic

Description Rolls-Royce plc 
Organisation Rolls Royce Group Plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2009
Title More than 120 software licences 
Description Over 120 software licences have been released for academic evaluation and use. 
IP Reference  
Protection Protection not required
Year Protection Granted
Licensed Yes
Impact Limited funding was obtained from Cambridge Enterprise to develop a business plan for commercialisation of P3 (now known as CAM). The plan was presented to the investment board, but was not funded. The potential return was not sufficiently attractive for investment.
Title Cambridge Advanced Modeller 
Description A software tool for modelling and analysing the dependencies and flows in complex systems - such as products, processes and organisations. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2008 
Impact numerous downloads new industry research awards