Barry-Wehmiller Network

Sustaining Market Share through Incremental Innovation

 April 21, 2021

Incremental Innovation focuses on making marginal design improvements or upgrades to an existing equipment or product.  These improvements are focused on adding new features and / or functionalities for achieving competitive differentiation.  Incremental Innovation can also help in optimizing the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS).  These enable the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to offer a competitive price for sustaining their market share.

Incremental Innovation helps the OEMs to extend the product lifecycle until their next generation product is ready for market launch. As these upgrade projects do not require an R&D based approach, OEMs usually outsource such projects to service providers, so that their R&D bandwidth is available for launching their next generation equipment or product. Design Group’s Equipment Design Solutions (EDS) team has provided this support to several OEMs.

Incremental Innovation Blog


Incremental Innovation – A Recent Experience

Design Group’s client, a manufacturer of machines for hygiene care products, reached out to the EDS team to redesign one of their tape unwind system for cost optimization.  After reviewing the existing design, the team focused on optimizing the footprint for realizing the required cost optimization. Innovative ideas were brainstormed by the team to reduce the footprint, and still deliver the same functionalities of the existing design. 

The conceptual designs were reviewed with the client and a ‘’Proof of Concept’’ was conducted for the shortlisted design. The team then developed the detailed design of the shortlisted concept and created manufacturing drawings.  

The innovative solution provided by Design Group helped the client in realizing the following: 

  • Saving a substantial 85% of the assembly’s material and manufacturing costs  

  • Enabling an optimized footprint - the redesigned equipment used only 25% of the current footprint 

  • Addressing a critical line stopping issue (tape jumping off the rolls) that resulted in improving the machine uptime 

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About the author

Muthukumaran Kanniappan


Muthukumaran Kanniappan is Director of Equipment Design Solutions at Design Group. He received his Bachelors of Technology at Pondicherry University and PGDBA and MS in Systems and Information at BITS Pilani.  

In his 29 years of experience in design & development, he has led multiple product design projects. At Design Group, he leads a team of professionals across India and the US, with cross-functional and multi-domain experience in equipment design. He provides strategy and direction to the team for successful project execution, while adding value to the clients at every phase and exceeding their expectations.