figure to the left illustrates the 5 phases of our full-service
design process, but most of the time our customers are looking for
more specific services.
plays into one of our strengths which is flexibility. We understand
that every customer is different and we tailor our services to suit
your product and your company. Using a restaurant analogy, our full
service would constitute a 5-course set dinner menu. We also offer
"a la carte" services. For example, we have a client that
relies on us for blue sky ideas (Phase 2) but does all their development
internally. We have another that use us solely for difficult 3D
modeling in Phase 3 and another that relies on us for engineering
existing designs in Pro/Engineer.
Competitive product research
Design trend research
End user questionnaire
User needs priority survey
Component layout concepts
Product configuration study (foam models)
Ergonomic analysis (foam models)
is the probably the most critical and yet the most overlooked phase
of Product Development. This is where we do the research, where
we get to grips with understanding the particular Market and the
typical customer. From this Discovery comes Opportunity.
The subsequent phases aim to take advantage of this opportunity
by creating the most appropriate product for your customers' needs.
By taking some time to understand expectations, past experiences,
priorities, etc, there will be considerably less grief down the
road when surprises come up. We research emerging technology that
may help customers either on this project or the next. During this
phase we remove our designers hat and dress up as the customer.
We work, think, sleep, and dream like our customer. In fact, any
attempt by a team member to pre-conceive a solution and start sketching
is quickly quashed by the rest of the team! This phase is about
immersion in the customers environment - understanding their problems,
difficulties - feeling their aspirations.
Kick-off / project team brainstorming
Concept exploration and sketch generation
Sketches of assembly and construction issues
Interface, access and storage concepts
Concept refinement sketches
Foam appearance model construction
Sketches for multiple design directions
Foam model mock-ups
Construction and assembly concept sketches
your creative cap on and get sketching! This is the fun part! We
just love to collaborate. Our crazy brainstorming sessions provide
the kick-start that individual designers need to get going. We tend
to have periods when individual designers can concentrate in isolation
and then this time is punctuated with intense collaborative sessions
where literally anything goes. We follow the same tried and tested
rules as IDEO and others whereby absolutely no criticism is allowed.
We use diverse methods for inspiring solutions and getting those
creative juices flowing. During the Conception Phase we have frequent
client meetings. Part of the reason for this is hand-holding, but
also, sometimes we come up with ideas that are very good, but its
not exactly what the client asked for where it is possible to realign
direction or simply slip it in your back pocket for a future project.
At the end of this period we separate the wheat from the chaff by
aggressively removing the weakest or most inappropriate designs.
Although most of the work is done using pencil, we make frequent
use of hand-crafted 3D polystyrene models.
value-added to your organizaion is the most tangible at this point.
Incredible value considering that for a small investment, you get
new design proposals that could improve the fortunes of your company.
You own the rights to all the ideas we create and we don't ask for
detailed 3D CAD model
Design refinement sketches
2D design control drawing of chosen concept
Define all external design features
Photo-realistic rendering build
Colour and graphic study
Specification update and initial Bill of Materials
Coordinate aesthetic hard model construction
3D CAD model (Pro/E)
Hard model or SLA
we take forward one or two (and occasionally more) designs from
the Ideation Phase and rapidly realize them in 3D. We always use
Pro/Engineer software because of its ability to create complex,
high-quality, parametric surfaces. We always build draft into features
from the outset (for moulded parts). Before we start, we know how
the assembly is going to be split up into discrete parts. We have
an approximate idea about how the parts will be held together Typically,
because we're human, there will be multiple iterations going back
and forth between the Designer, the Surfacing Engineer and the Customer.
While we are primarily concerned with the functionality, appearance
and ergonomics of the outside (cavity side) of the product, we always
start building our surfaces around a components package supplied
by the customer or created by us. This ensures that there will be
space for internal hardware and any required changes during future
steps will be minimal.
all engineering details
Source and specify purchased components
Finalize assembly sequence
Build 3D database of all parts and components
Database corrections from design input
Specify materials, colours, textures and final graphics
Manage prototype build with chosen vendor
Database of all parts and components
Colour, material and finish specifications
Final artwork and graphic layout
we get to Engineering. Up to this point, we've worked on the visible,
"customer side" of the product. This phase, sometimes
called "detailed design" is involved with the creation
of internal, "core-side" geometry. Depending on the product,
this is typically the most time-consuming part of development. Here,
we model the bosses, ribs, snaps, etc. and add hardware such as
fasteners, gaskets, etc. We make sure there are adequate clearances
and that the product can be assembled easily. We sometimes need
to design mechanisms and conduct simplified finite element analysis
for strength evaluation. At the end of this phase, the database
is ready to send to the toolmaker.
Review prototype with manufacturer
Modify database as necessary
Create critical dimension documentation
First article review
Modify database as necessary
Create final documentation package to client requirements
Functioning proto-tool parts
Final documentation package
Bill of materials
you are building prototype or production tools, we are available to
manage communications with the toolmaker, review first article parts,
and implement and manage any required database changes. If desired
we also help select a tool-maker for prototype and production tooling.
We can also manage changes to the 3D database and the tool. We have
good contacts within the moulding industry in Italy.