The road to perfection is in the details. True quality can only be achieved by linking high-quality engineering with continous testing of prototypes.
Detailling the conceptProduct development is about detailing the concept product: working out all solutions to a high level of detail. Every part has to be devised, built in 3D CAD software and tested. Nothing can be left to chance.
From a concept towards prototype P1Using powerful 3D CAD software, we design connections for each component and integrate standard components. We then select materials, production methods, treatments, possible coatings and colors.
More complex products sometimes require integration of controls, wiring, hoses, motors, PCBs, transmissions, bearings or other technical components. Once that is done, we make assemblies, check tolerances and perform simulations or tests on functionality, weight, strength and stress.
During the proces of product development we optimise the design for manufacturability and assembly, according to design rules. We also continously check sustainability factors and circular possibilities. In case we feel that a certain solution might include risk in terms of performance, ergonomics or functionality, we create mockups to test specifically that risk.
A first prototype P1 will be built now to test all the solutions on functionality, ergonomics and performance.
Iterations, the road to perfectionIn many cases a number of iteration cycles are needed to optimize the product. We make high quality prototypes that come very close to the final mass manufactured product.
Together with your team we create a test plan and run both simulations and tests on the prototypes, with real users, impact tests, drop tests, functionality tests, temperatures tests, durability and performance tests. Every product needs its own testing. Each test shows defects or possible improvements that lead to optimization of the design. After a session of testing the design is modified and we enter a new iteration cycle, with an improved prototype that will be tested again.
From prototype P1 to PFMost design projects have a process of development and creation of a first prototype P1 included, so that we can test basic ergonomics, functionality and usability. This prototype is made in the right materials, with the right finishing, the right coating, all very close as how it will be in manufacturing.
In many cases further development iterations are needed, to optimize the prototype for manufacturing. Based on a test plan we start cycles of testing and optimization. We test new prototypes on general functionality, durability, performance, assembly and run real life user testing. If the product needs to be tested on CE safety norms, MDD or other medical norms, EMC / ESD norms, or specific sports norms, then this is the time to organize that. This is also the moment to select manufacturing partners.
When all testing results are satisfactory, then mostly a final prototype PF is made, which forms the basis for further mould engineering and manufacturing preparations.
Product development and materialsDuring dozens of demanding product development projects, both in the fields of sports, consumer and medical, we have gained experience with a large set of materials and work closely together with many material vendors.
We have experience in using for instance bio-compatible materials like LSR (liquid silicon rubber), medical grade engineering plastics and medical metals. In sports applications we used high performance engineering plastics, like glass filled Nylons, PEEK or simpler ABS / PC types of plastics, as well as high performance TPE and TPU's. Apart from plastics we have experience with metals, like copper, magnesium, stainless steel and lightweight aerospace aluminium like AL7068-T6511.
For other sports applications we gained experience in both natural as well as synthetic leathers and fabrics, both for shoes and bags.
Testing, norms and certificationSome projects go further then prototype P1. Using norms, FMEA and other sources we decide in which field the product needs to be tested. This could be in the fields of medical or sports certifications, ESD/EMC, climate testing, reliability or durability.
We have experience in supporting our partners with the certification of products, both general certifications for CE / UL regarding mechanical and low voltage regulations, as well as EMC and ESD regulations. Apart from that we can also assist together with a notified body in the application and testing for specific medical certifications like 93/42/EEC, ICE 60601 or FDA class I or II devices.
Industrialisation and manufacturingWith our 3D CAD data, 2D drawings and transfer report manufacturing partner(s) can start mould engineering. Sometimes they do this in house, sometimes they outsource parts of this process.
This is a process of optimizing for their manufacturing process and parameters, running mould flow and warpage analysis on critical parts, choosing a vendor for the material blends and masterbatch for the right colour, developing automation and testing set-ups for high volume manufacturing.
Our network of manufacturing partners and knowledge of robust manufacturing and assembly processes helps to make the industrialisation process of the product smooth and on schedule.