Cota Ceiling Tiles

POSTED BY , Product Design

 

Image: Digital Trends

Image: Digital Trends

It’s always exciting to see what new products are released at CES every year. This year, one of the standouts is Ossia’s new Cota Ceiling Tiles, which can wirelessly charge your electronic devices within a 30 foot range. The tiles use a transmitter and a receiver, and the receivers are small enough to embed into smartphones and other battery-powered electronics, like smoke alarms and speakers. Ossia intends to sell this technology to smartphone manufacturers, and is in talks with a major car manufacturer about installing this technology in car ceilings. If this device goes big, it means that as soon as you walk into a room with these ceiling tiles, or get into a car with this technology, your phone will start charging!

Technology is pretty dang cool.

http://www.texomashomepage.com/news/local-news/what-the-tech-cota-ceiling-tiles/649017947

READ MORE

Quikdraw Lens Holster

POSTED BY , Funding, Product Design

Pipeline recently finished development of the Quikdraw, an innovative lens holster for photographers. The system allows one-handed changing of lenses between the camera and belt-mounted Quickdraw product. Invented by a local Phoenix engineer and photography enthusiast, the Quikdraw is now live on Kickstarter (see Kickstarter Quikdraw page) and beginning to raise the necessary funds to go into production. Check it out and spread the word to get this fantastic product funded and to market!

Quikdraw Lens Holster

READ MORE

New Product Development Process

POSTED BY , Product Design

Many first time inventors come to us with new ideas for products and lots of questions regarding how the typical product development process works. Here is a brief summary of the common workflow:

  1. Define project requirements (both functional and aesthetic)
  2. Conceptual exploration (develop several high level concepts, usually in 3D CAD)
  3. Work with customer to converge on a single concept for further refinement
  4. Refine concept and proceed with full engineering development
  5. Design review with customer to approve final design
  6. Build alpha prototype and evaluate geometry, aesthetic, and function
  7. Additional design refinement based on alpha prototype observations
  8. Build beta prototype and evaluate geometry, aesthetic, and function
  9. If needed, additional design refinement based on beta prototype observations
  10. Identify appropriate contract manufacturer and receive quotes for production
  11. Receive first production sample and inspect
  12. Tooling and/or design refinement as needed based on production sample
  13. Approve production sample and proceed with mass production
  14. Work with contract manufacturer as needed to troubleshoot and facilitate production
  15. Although this is a very condensed version of the steps required for new product development, it will help new inventors understand the large scope involved with bringing a new product through the development and manufacturing stages. If you have specific questions regarding this process, please contact us and one of our sales representatives will be happy to provide a free consultation for your project.

    READ MORE

Design For Manufacturability (DFM)

POSTED BY , Manufacturing, Product Design

What is design for manufacturing and why should you care? DFM is a design process where manufacturability considerations are taken into account as the product is being developed, as opposed to after it’s already developed. This may surprise many people, but all too often products are designed without a thorough knowledge of the manufacturing process by which it will ultimately be produced. This can have devastating effects on the overall price of the product. For example, if a product is to be injection molded, there are very specific design principles that must be adhered to. Departure from these principles can lead to literally tens of thousands of dollars in additional tooling costs. Adherence to these principles can mean the difference between a profitable sales margin, and a lost cause.

Pipeline Design & Engineering ensures each of its designs are carried out in such a way as to be “manufacturing friendly”. Whether it be plastic injection molding, machining, thermoforming, sheet metal, or welding applications, small process-specific features that are incorporated early in the design will have a major impact on the degree to which your product can be economically manufactured. Due to our large network of domestic and overseas vendors across many manufacturing disciplines, we can receive input on even the most obscure or niche design features when our in-house expertise needs augmenting.

READ MORE

Foredom: The Greatest Tool In The World

POSTED BY , Product Design

We recently purchased a Foredom (http://www.foredom.net) and it is the greatest tool in the world. For anyone involved with product development, prototyping, manufacturing, or mechanical engineering, having a tool like this (essentially a really fancy dremel tool) is a huge asset. It can be used for anything from fine detail modifications on prototype to drilling holes, grinding down metal, or even cleaning your own teeth (yes, they actually have dental tools in some models!). Here’s a picture of the beast:

It comes with a foot pedal for easy speed control, and packs plenty of power. And there are about a billion different attachments and widgets with which you can accessorize. We recommend it for any company that works in product design!

READ MORE

Yes, Your Baby Is Ugly

POSTED BY , Product Design

All you inventors out there: this is for you.

There might be a chance that your baby is kind of possibly slightly ugly. Just a little. At times. In the right light.

When an inventor has an idea for a new product, he or she holds onto that idea as if it’s his baby. Let us explain what we mean. There isn’t a parent in the world that thinks his or her child is ugly. Our own children are always beautiful, right? There may be others, however, who don’t hold the same appreciation for our wonderful children – others who might even say that child is not as attractive as the parent believes. It’s easy to let ourselves fall into this same line of thought regarding ideas, as well.

Inventors often come to us with incredible ideas, and a very controlled definition of how those ideas should be executed. One of our jobs as the designers and engineers is to look at these ideas objectively and ask ourselves, without bias, the following question: Is this really the best way to achieve the product’s intent? And quite often the answer is not entirely in the affirmative.

Letting go of a feature we considered crucial to our design can be difficult for inventors to do. After all, forming an idea with any level of clarity takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. As experienced product designers, much of the value we bring to the table is the ability to look at a product in an emotionally detached way. In this way, we are able to balance important design factors such as cost, manufacturability, time to market, material selections, and more in order to produce a design which most efficiently meets its intent.

So, bring us your baby. We won’t tell you its ugly. But we may offer a few suggestions on how to make its ears look more proportional to its nose 🙂

READ MORE