engineering – overview
Our professional technical staff has a broad range of expertise, including the following core areas:
- mechanical engineering design
- electro-mechanical product development
- electrical engineering
- systems engineering
- engineering analysis
- technical feasibility assessments
- design audits and due diligence support
- problem solving (FMEA, RCA, CAPA, etc.)
- prototyping, product testing and reliability
Our position in the marketplace is centered on our ability to tackle complex engineering challenges. Our engineering staff members are problem solvers, innovators, detail focused, and team oriented. We can take on any challenge, and it is through our methods, our staff, and our passion for what we do that we can persevere and arrive upon viable solutions for the most difficult technical problems.
One of our primary competencies at DI is mechanical engineering. Our position in the marketplace is centered on our ability to take top priority projects with a high level of technical complexity from any point in the project through completion.
Mechanical engineering services at DI have a primary focus in the world of new product design and development. In addition, our technical staff tackles a variety of challenging engineering problems and performs design audits, due diligence work, technical viability analyses, engineering analysis work, and design optimization projects.
Over the past twenty years, our team has become expert at a wide variety of prototyping levels, including new exploratory designs, proof-of-concept, alpha and beta prototypes, preproduction and field test prototypes, and production verification. We have extensive experience, as well, with design for manufacturing, engineering testing, reliability, and quality management.
More than half of our projects involve the design and development of electro-mechanical systems. Simpler electrical projects may require electrical power from the wall or batteries along with a motor or solenoid to drive a mechanism.
More complex projects include embedded systems, electrical hardware with a microprocessor, custom firmware running on the board, multiple motors and mechanisms, sensors that control the operation of the system, a user interface with a display and buttons, connectivity to the internet, and extensive software.
Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on the integration of the various components within an overall product or system. A project starts with defined customer needs, which drive the functional product requirements. The goal is to design a quality product that meets the user needs along with the business and technical objectives.
At DI, our senior engineering staff have broad experience with complex electro-mechanical systems, and we work as integral team members with our clients’ teams to handle tricky technical challenges and ensure project success.
One of our core skills at Design Integrity is problem solving. Sometimes, we are called in to help with a specific technical issue or design challenge. A product might not be working perfectly in the field, or a new design concept might be failing in the test lab. Other times, we are asked to develop a next generation product or device that performs a task that has never been done before.
Over the years, our team has developed a variety of proprietary problem solving processes that work for different situations and challenges. Our processes range from rapid tactics that some would call “fire fighting” to thorough, comprehensive problem solving efforts rooted in the traditional failure modes and effects analysis methodology.
Whether we work with a rapid or comprehensive approach, our processes involve gaining a thorough understanding of the issue, determining all the possible causes, isolating and eliminating variables, testing hypotheses, and determining the root cause of the problem. Once the root cause is found, our focus shifts to finding a practical solution that is cost effective, relatively fast to implement, and able to be verified with testing.
Design Audits and Due Diligence
Our senior engineering team supports our customers with design audits and due diligence support when a third party technical assessment of an engineering system or product is needed. Our proprietary design audit process tailors the effort to meet the needs of the project, and it can include an assessment of the design, functionality, performance, reliability, safety, manufacturability, cost, and risk associated with the given product or system.
Due diligence support work typically focuses on technical assessments or a viability analysis of a system, a product or product line, or a company that is under consideration for a major purchase or acquisition. Oftentimes, our clients require high-level engineering expertise that it outside of the knowledge base of their staff. With our broad experience and expertise across several technical fields, our team is well suited to assist with product design audits and technical diligence support work.
Our engineering and industrial design staff has supported several clients as expert witnesses on a variety of cases. Our expertise spans several fields, including trade secrets, trade secret misappropriation, patent prosecution, and patent litigation.
Products sold into the medical, industrial, and consumer product markets need to be designed and developed to high levels of quality and reliability. Otherwise, the products will likely not be well received in the marketplace. Quality and reliability should be designed into the product from the start.
In addition, an extensive engineering testing plan can be developed and implemented to ensure that all key project requirements are tested and verified throughout the program. DI has extensive experience developing new products that require high quality and reliability, and our team has developed proprietary engineering and project management processes over the decades to ensure success.
Early in each project, we recommend the documentation of a test plan that itemizes every test and performance specification the product must pass before production approval. During the project, prototypes and preproduction units can be run through functional, accelerated life, and field testing on site with end users. Statistical data can be analyzed to assure the team that the product meets specifications.
Our senior engineers have developed dozens of complex new products for companies such as Snap-on, Baxter, CASE New Holland (CNH), Miller Electric, Hospira, SRAM and Illinois Tool Works. Extensive product testing has been an integral component to each of our successful new product development programs.
One of our core value-added services involves the fabrication and testing of functional engineering prototypes, including:
- proof of concept (PoC) prototypes – test feasibility / viability / areas of technical risk
- functional prototypes – built and tested to prove out specific functional requirements
- alpha prototypes – typically “looks-like-works-like” prototypes with a level of production intent
- beta prototypes – typically “looks-like-works-like” prototypes that prove functionality, run through cycle life testing, and include housings and handles that simulate the production design with prototype parts
- prepilot production prototypes – typically built with single cavity or unit tooling to verify all requirements
- pilot production prototypes – typically built at the intended factory using certified production tooling
Most of our engineering projects that run from initial concept through production launch involve most if not all of the above-listed prototype builds. Our project planning process includes a review of the full prototyping and testing plan with our clients prior to project approval.
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