Scientific games – bluebird xD gaming console
WMS Gaming, which has since been acquired by Scientific Games, was in the early stages of the development of a new slot machine gaming console. The conceptual design direction was all laid out by a local ID firm, but a sizeable engineering design team was needed to develop the new cabinet design in a rapid timeframe.
The team at Design Integrity in Chicago was brought in to take a lead role on the development of the gambling console from concept through first production. This new, innovative cabinet was designed from the ground up with several ground-breaking and patented design features.
When WMS Gaming was in the early conceptual stages of the development of the new Bluebird xD gaming console, an innovative design direction was selected. Traditional gambling cabinets and slot machines were designed for customers to stand up or sit on a stool, which were not comfortable for long periods of time.
The new cabinet concept was laid out with the user interface closer to workstation (desk) height, such that users could relax in comfortable seating with a padded armrest at an optimized height. The layout and ergonomics allowed customers to sit and play for longer periods of time before leaving the station. Due to this innovative layout, a completely new console had to be designed from the ground up.
The new cabinet design required a new sheet metal frame, multiple access panels and doors, proper mounting of all the electronics and key subassemblies, new wire harnesses and wire routing, new outer skins (panels), and a new pivoting bezel made from an innovative sheet metal forming process. To add to the challenge, the program had an aggressive schedule for the market launch.
The project was seamless collaboration between the technical staff at DI and a team of engineers and managers at WMS. The complete 3D CAD database was developed by our team at DI, but the program would not have been nearly as rapid or successful without our weekly joint design reviews or the shared knowledge and direction from the WMS team.
First, the design rendering was converted into a 3D layout and space claim in SolidWorks software. Next, known subassemblies were imported or modelled in 3D to firm up the known space and volume constraints (i.e. flat screen monitor, speakers, cash box, bill and credit card acceptors, estimated space requirements for the electronics).
During the alpha phase, several new features and subsystems had to be designed with a high level of technical confidence, including the formed front bezel, a new emotive lighting system, a new custom detented hinge for the new bezel, and a new pivoting cash box subassemly. As the project progressed, the DI team unexpectedly had to undertake the design of the entire sheet metal subassembly, as there were scheduling issues that did not allow the selected sheet metal vendor to complete the design of the chassis and outer skins in time to meet the alpha prototype deadline.
The alpha prototype was designed and fabricated in record time. A list of design refinements to improve assembly and function were then built into the beta design and beta prototype. The design was then developed successfully for full production launch.
The new Bluebird xD gaming console was launched in the marketplace in less than 18 months, which was extraordinary considering that this console was a completely new platform. The project success was due to several factors.
First, as mentioned, there was seamless collaboration between the DI and WMS teams throughout the entire process. Second, there were multiple experienced senior project managers at both companies that oversaw the entire project and each key subsystem.
Next, the DI team was able to ramp up the number of mechanical engineers and industrial designers, as needed, to crank through a high number of parallel critical tasks to meet each milestone. Our design processes include the use of FMEA methodologies continuously throughout each project, so problems are solved before they happen and areas with a level of technical risk are addressed when discovered.
Making an Impact
The Bluebird xD gaming console was a success in the marketplace. At DI, we believe that collaborations between our teams and our clients’ teams give us the best chance of success. Our broad experience, fresh ideas, and innovative mindset, coupled with our clients’ experience in their core markets, lead to innovation, rapid project schedules, and bottom line results.
To capitalize on market opportuniites, rapid development schedules require cross-functional teamwork, fast prototype builds, expert project management, rapid problem solving techniques, and the ability to juggle priorities, manage scope changes, and make good decisions. Reach out to discuss how we can help to make an impact at your firm.
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