Product Design Firm Capabilities
Integrated Design Systems is an Industrial Design company with broad experience in the design and development of new products, with a focus on ergonomics, aesthetics, function and ease of manufacture.
Michael Paloian, the founder of Integrated Design Systems, is an industry authority in designing plastic products. He is an award-winning designer with expertise in materials and processes, enabling him to meet each client’s product function, cost and production requirements within budget. With years of experience in project management, our clients continue to return to us, recognizing our creativity and our ability to create designs that match their market requirements.
Extensive IDS capabilities include:
Most projects require initial design research which can take from a few hours, to weeks or even months. We will conduct product design interviews and travel to various facilities to meet potential users, note their preferences and understand their concerns. This is especially important for medical products. During our visits, we may identify potential improvements in the manufacturing process by eliminating parts and simplifying assembly steps, or just improving quality.
This research will identify the scope of the project. This could entail:
- Creating a completely new product for an existing or a new market. These are typically the most exciting and most interesting projects, though they may be the most expensive.
- Designing an update to the appearance and function of a product. This might include a modern look for an existing product, a concept rendering, or a complete production-ready design.
- Considering an improvement to a product’s functionality and its quality, or provide a cost reduction. These engineering projects are focused on improving performance or lowering costs to comply with updated specifications.
Concepts typically start after our initial research has been completed. This could be on cocktail napkins, envelopes, sketch books, computers or whatever is handy. This is a critical portion of the overall project and forms the foundation on which the subsequent phases are built. This phase requires a combination of imagination and practical thinking. Concepts are expressed using a range of media, from pencil sketches to clay, foam, wood and mechanical components. Conversations can help the process along.
Our emphasis on concept development typically requires us to shed all preconceptions and explore ideas which elegantly satisfy as many design objectives as possible. Whether the design is unique or brand appropriate, exciting or just unexpected, we attempt to express its essence in its appearance, in its identity and in its function. The range of concepts developed in this phase will ensure the client’s involvement in defining a design direction. His choices will confirm buy-in to that direction.
The one or two concepts selected at the end of the Concept Development phase are now refined with a higher level of detail. The product size, its application and functions may be considered in greater detail. In some instances, we may focus on color treatment and graphics. Handheld products, and those with critical mechanical features, may require structural analysis. This can minimize material usage and maximize strength and reliability. This detailed examination will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each concept and allow a final choice to be made.
Typically, the design direction will be verified with computer images and then 3D models. These can range from simple foam core models to printed SLA models and even functional mechanical prototypes.
Our objective is to refine the selected design concept to a level sufficient for us to be confident that the design can reach the production stage without significant changes.
Innovative design is not confined to the concept stages, and an equal level of creativity is applied to the engineering of the components. Successfully transforming a design concept into a fully functional product requires exceptional engineering skills across a variety of disciplines. The diverse portfolio of products generated by Integrated Design Systems demonstrates our abilities to solve problems in many areas. These include fluids, pressures, stresses, material selection, fatigue analysis, heat transfer and radiation.
Computer simulation technology is frequently applied to evaluate design and load conditions. The resulting data can be used to produce test procedures to verify product performance. Prototypes may also designed to represent the materials, loads and temperatures of a final product or assembly. The advantage of this analysis is that technical verification can be done well before a design is completed.
Compared to other product design firms, we can offer major engineering advantages in: multidisciplinary engineering; creative engineered solutions; knowledge of plastics materials; cost effective prototypes for testing and verification. We have found that integrating engineering, industrial design and product design at every level of development leads to reliable, high-quality products that become market leaders.
This is one the most critical phases in design engineering, as failures here could result in product recalls, litigation, and significant costly production delays. Design for manufacturing can be complex and the requirements can change from one vendor to the next. To prevent this, we incorporate checks into the engineering process and communicate frequently with the manufacturers.
Production detailing requires in-depth knowledge of the technologies, benefits and limitations of each manufacturing process. Tolerances, shrinkage and warpage will all affect quality. Secondary operations and finishing specifications will impact cost.
Although 3-D CAD technology has revolutionized product design, designers must still understand the nuances and methods associated with the manufacturing processes they have specified for the individual parts. Although every manufacturing process has industry standards, we believe designers must become partners with their vendors during the early stages of development to assure a seamless transition from CAD design to a finished high-quality production part. This design philosophy and cooperative development is at the core of our thinking and integral to the production detailing phase of design.
Prototyping & Testing
Before a design is released for production, it is often tested and evaluated based on a set of performance criteria. These are derived from product specifications established during the Phase 1 research. Prototypes are created from a number of fabrication options.
Rapid prototyping is a frequently selected option because of low cost, precision, and most importantly, speed of delivery. Today, there is a wide choice in rapid prototyping products and services and the final selection will be based on the method which best satisfies the specific application.
Often, prototypes must be tested based on specific plastic materials. This will require parts to be CNC machined or injection-molded using prototype molds. Sheet-metal prototypes, machined metal parts as well as large fabricated plastic prototypes have all been utilized at one time or another during our product development.
The devil is in the details, and in some areas, like medical devices, there are a lot of details. These must all be documented. Since production parts are typically cut directly from our CAD files, the production drawings will show only overall or critical dimensions. This will allow an efficient inspection, identifying only those dimensions critical to the form, fit and function of the part or assembly. The assembly drawings will include exploded views illustrating how complex assemblies are to be assembled. Notes include special instructions for applying adhesives, torque levels for screws, placement of labels, and other procedures that are of important to the overall performance of the product.
Point in fact: We often include a number of assembly drawings which typically contain exploded views illustrating how complex assemblies are to be assembled. Notes include special instructions for applying adhesives, torque levels for screws, placement of labels, and other procedures that are of critical important to the overall performance of the product in development.
Our extensive experience provides many advantages for our clients over other, worthy, product design companies, from small to multi-national product design firms. One of the reasons our clients return to us is that we continue to coordinate with them and their vendors until the goals are met.
Our design consulting services do not end with a simple transfer of files. Production startup will frequently encounter unpredictable problems with plastic parts. These could include shrink, warp and distortion which could result in assembly problems.
Where these issues occur, our expertise is invariably called on to resolve them. Predictable problems, like sink marks, will have been factored into the design and pre-empted during the design cycle. Our design methodology strives to maintain production consistency and high-yield rates. Manufacturing techniques are recommended to suit the chosen vendors.
Because we’ve worked on hundreds of plastic products, our rule is that a product can only be considered ready for production release after it has been thoroughly tested and inspected from first article production samples.
Our design philosophy is based on a seamless transition of development steps. These start with the initial idea and finish with a perfect, high-quality, production device. While there are a number of product design agencies which can provide some of the services required to create a new product, there are few with the range and experience Integrated Design Systems can offer.