Engineering Design

As a highly skilled team of Design Engineers, we readily apply engineering principles in order to develop well considered design solutions. Our knowledge encompasses: design for manufacture; mechanical assemblies; stress and strain; fluid and thermodynamics; acoustics; heat transfer; thermal expansion; electronic hardware and software design. Many of these aspects can be simulated in a virtual environment; however, we often take a pragmatic approach and will fully validate your design through rigorous prototyping and testing. We combine technical expertise with creative thinking so that the products we develop meet relevant safety standards; are appropriate for the intended life time of use; exceed customer expectations; and are ultimately fit for purpose.

Our team has experience in the following specialist areas of product engineering:

3D CAD & Analysis
Design for Manufacture
Acoustic Engineering
Electronics & Software
Mechanical Assemblies
Fluid & Thermal

Our Approach

  • Foresight

    We will clearly define the scope of your project. Understand the target user group and identify any potential technical, commercial or intellectual property barriers that may prevent your product from getting to market.

  • Concept

    We will generate an array of design ideas that address your project brief and present them in digital sketch format. A strong focus will be placed on adding value to the product by understanding the user’s needs.

  • Development

    A preferred concept will be developed in order to create a refined design solution. Even at this early stage, we will consider the intended manufacturing process; material; finish; assembly process; and disposal method.

  • Detail

    Once a final design has been selected, we will create a detailed 3D CAD model of your product. If your device requires custom electronics, this will be developed concurrently to the mechanical element of the design.

  • Prototype

    Using the latest technologies, we can build a full working prototype of your product. Such a high fidelity demonstrator can be used to communicate the product benefits to investors and obtain quality user feedback.

  • Optimise

    This phase is dedicated to preparing your product for manufacture; ensuring that all 3D CAD models are fully optimised and that critical to quality (CTQ) features are properly specified using an engineering drawing.

  • Certify

    It is likely that your product will require accreditation, which can be obtained from a number of certified bodies following rigorous testing. We can advise on relevant third parties capable of supporting product approvals.

  • Manufacture

    We have established a network of manufacturing partners in the UK and Far East. Via this network, we are able to produce your product and supply it fully assembled and tested to a given standard of quality.

Case Study: LiftBuddy

LiftBuddy specialise in the supply of lifting aids for the construction industry. Their flagship product was born out of the need to safely lift, transport and install fire doors. The company recognised a gap in the market where existing devices were unable to accommodate different door thickness or the load of larger fire doors.

The aim of this project was to create a lifting handle that was robust and would allow safe repeatable use. For this reason, the design could not incorporate moving parts that would be subjected to failure over time. This was particularly challenging as the device needed to function with a broad range of doors.

The final product was based on a three-handle design. The door is placed in between the outer and inner handles; manually levering the device upwards firmly grips the door, enabling it to be safely lifted. A positional difference between each of the outer grips allows the handle to accommodate different door thickness without the need for adjustment.

The powder coated mild steel construction incorporates hardwearing thermoplastic rubber handles capable of absorbing shock and abrasive use. Extensive Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and physical product testing was carried out to ensure LiftBuddy was able to accommodate maximum lifting forces.

Success Factors

Having engineered a vast number of products from concept right through to production, we have identified a series of success factors that are common across the projects we have delivered:

1. Calculate your return-on-investment: developing a new product should be approached with the intention of generating revenue. At the basis should be a simple calculation that underpins the decision to initiate any new design project. This calculation should consider: the potential number of units to be sold per annum based on the market size/demand; the retail price of each unit; the profit accumulated per unit; the number of units to be sold before a return on the initial investment can be realised. Establishing these figures at the start of a new product development project will make decisions to be confidently made as the potential ROI is clearly defined.

2. Identify the target user group: establishing a coherent profile of the target user is crucial. Key factors such as age; gender; profession; life style; and social status should all be considered. Understanding the user in this level of detail will help design decisions to be made more easily. For example, should the product be manufactured from sustainable materials as the user values this aspect; or should the product demonstrate a design language that is on trend within a particular market sector? This understanding with inform the product development process and ultimately influence the commercial success of your product.

3. Define your route to market: there are many ways to commercialise a product and it is wise to establish how this will be achieved as it will ultimately affect your target unit price and profit margin. Some possible routes to market include: direct sales using platforms such as eBay and Amazon, or sales through your own website with traffic being driven from social media platforms. Large retailers may be interested in stocking your product but often request a large profit share and prefer to stock more than one product from a single supplier. Small retailers can often provide a higher level of flexibility with some even offering ‘sale or return’ terms. This means that they will stock your product for a given period of time and return the units if not sold. Licensing a new product to a retailer or manufacturer is also a possible option that many are keen to pursue. This can involve signing over the intellectual property to a third party and them paying you a royalty fee for each unit sold. This limits the responsibility of the product originator but also limits the financial return.

Marco Cable Management are the UKs leading manufacturer of steel wire cable tray and uPVC trunking. Our products are suitable for use within a variety of building environments and are used to manage large amounts of telecommunication cables. ITERATE visited our site, understood our manufacturing capabilities and carried out a detailed market analysis to identify new product opportunities – outlining the design and production costs associated with developing a number of new products.

Grahame AustinOperations ManagerMarco Cable Management

How Can We Help?

We love working with ambitious clients, solving technical challenges and creating great medical products that achieve commercial success. If you would like to discuss your project, please email gethin@iterate-uk.com or call 01291 442181.