Blending mechanical engineering & industrial design to create products people love to use.

What is product development?

New Product Development (NPD…often referred to as simply product development) refers to the art and science of creating new products through the disciplines of engineering, design, & manufacturing. The types of products that are created by NPD efforts can vary widely and include but are not limited to the following:

  • Consumer products (iPhone cases, toys, kitchen appliances, etc)
  • Medical devices (laparoscopic instruments, drug delivery devices, orthopedic tools, etc)
  • Commercial products (often more robust versions of consumer products)
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Military
  • Other…

In addition to our custom equipment, fixtures, & automation services, Pipeline has provided product development and product design services since 2009.

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The Product Development Process

Product development is an iterative process, often involving many cycles of design, prototyping, testing, and validation before the product is ready for production. Pipeline’s approach to this process is as follows:

  1. Initial consultation with customer; define scope of project and assess fit with Pipeline’s capabilities
  2. Develop proposal and review together with customer
  3. Following customer approval, begin design activities (Pipeline generally holds design reviews weekly with customers to ensure they are updated with project status and have ample opportunities to provide feedback as the product is designed)
  4. R&D (often involving crude mockups and prototypes to evaluate high level ideas and filter what works from what doesn’t)
  5. As the design matures, prototypes of increasing fidelity & detail are created and tested
  6. Once the design has matured and been successfully validated with prototyping, manufacturing documentation is created; this documentation is generally in the form of 2D drawings that include details not present in 3D CAD models such as critical tolerances, material callouts, surface finishes, colors, etc
  7. Manufacturing first articles
  8. Assembly & troubleshooting of first articles; revisions to manufacturing processes & tooling as/if needed
  9. Production manufacturing

The time required to complete product development projects depends largely on the complexity of the product being designed. A simple product may only take a few months while a complex product may take a year or more of development. Associated costs are similar, and even for a simple product, can start in the tens of thousands of dollars. Speaking of cost, there are two phases to be aware of when pursuing an NPD project: the first is the development phase, and the second is the manufacturing phase. These are generally handled by two separate entities (a design/engineering company, and a contract manufacturer) who work closely together. The manufacturing phase is often the more expensive of the two due to the costly tooling that is often needed for making the product, especially for a high volume product.

There are a few manufacturing processes commonly employed for making parts: CNC machining, plastic injection molding, sheetmetal fabrication, thermoforming, & increasingly, 3D printing (also referred to as “additive manufacturing”). Each of these processes requires intimate understanding on the part of the design engineer so the geometry of the parts can be engineered & optimized for its intended manufacturing process. Pipeline engineers are well versed in all common manufacturing processes and thus able to design for whatever process is best suited to the particular part/product.

New product development case studies

quickdraw-1

Design Solution

QUIKDRAW LENS HOLSTER PROJECT SUMMARY
Pipeline Design & Engineering created a quick release lens holster for the photography market. The device allows photographers to carry and easily access multiple lenses during a shoot.

TEAM:
Mechanical Engineer, Rapid Prototyping vendors
DESIGN TOOLS USED:
SolidWorks 3D CAD, FEA
MARKET:
Consumer Product

platinum-1

Design Solution

BEST IN CLASS CRAFT MACHINE PROJECT SUMMARY
Pipeline developed an all new aesthetic and mechanical design for Spellbinders new best in class machine.

TEAM:
Mechanical Engineer, Industrial Designer
DESIGN TOOLS USED:
SolidWorks 3D CAD, Photorealistic Rendering
MARKET:
Consumer Product

Need some Consumer
Product Design?

Pipeline Design & Engineering provides product development services
to established product companies, startups, inventors, and any other groups
with design & engineering needs. Please contact us today and let’s get started!

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