Product upgrades lead engineers to a time-old issue of balance: how to maintain a unit’s quality and function while upgrading its aesthetics, size, and affordability? Porticos specializes in mechanical design, but a recent upgrade project showed Porticos’ ability to complete total product designs, meeting the hardware, software, mechanical, and aesthetic needs for a one-of-a-kind gas cylinder communications unit redesign.

Wright Brothers, Inc. is a nationwide supplier of high-performance specialty gases. When the company desired a new, smaller version of their gas cylinder sensor unit, they came to Porticos with their design and mechanical challenge. Wright Brothers, Inc. requested that the upgraded product retain the internal electronics from the existing design to save on development costs. But the rest of the upgraded unit—from its aesthetics to its size to its mounting options—needed improvement. Porticos engineers kept important product features in mind, like great antenna reception, durable weatherproof casing, and low production cost, while meeting these upgrade challenges.

Senior Design Engineer Mike King described how Porticos developed and shared design possibilities. “3D CAD ‘virtual models’ allowed the client to visualize the product appearance and scale without the need to build models,” said Mike. “Once the final concept was selected, we procured rapid prototype models so the client could assess their new design hands-on.”

Mounting Features

One major component request was for mounts to attach the unit to a wall using screws. Porticos engineers found a way to combine screw holes into simple zip-tie mounting features, keeping the look clean and making the product more versatile. Standard o-rings were used to keep costs low while effectively sealing the perimeter of the unit and the screw heads.

To complete hardware and software requirements, Porticos partnered with engineering consultants at Device Solutions. Porticos’ revised product design kept the tooling simple to reduce cost, specifying tooling inserts to allow molding different versions of parts and connectors, and branding options.

Porticos also managed to keep this development on a strict schedule. “From the time the final concept was selected, the production design and sourcing was completed in a month,” said Mike.

The new gas cylinder sensor unit shows another way that Porticos turns good ideas into great products.

Finished Unit

About Porticos — Porticos, Inc. is a mechanical engineering and product development company located in Research Triangle Park, NC. Established in 2003, Porticos continues to produce innovative and effective solutions for its clients and the markets they serve. Porticos, Inc. provides mechanical design, analysis, research and development services to clients including Dell, Motorola, Raytheon, and many others. For more information on how Porticos “turns good ideas into great products,” please visit www.porticos.net

About Wright Brothers, Inc. — Wright Brothers, Inc. produces, sells and distributes high-performance specialty gases to Northeastern, Central, Southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. As a leader in bioscience, research and industrial gas services, Wright Brothers is committed to finding innovative and cost-effective solutions for our customers and for the industry. For more information about how the company brings new gas solutions to a large base of dynamic industries, including healthcare, food and beverage, floral, electronics, energy, and manufacturing, please visit www.wrightbros.com