Most products require a synthesis of electronic, software, and mechanical engineering to realize both a vision and a business plan. Porticos has deep experience crossing the borders between engineering disciplines and business imperatives. Some of the tools we use to maintain a System Engineering mindset include:
- A detailed Work Breakdown Structure (AKA: WBS or Gantt Chart) that allows different engineering disciplines to align their efforts.
- A Risk Register that keeps the team as efficient as possible. Work on what matters most.
- Progressively more sophisticated prototypes that demonstrate how all the many specific efforts combine to a unified product.
- Requirements Tracking to keep the evolving technical expectations in one place.
- Validation Plan that explains how we and our clients can be sure that those requirements have been met.
- Failure Mode Effects Analyses, or FMEA. Porticos will perform FMEA addressing both design opportunities (D/FMEA) and manufacturing or process concerns (P/FMEA). Our clients frequently participate in these events.
Industrial Design is all about how a user interacts with a device, or how a device influences a human being. It incorporates aesthetics, ergonomics, user-interface, and feature set. There is more to this than style. Good design must be considerate. It must make things better for the device user.
EXAMPLE: A USB-C connector is reversible. Achieving that feature was more difficult for the engineers, but enormously considerate of the billions of users.
Some of our clients prefer to define the Industrial Design parameters themselves, retaining Porticos only to provide technical “product realization.” But many of our clients rely on Porticos to help define the vision: the shapes, controls, and general behaviors that make their product great.
Embedded Control Development of firmware (C, C++, etc.) for custom control systems or modifications to existing designs. Real Time Operating System (RTOS) implementation as well as bare-metal designs are supported.
System Integration: USB and network interface programming to support data transfer, system updates, and remote monitoring.
Algorithm Design: Software custom algorithm development to support standard and custom control functionality related to sensor interfacing and control, network system integration, or any unique functionality your product may require.
Verification and Validation: Software requirements, verification and validation testing, traceability documentation and testing.
- Architecture. One of the most important pieces of any design is establishing how each part will work together in the overall product or system. This includes a proper grounding scheme, noise reduction techniques for regulatory compliance (FCC), and safety considerations (UL, TUV, FDA, etc.). A good architecture also ensures the most efficient design with the lowest possible cost of goods (COGS).
Circuit Design. Our engineers have broad expertise comprising digital and analog circuits for new products, and improvements to existing circuits. We have broad combined experience designing with a variety of MCUs, DSPs, FPGAs, SoCs and other special purpose ICs. We develop custom circuits of all shapes and sizes, whether the product is a small wearable IoT device requiring a compact battery charging circuit on a rigid flex circuit board or a high voltage application requiring power isolation and shielding.
- Sensor Integration. We develop circuits to interface with analog or digital sensor technologies to measure physical parameters: Temperature, humidity, pressure, proximity, position, velocity, vibration, sound, light, touch, and orientation.
Communication. Porticos has deep knowledge of hardware interfaces to LAN, WAN, WiFi networks, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Zigbee, Modbus and other less-common protocols. Board-level communication includes Ethernet, Ethercat, USB, I2C, SPI, CAN, RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 interface design.
PCB Design and Layout. We are continually engaged in Circuit Board design for implementation of circuits in custom products. Using software tools such as Altium and Cadence, we provide rapid development of custom PCBs including standard FR4, Flex, Rigid-Flex, and MCPCB (Metal Core). This, along with our mechanical and thermal management capabilities, allows a seamless and elegant design of your custom product.
Box Builds. Certain products and systems require industrial or panel mount boxes which house things like relays, terminal strips, and other power electronics. Larger box builds may include a wire harness to cut down on much of the labor involved with individual cables or wires.
- Design for Manufacturing and Design for Assembly. DFM and DFA are critical to realizing the business goals that support any new product. If a device is to be economical, it must be nearly possible to manufacture it consistently. Custom parts are designed for manufacturing processes appropriate to projected volumes. Those parts are designed to go together only one way, minimizing the skill required to construct a unit. Really good design also promotes calibration and end-of-line testing to make sure that inadequate units never make their way to the supply chain.
- Injection Molding. Complex plastic parts can be perfectly optimized for an application. Achieving that optimization requires a deep understanding of the processes and the materials. Our experts are intimately familiar with two-shot molding, overmolding, insert-molding, and other techniques. We apply this same expertise to die-casting and other net-shape processes.
Computer Aided Engineering. Porticos engineers perform simulations to evaluate performance of parts and assemblies. Finite Element Analysis permits structural optimization (strength/stiffness) and also tells us how the product will respond to vibrations. Computational Fluid Dynamics (see Specialized Capabilities) simulates the interaction of fluid flow and heat transfer; invaluable in thermal or fluidics systems.
Computer Aided Design. CAD is ubiquitous in Product Development. Porticos utilizes both Solidworks and Creo. Our engineers follow well-defined protocols for revision control, design-review, and change orders to ensure that we are both efficient and comprehensive. If the native CAD is a deliverable then we make sure it is flawless upon delivery.
Electromechanical Integration. Most products include components that are electronic in nature, but mechanically challenging to implement. Examples include touch-display, connectors, microphone, speaker, camera, buttons, and antennas. Porticos engineers have decades of experience in this aspect of Product Engineering.
- Motion Control. Products with moving parts require expertise in kinematics (mechanism synthesis) and also with actuation, sensing, and power transmission. Design of custom mechanisms to achieve compact, cost-effective products is a point of pride. Gear-trains, timing belts, linkages, and custom cam profiles are all within our capabilities.
- Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer. Porticos has engineered numerous products that rely on some type of phase-change. Our long experience in this area has allowed us to provide valuable services to some of the largest companies in the world, as well as both the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. Whether the goal is to equip a soldier, make an ice cube, or compress superheated steam, Porticos has the knowledge and the background to do it well.
Work With Us.
Our core values are Innovation, Trust, Community, Teamwork, and Experience. We’re not just focused on our business but also sharing our talents as we work with others. This way, we are able to provide end-to-end engineering solutions that drive results. Connect with us below to learn more and get your product to market!