Porticos Produces Rugged Pistol Grip

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, continues to revolutionize in the world of hardware engineering and innovative technology development. One of Porticos’ most innovative projects to date is their involvement in the development of a rugged pistol grip.

Symbol Technologies, an American manufacturer and worldwide supplier of mobile data capture and delivery equipment, headquartered in Holtsville, NY, is currently a subsidiary of Zebra Technologies (Lincolnshire, IL). When Symbol Technologies came to Porticos’ hardware engineers, the pistol grip accessory proved to be an engineering and concept modeling challenge. It was a challenge Porticos was excited to meet and execute, as well as a project that remained in line with Porticos’ area of expertise.

Mechanical Concept Design

In order to most effectively create the ergonomic geometry required for the rugged pistol grip, a high-proficiency pro engineer was necessary. From an engineering perspective, it was essential for the pistol grip to pass the rugged testing that Symbol Technologies’ products have a reputation for.

In addition to the necessity to pass a ruggedness test, the interface to the main unit had to simple yet secure, while also accommodating the large number of critical interfaces. Porticos’ hardware engineers provided all of the mechanical design concept and executed the development of this product, all the way up to the successful transition to the production manufacturing source.

Porticos is proud to be part of such an innovative, essential project, and continues to shrive to create forward-thinking technology that will make as much of a mark in 40 years as it does today.

Symbol Technologies was ultimately satisfied with the concept design and execution of the rugged pistol grip, and it is currently being used in today’s market. Porticos’ hardware engineers was happy to collaborate with Symbol Technologies and offer up their expertise to ensure the production of the product was what would best suit consumers and the company overall.

Porticos Engineers Rugged Laptop

Dell, a popular developer of computers and other innovative technology, wanted to develop a ruggedized variant of a product from their laptop computer line. They turned to Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, for their expertise in this area.

Latitude ATG Development Challenges

The Latitude ATG is a tough, All-Terrain Grade laptop designed for industries like construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, as well as public organizations such as police forces. Built and tested to meet MIL-STD 810F—a tough military standard of durability—the Latitude ATG is designed to meet almost any physical challenge and the most demanding work environments.

Porticos’ hardware design engineers have ample experience designing products to meet the MIL-810F requirements and a history of supporting Dell on other projects, and was honored to design the ATG.

The two most challenging aspects of the ATG project were isolation of the hard drive and display, and designing the hinge and latch systems to accommodate the new design. What made the hard drive even more difficult a task was the need for it to fit into the same space currently allocated in the non-ATG D620 Latitude platform. The solution was to take a physically smaller Hitachi hard drive, and design a protective case that would function as the interface to the existing electrical connections. This also effectively protected the hard drive from shock and vibration.

The hard drive with it’s mated rigid flex was secured in a frame molded from EAR Specialty C8002 isolation material, then sandwiched between two sheets of 3M “G Sheet.” To meet the thickness limitations while still addressing stiffness goals, a titanium stamping was mated to a magnesium casting to form the mechanical enclosure. Similar isolation solutions were chosen to support the display.

After modeling the hinge mechanism and latches in Pro-Engineer, Porticos’ hardware engineers conducted finite element analysis (FEA) using the COSMOS analysis tool. The design was optimized to address high-stress areas, and the results were shared with the manufacturing source.

In addition to the structural analysis conducted, Failure Mode Effect and Analysis (FMEA) and Design For Assembly (DFA) were conducted. The feedback was then incorporated into the final Pro-E 3D CAD geometry and drawings.

With its shock-mounted, removable hard drive, shock-mounted LCD screen, a dust and spill-resistant keyboard, port covers and highly durable, textured paint to protect against scratches, scuffs and daily wear, the Latitude ATG is prepared for life working in the field.

The Smallest BioMedical System

Porticos and Device Solutions worked closely to optimize placement efficiency to create the smallest BioMedical system package possible. This was especially important for both units because power consumption needs to support a 30-day transmission period, which is provided by a large battery cell.

Ambulatory ECG Monitoring System Product Development

BioMedical Systems (now part of ERT), has been providing medical data analysis and support for physicians and their patients for nearly 40 years. They saw a need for a mobile cardiac telemetry system that could take advantage of their sophisticated arrhythmia analysis software, record the data and transmit that information in real time to a group of certified cardiac technicians. To make their vision a reality, they came to Porticos and Device Solutions—one of Porticos’ partners—who experienced in hardware and software development for wireless devices. Herein, the TruVue™ product was born.

The TruVue™ system consists of a patient-worn ECG recording device, a hand-held device that receives and analyzes the information from the recording device. The device then transmits the real-time data to the BioMedical Systems headquarters in St. Louis, where the data is analyzed further and formatted for easy access by the physician.

Porticos’ hardware engineers created the 3D CAD data using Unigraphics software. Bluetooth was chosen as the wireless communication protocol between the patient-worn device and the hand-held device, while GSM-based-cellular was used to transmit between the hand-held and the cardiac center.

In order to minimize detuning of the chip antenna in the patient-worn device, snap features were incorporated into the PC/ABS housings to limit the need for metal assembly hardware. FEA was conducted in Ansys to ensure snap features would remain secure during normal use and drop scenarios.

One of the unique features for the hand-held was the keypad. In order to support the user interface and reduce confusion to the patient, the keys had to be individually backlit and, at the same time, isolated from the surrounding keys. This way, as the menu options changes on the display, only the keys applicable for those options would be lit. The result is deceptively simple-looking keypad, that integrates mechanical and software user interface to create an intuitive and positive experience for the patient.

Hardware Production Results

Thanks to the hard work of Porticos and Device Solutions, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Biomedical Systems 510(k) clearance to market TruVue™, a truly wireless ambulatory ECG monitoring system. Additionally, TruVue™ has made its mark as the industry’s first cardiac Mobile Telemetry system that analyzes, records and transmits every heartbeat for up to 30 days.

Porticos Develops RFID Reader

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, has developed many products for the Sirit—currently owned by 3M—portfolio. The RFID reader unit displayed is a good example of the type of products Porticos’ hardware engineers are not only capable of conceptualizing, but producing.

Product Design Concept

The harsh industrial environment in which items such as RFID readers can be developed require IP protection. To ensure IP protection, effectively securing the safety of consumers in the future, Porticos’ hardware engineers prioritized the ability to test the RFID reader in a safe environment. They worked hard allow space in their process for trial and error, while not sacrificing the security of the project overall.

The electronic functionality requires complete RF isolation from the outside world, as well as between the digital and RF sections inside of the unit. The high-power output for the transmitter required creative thermal management solutions. During the design concept process, Porticos kept in mind the need to execute all requirements while not jeopardizing the cost, time spent in production, or build quality.

Their solution was to integrate 3 separate sections—RF, Digital and Power Supply—within the enclosure design. Porticos’s hardware engineer team conducted a thermal analysis to determine the most efficient means of handling the heat dissipation without requiring force cooling, otherwise known as fans. The resulting housings were die cast aluminum, with secondary operations for the cosmetics and critical sealing surfaces. These housings were manufactured by Porticos’ partner Funfiek.

The final product passed all radiated emissions and thermal tests with no issues. This resulted in the implementation of the reader into products on the market today. RFID readers are quickly becoming the most necessary piece of technology that many companies are looking to integrate into their products.

Porticos is proud to have worked diligently on such an essential, innovative piece of technology that is essential for the future.

Porticos Delivers Needle-Free Vaccines

BD Technologies and Innovation, who create next-generation technologies in Durham, NC, developed a needle-free vaccine delivery system as part of a grant supported by the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. To be viable in small villages within developing countries—which, more times than not, is where the greatest need lies—the system cannot require the use of refrigeration or electricity of any sort and it must be simple to administer by minimally-trained personnel.

Also, the system must be effective on children, ages 1-4—who are not capable of cooperation—or adults, and must be effectively kept safe from spreading disease, which can be done easily by not allowing re-use. Finally, the system must be relatively compact for shipping, it cannot require any special means of disposal, and, most importantly of all, it must have a cost-per-unit dose equal to, or, less than, existing injection methods. This posed as a grand challenge for hardware engineers.

BD Technologies turned to Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, for innovative product engineering to help its team develop the delivery system that could be tested in Phase I clinical trials. Porticos’ hardware engineering team provided new thinking and insight to discover simple solutions that were easy to prototype for laboratory testing, ultimately helping BD extend its intellectual property based on the Solovent platform.

The process Porticos took to get to this point was keeping in mind the core needs of BD while emphasizing the need for fast, flawless production, accuracy in the findings of the testing process, and continuing to elevate the need for simplicity.

The approach Porticos ultimately pursued was aerosolizing a dose of powdered vaccine for inhalation, using a simple device constructed of basic yet effective materials. BD utilized its Solovent unit’s dry dose powder inhaler (DPI) platform to aerosolize the powder, and needed a means of containing the cloud of vaccine, while simultaneously providing an interface for effective delivery to patients.

Because of the efficiency of Porticos’ engineers and the concept design behind the entire process, BD Technologies was able to effectively execute their desire for a needle-free vaccine delivery system, and it is cost-effective, not dependent on electricity, and able to be administered by even the most inexperienced personnel.

Porticos, Inc. Announces Porticool Spin-Off

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — Porticos, Inc. today announced the formation of Porticool, Inc., a spin-off company that will focus on microclimate cooling technology.

Porticos began developing personal cooling technologies more than three years ago, with the intent to aid public-safety and emergency-response professionals whose duties put them at high risk of heat-stress. At-risk individuals include firefighters, HazMat specialists, and bomb-disposal units. According to Kevin Carpenter, Chief Engineer at Porticos, “Anybody wearing protective gear is susceptible — the better the protection, the more severe the heat-stress. A garment that keeps chlorine or viruses out will definitely keep heat in.”

Some of the early research was funded by the Department of Homeland Security. That research indicated that it would be feasible to develop a personal cooling system suitable for highly mobile and fully encumbered emergency responders. Asked about timing of the spin-off, Tom Jazwa, President of the newly-formed Porticool explained “We reached a milestone. We have moved out of the research-phase and into product implementation. The prototypes work well, and they demonstrate that we can achieve the desired size, weight, and performance. Furthermore, it has become apparent that the Porticool PCS can be of great benefit in other applications.”

Porticos will continue to provide engineering expertise as the Porticool organization consults with interested parties to determine the form-factor of the final products. Porticool, Inc. intends to make the flagship Personal Cooling System available to emergency-responders and commercial/industrial specialists in early 2008. Military versions as well as other innovative cooling technologies are in the pipeline.

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