Porticos Creates Dell Convertible Computer Concepts

 

Dell, a longtime leader in technology and the fast production of hardware and software that provide quality products for businesses and consumers alike, recently sought ideation and creative brainstorming for a new project. This project aimed to generate multiple concepts for a convertible-type computing device that would be larger than a traditional smartphone, but different from typical tablet devices and other convertible products currently on the market. Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, held multiple brainstorming sessions with Dell, which resulted in more than 14 concept designs being picked for further refinement to create the final product.

Dell Convertible Concepts diagram

Brainstorming and Concept Development in Support of Product Differentiation

Porticos’s hardware engineers were requested to generate multiple concepts for a convertible-type computing device by Dell, that would be larger than a traditional smartphone, but different from typical tablet PC devices or other convertible products currently on the market. There was emphasis placed on developing concepts for a differentiated input method, and convertibility for multiple use cases and configurations.

To accomplish the requirements from Dell in the quick, efficient way that Porticos’ hardware engineers work in, they held multiple brainstorming sessions that generated more than 14 concept designs. These concept designs were then reviewed with Dell, to make sure all parties were aware and on board with down selection and refinement. Then, the selected concepts were refined, and Porticos’ hardware engineers worked with partners of Porticos to create highly cosmetic prototypes that Dell used to conduct internal reviews and user studies.

Dell Convertible Concepts prototype

Porticos is proud to have partnered with Dell on this project, and to have once again had a hand in driving new, innovative technology into the hands of businesses and consumers. Our hardware engineers’ commitment to fast, quality work and ensuring the needs of our partners are consistently and throughly met every time they are requested to work with another company is how we reiterate our love for technology and innovation.

Porticos Helps Create Mail Insertion System

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, partnered with technology and service innovators, Bell & Howell on the creation of The Ascender 16. The Ascender 16 is a mail insertion system that can insert a variety of shades of sizes as it pertains to mail and packages. Porticos’ hardware engineers collaborated on the development of the 4920 Format Turn Module for the Ascender 16 system itself.

This module makes the changeover process more efficient and accurate. The system’s changeover from a letter mail job to a flat mail job used to require time and a knowledgeable system operator, but this module reduces changeover need, and the amount of time needed to ensure the safe and reliable insertion of mail.

Module Hardware Design Specifications

The 4920 Format Turn Module contains a feed-through mode—or a “no turn” mode—which feeds unfolded and folded material with dimensions from 3″ to 12″ in length, and up to 0.25″ in width, or thickness. The module itself fits inside the Ascender system in the place of a previously used module, but adds no increase in size while also providing all the functions of the old module in addition to the format change capability that the module brings forward.

Porticos’ hardware engineers produced a software to accompany the module that is reconfigurable to either feed material straight through, or rotate flat stock material 90 degrees. The module is able to handle up to 1/4″ of materials that are 8.5 x 11 or A4, and turns 10,000 cycles per hour.

Concept Design Highlights

Porticos’ hardware design engineers originally faced some surface speed variations between belts and rollers, which posed as a challenge to consistent feeding. However, carefully tuning pulley sizes during prototype testing resulted in smooth operation.

Attention to all inertias and motor capabilities were important in the design concept. To accomplish the turn, the system is required to decelerate each packet from a transport speed of 150 inches per second, to a full stop. From there, it rotates 90 degrees then accelerates back to 150 inches per second. All of this occurs in about 1/4 of a second. Porticos was able to forsee the frictional characteristics and the durability of the rollers that accomplish the format changes were critical for proper operation. This then gave Porticos the foresight to carefully select materials, specialized coatings, and roller configuration. Overall, this led to a design that could precisely accomplish rotating the material 90 degrees while enduring long-term testing.

Porticos worked with Bell & Howell to develop the original, state-of-the-art Solix™ Mail Tray Loader, which handles up to 30,000 envelopes per hour. The revolutionary Ascender 16 system now has a module that enhances one of its more difficult processes, thanks to teamwork, innovation, and experience within Porticos’ hardware engineering team and concept design expertise.