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.

Bioptigen Envisu Image System

Bioptigen, a technology leader in ophthalmology from Morrisville, North Carolina partnered with Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC to create the Envisu, a state-of-the-art OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). The Envisu is a system that produces detailed images of the internal structure of the eye for both clinical and research applications. 

Designers at Bioptigen needed to advance their product and they selected Porticos’s engineers for the design. Porticos optimized Envisu by utilizing the proprietary “engine,” while also mitigating annual production costs. 

Ultimately, Bioptigen considered a reduction in size & weight, with improved thermal performance and shock resistance. The designers also added the ability to disconnect specific components, which made the unit easier to build and service.

Porticos’ engineers partnered with multiple Bioptigen teams to identify the device’s most essential features, as well as areas that needed to be improved. Following multiple iterations of industrial design concepts and mockups, Porticos designed a new system that met all of the objectives.

This led to the creation of the probe interface module, which allowed interchanging the scanner probe in the base unit.  This module required adding a new connection point in the main optical fiber. The connection was executed with minimal signal loss and included a clever dust cover for the optical connection.

Separate optical and electronic modules were created, which were independently removable from the chassis for servicing.  This configuration assisted with assembly while a hinged electronics enclosure aided with debugging, allowing service personnel to access the interior while operating the unit.

A component layout was established to maximize thermal performance, and this was eventually coupled with the positive pressure fan cooling system. Hot swap hard disk drives were implanted, with custom shock mounts, rounding out the internals Bioptigen was looking for.

A unique optical fiber routing tray that accommodated an array of fiber lengths was fitted with size and weight distribution that, along with handholds in key locations, enabled disassembly of the unit to assist with portability during transport.

Porticos implemented lightweight and strong structural chassis, low-cost thermoformed covers, and removable spool to improve transportability, as well as adapted OEM medical cart to complete the system.

Overall, Porticos worked to improve product aesthetics and ergonomics, along with manufacturing methods compatible with a limited annual production volume and a simplified design. The engineers provided expertise with Design for Manufacturing (DFM), Design for Assembly (DFA), and Design for Service (DFS).

Porticos Designs High-Impact Shield Mount for Construction Equipment

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC. This project is an example of Porticos’ design and engineering expertise, crafting solutions for heavy industrial machinery and other heavy equipment.

For the operation of large construction equipment, such as an excavator or backhoe operator, shields are undeniably crucial and necessary to execute the operation of said machinery effectively. During the hammering operation at quarries and in mining sites, shields protect operators from debris, and keep them moving forward steadily on difficult terrain.

With so many different cab models, it can be extremely difficult to focus on suggesting a certain type of shield while respecting industry specifications. This is due to the variety in cab frames, the sizes of the cabs, and what those who are handling the machinery hope to gain from a shield. The geometry and curvature of the cab’s glass also has to be considered, along with the location and availability of bosses.

Many frame designs require a unique attachment strategy for each cab style—because of the variety in location, depth and the number of bosses welded onto a cab’s frame. This leads to distinct and obvious issues with parts, training, installation, cost, and more.

Porticos’ hardware engineering team sought to create shield mounts that could both be strong enough to protect operators, and flexible enough to accommodate multiple cab models. This innovative concept design required attention to the industrial standard, and an awareness of the mechanisms used to make the cabs themselves function above all else.

To solve this unique product design challenge for this particular heavy industrial machinery, Porticos worked with many industry partners. From there, Porticos’ hardware engineering team developed a distinctive mount—a combination of brackets with slotted holes, universal ball joints and threaded rods that enabled the shield to mount to the frame of any cab without any issues.

Through this process, Porticos was able to find the perfect solution to reduce the number of unique parts needed for the installation of a sheila, and make a modular kit that is flexible enough to accommodate the majority of the varied cab model styles.

Sleek New Design for Paper Product Dispensers

A new sleek, streamlined, and consistent look for paper product dispensers were designed and developed by Porticos engineers for the Von Drehle Corporation. The Porticos engineers were on board from concept through installation in customer locations.

Listening to their customers, the Von Drehle Corporation knew it was time to redesign and update the look of their paper product dispensers. They looked to the system engineers at Porticos who worked through multiple design requirements to fit various sizes and dimensions of products that could potentially be used in the new dispensers.

Product Design and Development Services

From initial ID sketches and requirements definition, prototype design and functional prototype testing, and all the way through to working with customer specified suppliers, Porticos met design challenges and tight deadlines to achieve an efficient, reliable, and attractive final product.

New Product Design for Paper Product Dispensers

The new designs have an improved locking mechanism for ease-of-use and high capacity towel and tissue capabilities which lessens the burden on maintenance staff.

Porticos product design example - Von Drehle tissue dispenser
New TranscendTM model. The twin jumbo dispenser is considered a controlled-use dispenser. It can only be used with von Drehle tissue to reduce waste, maintenance demands and costs, and holds almost 2,300 feet of soft 2-ply tissue.

White and a stainless finish are new color options in addition to the traditional black.

As an example of new product to the line is the Center Pull Towel Dispenser. This dispenser limits waste and cost by dispensing one towel at a time. This design also keeps the dispenser germ free and there will be never be a need to replace batteries. This design is perfect for kitchens, restrooms, food service areas, and anywhere a center pull towel dispenser works best.

For more information about this project, check out the case study here: Paper Product Dispensers Get a New Modern Look.

GPS for the rest of us: Porticos contributes product design to new, affordable asset-tracking device

When your inventory and your company assets are expensive, it’s good to know where they are and how they’re doing. But tracking devices can be bulky and cost prohibitive, meaning only the biggest of budgets can afford the luxury of resource tracking.

ViaTRAX QuickCheck Asset Management (VQAM) is the new solution: it’s a uniquely durable and cost-efficient GPS-based asset tracker, about the size of a deck of cards. Its affordability could bring the security and logistics of asset tracking to more industries than ever before. Built by the ViaTRAX Automation Corporation, VQAM is one of the smallest, longest lasting and simplest GPS asset trackers in the world, at a price in reach of small- to mid-size companies and individuals.

But because the device needed to be both small and capable, ViaTRAX Automation partnered with Porticos to develop the product’s plastic enclosure. ViaTRAX realized that to achieve the form factor and durability required, they needed to partner with companies experienced in developing rugged wireless devices.  Porticos and Device Solutions were the obvious choice to meet ViaTRAX’s development needs.

The ViaTRAX QuickCheck Asset Management (VQAM) is a uniquely durable and cost-efficient GPS-based asset tracker
Porticos delivered a robust weatherproof enclosure in an inconspicuous package.

The Porticos team had to meet very demanding product requirements for this design. The team had to ensure the plastic enclosure would keep the device small while also providing room for a battery, circuit board, sensors, and mounting flanges while maintaining a small footprint. Furthermore the device needed to meet ingress protection standard IP67 (waterproof to 1 meter and dust tight) while maintaining a discreet look.

“After decades in the tech industry, our core team has a lot of experience in software and business in general however we are relative newcomers to hardware design and manufacturing,” said Sean Webster, VP of Business Development. “Porticos has been so helpful in the design process. They were friendly, attentive to detail and helped us learn along the way. We are very pleased with the final design and are impressed with the final product.  We would not be where we are today without the help and expertise of Porticos.”

What makes the VQAM even more capable is that it can provide location information even when a GPS signal is unavailable,” explains Porticos Lead Project Manager Ludmila West. “In those situations, for example if the asset is inside a metal building, the VQAM switches from GPS location to using the cellular towers for location.”

The VQAM is a small, durable, battery powered GPS asset tracker which can be easily mounted to the asset.  It is built to operate for up to three years with periodic location and health reporting. Overall, this dynamic unit is ideal for inexpensive asset tracking across industries and consumer types.  The ViaTRAX VQAM is another example of how Porticos Designs Products for the way We’re Designed.

The ViaTRAX QuickCheck Asset Management (VQAM) is a uniquely durable and cost-efficient GPS-based asset tracker