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.

Fiercely Small: Porticos Helps Design Radios that Channel Durability and Portability

Police need reliable technology that can work overtime. Fire responders need loud, clear communication tools that work in any environment. EMS need multiple communication channels, so they’re always accessible. They all need their equipment to be as tough as the people using them.

But just like the rest of us, emergency responders also need their technology to be portable. When Harris, a leader in communications technology, was ready to work on the development of a smaller, LTE-capable portable radio, Porticos was proud to answer the call.

Harris has been a leader in radio technology for over 80 years, meaning many of Harris’ customers have already purchased accessories for other radio series. They knew that the new radios would need to remain backward compatible with these accessories while channeling cutting-edge advancements in size, durability, and quality.

The radio would have to offer the best in communications technology, including extended battery life, superior audio quality, plus GPS, Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi, and LTE capability.

Most important, they would need to be built tough: sealed against water, protected against drops, and ready to work in fast-paced, sometimes dangerous environments. Furthermore the radios needed to be easily upgradeable to allow the customer to take advantage of LTE technology or upgrade from single-band to full-spectrum at their convenience.

Balancing the need for durability and portability is a challenge that Porticos has met before. Porticos team members focused on each aspect of the design to ensure that the modular construction wouldn’t impact the durability. For example, in order to meet this project’s goals for extended and upgradeable battery life, Porticos developed an external, replaceable battery with an innovative latch system that is both easy to remove in the field and durable enough to stay in place during harsh use. This allows for easy battery replacement in the field or upgrades to higher capacity batteries for customers who need it.

Product Design for Durability“We tested the product in some incredibly harsh environments to ensure that these radios will be reliable in the field,” said Porticos engineer Mike Kiplinger.

With the end customers in mind, the Porticos team also spent a lot of time considering ergonomics. As a result the radios’ side buttons and top switches were designed to be easy to operate and replace, but also reliable enough to stay in place during use.

Porticos is proud to have been chosen by Harris as a development partner and of our ability to achieve world class results by developing the smallest full-spectrum LTE-capable portable radio on the planet; the Harris XL-200P.

They Made It! Congratulations to the successful Scott Expedition

On the morning of Friday, February 7th, Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere completed, for the first time ever, the ill-fated journey of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s iconic Terra Nova expedition. It took the Team 105 days to trek the 1,795 mile feat that Captain Scott and his men died attempting over 100 years ago.

The Team was able to share their journey with the world through their public blog at http://scottexpedition.com/blog. In order to publish from Antarctica, they needed unique satellite equipment. Porticos worked with Iridium to customize the Pilot™, a satellite antenna array dome that the Team used to share their progress live via real-time blog posts. To learn more about Porticos’s involvement with the expedition, see our original blog post, Following The Scott Expedition Through Antarctica: The Customized Satellite Project Worthy Of A South Pole Adventure.

Ben and Tarka created a video summarizing their journey, which can be viewed here: http://scottexpedition.com/blog/a-great-adventure-video.

State-of-the-Art Mail Tray Loader Moves Paper at 150 Inches per Second

Porticos has supported Bell and Howell, a leading global provider of customer communication solutions, on many complex paper handling designs since establishing a relationship over five years ago.

 

The most recent of these multipart projects is the Solix™ Mail Tray Loader, which handles up to 30,000 envelopes an hour.  That equates to an impressive 150 inches of paper per second! Continue reading “State-of-the-Art Mail Tray Loader Moves Paper at 150 Inches per Second”

Following The Scott Expedition through Antarctica: The Customized Satellite Project Worthy of a South Pole Adventure

Captain Scott’s Last Expedition—also known as the fateful Terra Nova Expedition—is a tragic but legendary part of Antarctic history. In 1912, along with his team of four brave men, Scott lost his life in a battle against the cold, isolated wilderness of the Antarctic while attempting to hike to the South Pole and back on foot. Scott and his men are iconic figures in exploratory history; from biographers to Boy Scouts, passionate historians and adventure enthusiasts alike have reveled in the amazing feat that was attempted by the brave Terra Nova explorers so many years ago.

Captain Scott writing in his journal in the Winterquarters hut, 7 October 1911. Image courtesy of The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI).
Captain Scott writing in his journal in the Winterquarters hut, 7 October 1911. Image courtesy of The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI).

To this day, Scott’s 1,800-mile return journey to the South Pole has never been completed. But starting this October, British adventurers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere set out on foot to complete what the original Scott Expedition explorers lost their lives fighting for. Saunders and L’Herpiniere’s four-month, unsupported return journey from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back will follow Scott’s exact route, honoring the Captain’s legacy, showcasing incredible physical endurance, and proving that—with the right knowledge and skills—anything is possible. Thanks to these two brave 21st century explorers and their support team, the next chapter in Captain Scott’s historic story will be written more than 100 years after it began.

The original dome is shown on the left; on the right is a customized, lightweight piece used in the finished Pilot.
The original dome is shown on the left; on the right is a customized, lightweight piece used in the finished Pilot.

In an effort to allow the world to share in the experience of the Scott Expedition, Saunders and L’Herpiniere have taken on the ambitious task of sharing their progress live via real-time blog posts. The success of those communications hinges on a customized version of Iridium’s satellite antenna array dome, known as the Pilot™ connected to a Sony Vaio Pro ultrabook using Intel’s latest 4th Generation technology. The Pilot™ provides mobile solutions that reach across oceans and through airways for a myriad of maritime, government, emergency, and transportation agencies.

Once Iridium learned of the need to customize the Pilot™, to make it practical for Saunders and L’Herpiniere to hike with it across the Antarctic, they recommended the Team contact the product development and engineering firm responsible for the original Pilot™: Porticos. The Iridium recommendation recognizes a long-standing relationship between the two companies that has resulted in many products, including the satellite phone known as the Extreme™, which is also being used by the Scott Expedition Team during their trek.

The overall goal of this customization project was to reduce the weight of the unit as much as possible, from 11.8kg to no more than 6kg. By re-engineering the main ADE components, Porticos engineers were able to reduce the overall weight by 55%, bringing the total weight down to approximately 5.3kg.

Porticos Engineer Mike Kiplinger testing the customized device.
Porticos Engineer Mike Kiplinger testing the customized device.

The drastic weight reduction was not the only difficult aspect of this project; Porticos engineers were asked to meet a tight project schedule that accommodated the crew’s hard launch deadline. Not only did Porticos meet the deadline, but our engineers also customized the necessary parts, did the assembly, and tested the unit extensively in the total system to ensure it would function properly during the expedition.

To this day, there is a monument in Antarctica dedicated to the memory of those brave original explorers. High on Observation Hill, a 754-foot hill adjacent to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, is a large wooden cross that was erected by the carpenters of the Terra Nova in 1913. The carpenters inscribed the cross with the names of the lost party and with Tennyson’s line from his poem Ulysses: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” The now-legendary Captain Scott and his crew never completed their ill-fated expedition in 1912. But in 2013, two men and their team members hope to extend our imagination for what’s possible, to close one of the greatest chapters in polar exploration, and to not yield.

For more about The Scott Expedition: 

Porticos Develops New Gas Cylinder Sensor Unit

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

Motorola MT2000 Mobile Terminal Designed by Porticos Inc.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — Porticos, Inc. applauds the launch of the MT2000 Mobile Terminal by Motorola. The MT2000 combines a very versatile and robust scanner with the capabilities of a personal computer.  Review and Specifications.

Motorola commissioned Porticos, Inc. to provide mechanical design and engineering for the MT2000.  The product has been designed to be water- and dust-resistant and to resist repeated shocks.  It incorporates numerous innovative features that result in improved robustness, useability, and cost-effectiveness.

Porticos engineers are especially proud of the mechanical engineering patents that this project has generated for the client.  Per Porticos policy, ownership of intellectual property devolves to the client.  Porticos is pleased to have contributed to Motorola’s patent portfolio and looks forward to doing so in the future.

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, Emerson, and many others. For more information on how Porticos “turns good ideas into great products,” please visit www.porticos.net.

About Motorola — Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety solutions to high-definition video and mobile devices, Motorola is leading the next wave of innovations that enable people, enterprises and governments to be more connected and more mobile. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had sales of US $30.1 billion in 2008. For more information, please visit www.motorola.com.

Porticos, Inc. Enters Service Agreement with JPS Communications

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — Porticos, Inc. announced today that is has entered into a service contract with JPS Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Raytheon Company. Under the terms of this contract, Porticos will provide general engineering design services to JPS Communications on a continuing basis which includes mechanical design, drafting, analysis and testing support.

“This is how we prefer to take care of our clients,” explains Kevin Carpenter, Chief Engineer of Porticos. “This sort of agreement allows us to do whatever they need immediately without engineering change notices or other red tape.”

Porticos and JPS Communications entered this agreement during development of the flagship DVU-1000, a ground-breaking digital video recorder used by police and public safety departments. The DVU-1000, usually mounted in the trunk of a police-car, is expected to perform continuously during high-speed pursuit and at extreme temperatures.

“When designing the DVU-1000, an engineering solution was vital to ensure the unit could withstand extreme temperature, shock and vibration,” said Don Scott, Vice President of JPS Communications. “We were able to reach our environment goals and reduce our manufacturing costs.”

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 JPS — JPS Communications, the industry leader in radio interoperability technology, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Raytheon Company that designs, manufactures and sells electronic hardware and software products that enhance the effectiveness of communications systems.

About Raytheon — Raytheon Company, with 2006 sales of $20.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

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.

Porticos Supports INI Power Systems In Development of Portable Fuel Cell Power Unit For Exhibition At Fuel Cell 2006 Showcase

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— Porticos, Inc. was selected by INI to design and build a prototype portable power unit for integration with INI Power System’s fuel cell technology for exhibition at the Fuel Cell 2006 national conference.  Porticos provided the mechanical and system design expertise for this working prototype, which received much visibility and attention by attendees.

“Porticos has the experience and expertise to handle many of the mechanical challenges we face, which allows us to focus on the electrochemical aspects of our patented Laminar Flow technology,” said Jeffrey Harrison, Chief Operating Officer of INI Power Systems.  “The Porticos team integrated well with the INI team to meet our aggressive goals for performance and schedule.”

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 and product development, 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 such major companies as Dell, Sony, Symbol 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.

About INI — INI Power Systems, located in Cary, NC, was founded in 2001 as a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) start-up, focused on commercializing the patented, direct methanol Laminar Flow Fuel Cell (LFFC®).  Combining methanol – a high energy density and logistically friendly liquid fuel – with a revolutionary fuel cell concept, INI’s LFFC® technology is designed to replace or augment batteries to supply longer-lasting power for portable devices.  INI has worldwide exclusivity to the now issued LFFC® concept patent and has 7 more patents pending in key areas of stack performance and manufacturability.  INI Power Systems, Inc. — was founded in 2001, a start-up spun out from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and supported by seed funding from Illinois Ventures to demonstrate the proof-of-concept of its Direct Methanol Laminar Flow Fuel Cell™.  Core to INI Power is an exclusive license to develop and commercialize the Laminar Flow concept from UIUC.  Over the last 4 years, INI has expanded its portfolio to 6 additional patents pending covering improvements and inventions related to the laminar flow concept patent.  INI is currently developing their technology for products to support both the military and commercial markets.  Please visit www.inipower.com.