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 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.

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.

Porticos Develops Automated Medication Dispenser

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, and Porticos Asia, the Hong Kong team which leverages Asian manufacturing for US and European clients, collaborated on a concept design that ensures accurate and consistent medication dosing for those concerned for their loved ones.

This smart, connected health hub dispenses the right pills at the right time of day. Since patients and pharmacists don’t have to sort or count pills with this devices, the dangers of human error are drastically reduced. Plus, the device can send reminder alerts to patients and connected them to trained pharmacists who can answer questions and give them advice.

Finally, patients and their loved ones can feel confident that medications are being taken properly, at the correct time, consistently with this wireless device that could fit easily into any home. Those who have been ridden with concern for their loved one on multiple medications are finally afforded some peace of mind with this life-changing device!

Detail Design: Balancing Precision and Ease

One of the fundamental pieces of the platform solution is to provide the medicine to the patient in a format that the device can properly dispense. For this innovative machine, that means a cartridge containing prepackaged foils of medicine. To meet this need, Porticos developed and designed “The Spooler.” The Spooler allows the pharmacist to efficiently and reliably package the patient-specific foils into cartridges that can then be put into the unit for dispensing by the patient.

Developing a product with such a high-stakes role in patient health presented several challenges. First, the Porticos product design team needed The Spooler to be agile and dependable—small enough to fit on a countertop, fast enough to produce a medication pack every 30 seconds, and reliable enough to be a life-or-death part of a healthcare plan. It also needed ethernet capability, and an easy-to-navigate touch screen, so even the least tech-savvy patient could use it with ease.

As the name suggests, The Spoolers’ main function is to wind and unwind the foil packets of medication to fill the cartridge. One of the obstacles faced by performing that function while meeting the time requirements is for the medication packs to jam or be torn by the mechanisms during that process. To overcome this obstacle, Porticos’ hardware engineers developed a variety of unique mechanisms, and performed designs of experiments to prove out the concepts. As a result, Porticos was able to create a Spooler that winds and unwinds smoothly every time—a reliable solution for the most critical part of patient care for this device.

One of the key steps that Porticos advised all customers to consider as part of the design process, is to prototype the design to allow functional evaluation before proceeding to production manufacturing. Case-in-point—an obstacle that was identified during initial prototype functional trails, specifically engagement and disengagement, was the Spooler’s “arm.” The arm interfaces with a hub in the cartridge to perform the winding function. Originally, Porticos’ hardware engineers designed a traditional latching mechanism to secure the arm in place, but soon realized that optimizing the process necessary to ensure good engagement with the cartridge hub, and the need for the pharmacists to easily disengage the arm was problematic. To solve this challenge, the team of hardware engineers devised a unique magnetic solution that not only met the functionality requirements, but exceeded the life cycle requirements as well.

As further testament to Porticos’ innovative contribution to the Spooler and overall product, Porticos’ engineers were named as inventor on multiple patents.

Hardware Production Challenge: Balancing Cost and Medical Standards

Once the Spooler was designed, a cost-competitive production plan that could also meet the high-quality standards for medical equipment was needed. Porticos Asia, the hardware production services arm of Porticos US, was able to identify the perfect production spot for a custom build—one that could match quality and cost efficiency with an aggressive delivery schedule. Ultimately, they were able to ship the first batch of Spoolers just twelve weeks after the start of production—all the while analyzing the manufacturing flow for further cost reduction in future production runs.

For more examples of how Porticos is Product Design for the Way We’re Designed, visit porticos-us.com.