Product design for cooler pet beds. Literally.

A cool concept. A bed for your pet that will help them keep their cool, literally.

The Porticos team was approached to redesign a non-functional cooling pet bed.

Product design: Engineering challenges overcome by critical thinking

An interesting concept that had several pieces and parts from the different components involved in the bed itself, analysis of dc adapter or ac power, how to keep the fan quiet, portability, and cost.

Then there were design challenges the Porticos team met with enthusiasm such as: how to simulate a dog in a computer thermal situation, what device to use to actually cool the bed, what the proper amount of cooling should be appropriate for a model-sized dog, and which materials would be most efficient.

Engineering consulting for Fido

This was another successful design completed with a pet bed that becomes cool to the touch in only a few minutes, and can provide enough cooling for even a 70-90 pound dog.

See more about the cool pet bed by reading the technical case study here.

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.

Strong and Sleek: The Dent Prevent Example of Meeting Product Design Challenges

Even the best drivers in the world have to worry about dents. You might maneuver carefully into a parking spot, but then someone carelessly parks too close, opens their door too fast, and—ding! Other cars can dent ours, no matter how careful we are.

Inventor and entrepreneur Mike Ardrey is striving to make these annoyances more preventable. He invented Dent Prevent, an adjustable, magnetic door guard that protects cars from bumps and scratches. For owners, that means peace of mind. Imagine being able to leave your freshly painted car in a crowded parking lot—completely stress free.

The challenge in creating Dent Prevent was the look: how could the device be attractive and effective?

Unfortunately, when Mike first created the project, he partnered with a manufacturer in China that returned low-quality results. Dent Prevent was a small startup dealing with a manufacturer on the other side of the word—communication didn’t improve, and Mike knew he needed something to change.

Mike met with Porticos US and Porticos Asia, to see if they could help with a redesign of the product and a better manufacture. The goal of the redesign was to ensure that the device was thinner, more attractive, strong enough to withstand environmental conditions, easier to remove (with absolutely no scratches!), and affordable for consumers.

Dent Prevent consumer product design case study
Dent Prevent sleek design

When Porticos started the project, they had access to Mike’s original prototype. Unfortunately, the prototype’s quality plans were flawed, so Porticos redesigned the piece, focusing on fit and mechanism design details to improve manufacturability. The Porticos US team also worked directly with Porticos Asia to consider the supply chain, doing material identification and developing a specific quality plan with part level and final assembly standards. As they worked on the redesigned product, Porticos also developed an intense tolerance and reliability test plan, which could replicate the potentially harsh conditions Dent Prevent would face.

Together, Porticos US and Porticos Asia considered cost; they used a variety of material and enclosure combinations to align with the design and function requirements.

The Dent Prevent product

The redesigned device is a thin, inconspicuous product that can be easily elongated or shortened to fit the length of each door and secured in place with the incorporated magnetic strip. It can withstand motion and weather, and can be left on while driving and during inclement conditions. The device is affordable, and if the driver no longer wishes to use it, they can easily remove the apparatus from the door; it will not scratch the exterior, and will leave the vehicle looking damage free.

The effective product design, manufacturing and testing plans, and clear communication resulted in a higher-quality, impressive end product for Dent Prevent. The successful product redesign is an example of how Porticos US and Porticos Asia partner together for product design and high-quality manufacturing. For more technical details, please view the Dent Prevent case study in our portfolio

The Right Light in a Touch: Porticos Develops Bezel for Revolutionary LED Lamp

Did you know that the right light can help us improve how we wake, work, and rest? Unfortunately, the problem with lighting today is that replacement Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs have limitations and can’t provide the brightness and light quality that we expect and deserve. Lighting technology has the potential to deliver so much more.

Porticos Product Design Challenge: The Orchid LED Table Lamp

Lighting should be energizing and beautiful, bringing brightness to any space. When Purillume, a new kind of lighting company, was ready to work on its first lamp—the Orchid LED Table Lamp—Porticos was pleased to answer the call.

The Purillume team conceptualized the Orchid LED Table Lamp body and bulb assembly to deliver a bright (2750 lumens) and high quality (color rendering index = 92/100) light output. However, one key aspect was still missing—the addition of touch screen functionality for the ultimate user experience. Purillume wanted to create a table lamp that would combine an elegant design with LED power and efficiency to deliver beautiful, fully controllable, omnidirectional light that could be easily adjusted to a user’s lighting needs at any given time.

Product design - consumer design example - purillume

Product Development Challenges: Balancing Cost and Size

Purillume partnered with Porticos’ product design and development team in order to be able to deliver the right light at the touch of a finger. Porticos was tasked with developing a plastic bezel assembly to mount a touchscreen LCD display to the lamp body. The Porticos product development team had to meet very demanding product requirements for this design. The team had to ensure that the touch screen LCD design would work with a range of lamp body materials and thicknesses.

“Ease and cost of assembly were also prioritized along with minimizing the size of the bezel,” said Porticos Design Engineer Lewis Joyce.

The project evolved into designing a bezel assembly, electronics enclosure (e-box) and refining the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) of the lamp body. The Porticos team also worked on optimizing the overall assembly design and created 2D drawings of all mechanical parts.

“While Purillume had preliminary designs of several of these parts, Porticos was brought on to incorporate Design for Manufacturability (DFM) principles, reduce time to market, and offer general mechanical and product design expertise,” said Joyce.

Meeting Product Design Challenges: The End Result

The end result is a revolutionary lamp, the Orchid LED Table Lamp, with an LCD touch screen that allows users to adjust brightness and color with customizable presets, save their preferred lighting settings, display time and settings or dim to black.

“The Porticos team was able to take my incomplete design, clean it up, and get it ready for manufacturing, said Neeraj Lal, Founder & CEO of Purillume, Inc. “Their thoroughness and attention to detail helped to complete my product design.”

The lamp also contains dual USB ports for charging mobile phones or tablets. The development of the bezel to mount an LCD touch screen to the Orchid LED Table Lamp has allowed Purillume to create an intuitive lighting experience for use in homes, offices, hotels or anywhere you’d use a lamp. Users can easily change the brightness and color temperature of their Orchid lamp based on their mood or activity.

Porticos is proud to have been chosen by PURillume for this project.

Porticos Expands Product Design Offerings to Heavy Industrial & Heavy Equipment Market

When Porticos launched in 2003, we harnessed our founding engineering team’s extensive experience in cellular phone and mobile accessory design and focused on the design and development of consumer electronic products. But even then, the management team understood the importance of diversification, and it wasn’t long before Porticos expanded into military and public safety products. A few years later, we reached again, expanding into medical products and light industrial products.

Those early decisions set a solid foundation, one that has allowed Porticos to grow into a recognized leader in product development and providing engineering services to customers ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.

A New Market for Porticos Product Design: Commercial

In the spirit of continued growth, Porticos is announcing the expansion of our market focus to include commercial. We will consolidate our light industrial and energy systems markets and designate it Commercial.

Our new Commercial market focus will showcase our specialty within: products and equipment that are used for:

  • manufacturing (capacitor assembly, etc.)
  • inspection (test fixtures, test & verification, etc.)
  • processing (mail sorters, etc.)
  • transportation (military vehicles, tractor trailer ramps, etc.)
  • construction (excavators, tractors, skid-steers, etc. or their related accessories such as buckets, etc.)

Porticos Timeline

Why Commercial?
A Mechanical Perspective

Why the new focus?  Quite simply, it aligns with Porticos’ core strength for mechanical design and analysis. From a purely mechanical perspective, Porticos has the tools and the engineering expertise to handle the unique challenges associated with products in the industrial and heavy equipment markets. Thanks to our incredibly talented team, this “new” market actually won’t be new to our engineers, since many at Porticos have been involved in projects such as:

  • Advanced vehicle suspension systems for military (Future Combat Systems Multifunction Utility/Logistics Equipment (FCS MULE) & DARPA Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV)) and off-road (Hunter Class 10, Model E “Tritanium”) for Millenworks.
  • Design flight and test hardware for International Space Station & Delta IV Launch Vehicle for Boeing.
  • Design and simulation of suspension systems and related structures for specialty off-highway vehicles for Kress.
  • Wheel Loader hydro-mechanical work tool, ARMY SWL lift arms, zero-offset coupler and adapter design and development along with backhoe loader component designs for Caterpillar.
  • High-speed mail insertion machines involving paper handling, mechanism design, system level design and controls for Bell & Howell.
  • Hydraulic-activated actuators design and development for Bijur.
  • Automated & Semi-Automated assembly equipment for LED based products for Dialight.
  • Front steerable drive axle and transfer case design refinement for Fabco.
  • Active hydraulic damper design for helicopter application for Lord.

Why Commercial?
An Electronics Perspective

New products in the industrial and heavy equipment market are going to be increasingly dependent on integration of electronics for everything from diagnostics to asset tracking to remote and/or autonomous operation.  This “electronic revolution”—vital to up and coming Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—is exactly in line with capabilities that Porticos provides today to their customers in consumer, medical and military applications. That means we’re more than just ready for the industrial and heavy equipment markets—we’re uniquely situated to excel in it.

Check Out our New Brochure

The Porticos team is excited by the opportunities available in the commercial market space and is ready to accept the challenges associated with supporting those new customers.

Do you have a commercial project that you need help with?  Contact us at Porticos to learn what we mean by product design for the way we’re designed and how that can work for you.

Greg Patterson
President
Porticos Inc.

Product Design for Greener Thumbs: Porticos Engineers Partner with ROOT

Can you imagine your indoor basil plant sending you a text? “Hey there—could I get some water?” That little pot’s chance of survival just improved. Well thanks to the product design engineers at Porticos, our house plants could soon be smart plants.

Remembering to water them, knowing how much light they need… keeping plants green is a lot of work. But one company is out to ensure we can all enjoy a little fresh basil on our lasagna. ROOT, founded by passionate agriculturalist Brielle Pettinelli and architect-minded Eric De Feo, started with the mission of making indoor-grown foods and herbs easier for everyday busy people—green thumbs not required.

When ROOT was still an industrial design concept, Porticos engineers worked with Brielle and Eric on its mechanical development. The original design outlined how an indoor plant system with smart capabilities could both distribute nutrients and alert the owners if the plants needed light or water. The product design goal was to turn the design into a commercial-quality prototype, one that represented an affordable price point and a beautiful home-friendly look. Brielle and Eric also needed a quick-turn prototype to attract investors to the concept.

With practical design ideas, the Porticos engineers created a 3D model of the ROOT, incorporating a watering pump, dispensing system, and an LED lighting system.

“The Root was unique in that the size of the parts had a large range, from the small components for assembling the plastics to the large reservoir base which holds gallons of water,” said Michelle Demers, Senior Project Lead at Porticos. “The deep drafts of the larger parts brought upon challenges that were overcome during close design collaboration with the toolmaker.”

The first prototype was ready in less than three months. The ROOT team was able to use the lightning-fast prototype to implement electrical and lighting hardware and to begin hydroponic testing.

Working in tandem with the ROOT team, the Porticos product design team focused on creating detailed designs for volume-manufacturing specifications while ROOT conducted testing. Guided by the prototype design and years of molding experience, the team at Porticos developed the 3D models for high-volume injection molding, maintaining a bill of materials and assisting with supplier inquiries.

“We enjoyed working with Porticos design and manage our plastic tooling – it was a seamless process from beginning to end, and we look forward to continuing our relationship,” said Eric De Feo, Co-Founder & COO of ROOT.

Always demonstrating a readiness for production tooling, the Porticos product design engineers procured and assembled additional prototypes based on customer-requested design updates and injection-molding profile and moldability requirements

The final prototype included two main components: the individual plant pod, which was carefully designed to hold the ROOT media and enable water and nutrient flow to the plant, and the full ROOT system, which holds the twelve plant pods and distributes light and water.

You can learn more about this indoor garden system and the progress on ROOT’s prototype at growwithroot.com.

The Porticos team was proud to work with ROOT on such an innovative product and enjoyed the opportunity to showcase the team’s dedication to the rapid prototyping and the team’s experience with molding. The ROOT indoor garden system prototype is another example of how Porticos Designs Products for the Way We’re Designed.

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.

Porticos Perspective featured on IBM’s Internet of Things blog

In a post titled “Why human centered design is critical to solving problems with technology“, Porticos President Greg Patterson described the Porticos approach to product design. He also described the experience of working with the Emerging Technologies jStart Team at IBM to develop hardware sensor mounts for the bikes of the US Women’s Cycling Pursuit Team.

Greg Patterson IBM Feature

For more, check out the blog post here: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/internet-of-things/human-centered-design/.

Innovation and Experience: Porticos Sponsors Internet of Things Meetup

The popularity of IoT—or, the Internet of Things—isn’t difficult to understand; after all, IoT is the field of smart watches, phone-controlled homes, and t-shirts that can measure your heart rate. It’s a field brimming with innovative startups, investments from tech heavyweights, and research in medical, military, industry, and consumer applications.

As an engineering firm helping companies meet product-design goals in those same fields, Porticos proudly sponsors NC RIoT, our state’s IoT think tank.

NC RIoTThe NC Regional Internet of Things, or as it’s better known, NC RIoT, is one of NC’s largest meetup groups. Hundreds attended last month’s RIoT IX event, which asked asked RIoTers, “If you had $10M to invest in IoT, where would you invest?” Keynote speaker Daniel Chu of Verizon Ventures was on hand with his answer, describing his organization’s investment approach when funding IoT companies.

 

Porticos at NC RIoT
As a Title Sponsor for RIoT, Porticos appreciated RIoT IX’s focus on funding for IoT. Our product design and development firm has experience bringing product ideas to life and could help bring the next great IoT product to market.

“The power of Porticos’ sponsorship goes beyond their investment,” said Larry Steffann, General Manager of the Wireless Research Center and co-founder of NC RIoT. “It’s true that we couldn’t do what we do without our sponsors’ monetary support, but we also need expertise. RIoTers can look to the team at Porticos for examples of successful product design, for case studies about testing and verification, and for guidance on how to grow ideas into manufactured products.”

NC RIoT found a home in our area for the same reason that Porticos decided to open in the RTP: local talent. Porticos’ team of engineers have undergraduate and advanced degrees in mechanical, aerospace, and quality engineering, plus experience across industries—making our team uniquely qualified for any product development challenge. The Raleigh area is similarly unique; with major names in higher education, medical research, and tech, our area is poised to foster the research need and opportunity of IoT.

“Porticos is excited to be a new partner and sponsor of the RIoT phenomenon,” said Porticos CTO Kevin Carpenter. “RIoT isn’t just about building our local skills and connections. It’s about encouraging other companies to relocate to this area, because Raleigh is where real IoT gets done. This is where you go to find the expertise. This is where you go to take that next step and actually develop a product.”

Both Porticos and NC RIoT benefit from the talent and opportunity in our unique area, and NC RIoT is helping more and more companies learn that Raleigh is where IoT is happening.

We also have a similar focus on innovation. NC RIoT’s mission is to harness the power of IoT and turn that energy into opportunity for our region. Similarly, Porticos works to harness the power of good ideas and to develop innovative solutions that bring products to market effectively. Whether we are working with a customer on research and ideation, concept development, prototyping, testing and verification, or manufacturing support, we innovate at every stage of the product development process.

Like NC RIoT, openness to new ideas is at our core. We hope to see you at a future RIoT event. Check out their schedule at www.ncriot.org, and make sure to stop by our booth to learn why Porticos is product design for the way we’re designed.

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