Unlike a traditional, styling-driven design firm, Help Design Co. -- the product design & development arm of Stress Engineering Services -- has the technical capabilities to anticipate and accommodate design constraints from the outset to deliver conceptual design that works.
Far from limiting innovation, informing the creative design process with technical requirements at the conceptual stage enhances creative output. Why? Because ignoring design constraints not only wastes time and money, it provides no criteria by which to judge the success of ideas. Help Design Co. uses a unique brainstorming and ideation process to generate innovative concepts informed and enhanced by its technical expertise, not limited by it.
Even in the earliest stages of a product’s development, our design process integrates comprehensive technical expertise with design savvy to produce innovative concepts that fuse form, function and meaning. We understand the uniquely challenging requirements of developing products on time and under budget. That is why our design process is informed by real metrics to generate real concepts, not blue sky abstractions.
Stress Engineering Services is ISO 13485 and 9001 certified for medical device design.
Stress Engineering has historically been known primarily for its downstream capabilities in engineering and analysis. With the creation of Help Design Co., SES now has the ability to contribute much earlier in the Design process by incorporating the human factors and industrial design capabilities that drive early stage product development.
Human Factors / Ergonomics
The product development team at Help Design Co. goes beyond the standard approach to human factors. Rather than simply regurgitating and applying general anthropometric guidelines and standards, our team harnesses the analytical and testing horsepower of SES to generate product-specific anthropometric data. While these methods are most often applied to medical device design, our rigorous approach to human factors has been used for consumer products as well.
By harnessing SES's analytical capabilities, our team can simulate the effect of conceptual devices on human tissue before a prototype is cut. With a prototype or competitive device in hand, however, and access to SES's 30,000 sq. ft. testing facility and team of test engineers, our development team can instrument existing or prototype devices to identify the real-time forces experienced by devices and users during product use, develop encoder-equipped prototypes for use with surgical simulators, or test the effects of competitive and prototype devices on simulated tissue.
Because they are the foundation around which the product is designed and because they drive the specifications against which the product is tested, the creation of design requirements is the most critical step in the product development process. Our design team contributes human factors, brand and ergonomic requirements as well as those surrounding basic form and function. These constraints are combined with technical, cost, manufacturing and other input from key stakeholders to create a specific, actionable, and formally documented web of requirements around which the project is allowed to evolve and by which its success is evaluated.
Brainstorming & Innovation
Whether making enhancements to an existing product or defining a new product category, divergent and innovative thinking is essential. Often driven by preliminary product requirements, our innovation sessions provide an inductive method for generating a large number of new and innovative ideas. Unlike traditional brainstorms, however, our sessions are carefully governed to provide purpose-driven solutions, informed by the experience of our diverse and expert team of highly educated and experienced product developers, to get your product to an innovative solution faster and more cost effectively.
Concept Ideation & Feasibility Assessment
The ideation phase of any project is that in which individual attributes, features and concepts generated during earlier innovation sessions are synthesized into a short list of complete product concepts. These concepts are often illustrated using hand sketches or CAD renderings detailing the form, function, purpose and context of each combined concept and are accompanied by the results of a preliminary feasibility study driven by the expertise of our technical staff. This early feasibility assessment allows our team to focus in on innovative and actionable concepts as early as possible without the rework associated with discovering technical hurdles further downstream.
Concept Design & Alpha Prototype(s)
At this phase, one or more candidate designs become realized as complete product concepts and illustrated with informational diagrams, photo realistic renderings and/or animations detailing its form, function, purpose and context.Selected concepts are realized either in the form of a working alpha prototype or as a combination of aesthetic and functional "proof-of-concept" prototypes that begin to wrap some realism around the new device. To get there, our team harnesses a variety of prototyping methods, including in-house 4-axis CNC machining.
Concept Engineering & Beta Prototype
Once the concept design direction is finalized and a realistic system solution has been agreed upon, a team of design engineers and analysts will incorporate manufacturing and other technical details with ongoing CAD support from the design staff. This combined team will generally produce a confirmatory beta prototype representing the true form and function of a new device and incorporating the learning of all previous stages of development. This indispensable aspect of the product development process enables real-life, hands-on evaluations of product concepts by internal stakeholders and users alike.
Detailed Engineering, Performance Verification & Release
Detailed engineering and analysis is where the rubber meets the road. These activities involve evaluating the performance of a conceptual product over the full range of variability caused by component dimensions, materials, assembly, and usage. This effort employs classical engineering tools, laboratory experiments and advanced computer-based analysis techniques to generate the detailed technical criteria that drive a new product to meet it s functional requirements and specifications. It is at this stage that most ID firms wipe out as their concepts encounter technical roadblocks requiring massive engineering rework. SES's unique experience repairing the damage for literally thousands of such projects gives us unique insight technical hurdles that can be avoided earlier in the design process.
Manufacturing Support, Sustaining & Improvement
Stress Engineering Services (SES) provides a wide variety of services to support the manufacturing of your products. Our technical staff brings to the table decades of experience in high-speed, high-volume manufacturing, as well as high-value, low-volume production. We offer extensive expertise in many different manufacturing and assembly operations including: Injection molding, Metal forming, Thermo-forming, Blow molding, Compression molding, Rotational molding, Extrusion, Calendering, Liquids filling, Coating, Welding (metals), Ultrasonic welding, Spin welding, Hot-plate welding, Gluing, Conveying, Thermal , conditioning, Sterilization, C.I.P. processes, and Vibratory feeding, among others.