Our office is home to a collaborative team of product developers, whose foundation lies in mechanical engineering and industrial design, with a particular expertise in creating tool-ready designs. We have a broad range of in-house tools including 3D CAD software, 3D printers, and finite-element analysis (FEA), but if we can’t complete a task under our roof, we turn to our reliable network of vendors for processes like rapid prototyping or machining and fabrication. We also call upon design partners in the areas of electrical engineering, nonlinear and thermal analysis, and UX/UI. No matter how complex the problem, it’s likely SPARK can help.
Branding in product development is the practice of designing products to share similar attributes or features so they appear to belong to a common “family.” Branded products should fit a company’s image, identify with their target market, and be recognizable by consumers based on appearance alone.
CAD or Computer-Aided Design, is the use of software in the design process to facilitate the creation of detailed 3D models or 2D production control drawings. SPARK works primarily in Solidworks and OnShape.
Whether beginning with a sketch or a functioning prototype, the conceptualization stage involves the creative exploration of design options focused around carefully defined objectives and criteria.
DFMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly) is the practice of designing a product with production in mind, assuring its parts are easy to manufacture and efficient to assemble. SPARK will emphasize DFMA throughout the design process to reduce cost and create an efficient path to market for your product.
FEA (Finite Element Analysis) allows for virtual models of a product to be tested under a variety of simulated conditions. This can help to predict stress or break points on a part to reduce the need for multiple iterations of physical prototypes or to avoid unexpected product failures after production.
Metal design encompasses everything from sheet metal bending and weldments, to milled and turned parts, to castings. SPARK’s depth of knowledge in metal manufacturing process ensures that your design will always be ready for production.
Plastics design requires expertise not only in the wide range of material options, but also their various molding and forming processes and their respective benefits and limitations. Parts must be carefully designed to properly form without blemishes or defects and remain removable from the mold during production.
Prototyping is the fabrication of one or more sample parts to test the function, form, or feel of a design concept. Prototyping can be an iterative process and will widely vary in complexity and cost based on finish quality and processes involved.
Digital rendering produces photo-realistic images (or sometimes videos) of a product concept. Generation of renderings usually requires a CAD model of the concept.
Electrical engineering deals broadly with products and equipment that use electricity, with subcategories including computers, telecommunications, signal processing, microelectronics, and more.
More focused than electrical engineering, electronics design involves PCB layouts and human-machine interface choices. Our electronics design partners can cover all aspects of a project from a one-off prototype board to a ready-for-mass-production electronics design package.
“Internet of Things” relates to all ‘connected’ devices. When a hardware project turns into a software project, our partners can keep you moving forward; helping to design and develop the hardware and software behind tech products which need to communicate with one another via wifi, Bluetooth, etc.
Whatever your metal fabrication needs, SPARK has the expertise to design the parts, and our partners have the skills and tools to physically produce them. This includes everything from laser-cut sheet metal weldments to precisely machined parts and castings.
Sometimes a prototype requires more craftsmanship than is possible with machining or 3D printing alone. Model making is a highly skilled and specialized practice that can be the right fit when a prototype unit needs to look like the real thing.
While FEA is suitable for most cases of digital stress analysis, SPARK can work with local partners to supply nonlinear analysis on design challenges with higher levels of complexity or a lower margin of error than your average consumer product.
Before your product can hit store shelves it must be packaged efficiently and attractively. SPARK is connected to experts in the field of product packaging, who can help to ensure your product arrives safely at its destination and stands out on store shelves.
SPARK has relationships with numerous local, national, and international plastic injection molders. No matter the size or complexity of a design, one of our partners can mold it.
If SPARK’s in-house 3D printers or fab shop can’t get your prototype built properly and quickly, we reach out to our network of trusted rapid prototyping partners.
Working on products that incorporate heat or electronics (which generate heat) can add failure modes to your product. Thermal analysis allows SPARK to find any weaknesses in a design and correct them before prototyping or tooling is ordered.
While the terms ‘User Experience’ / ‘User Interface’ no longer refer to exclusively digital interfaces, they do still revolve around designing products which are intuitive, easy to use, and that provide a positive “experience” for users in both tangible and intangible ways. SPARK always strives to design user-centered physical products and we maintain partners for developing digital interfaces.
Moving into manufacturing means finding suppliers and vendors for every step of the supply chain. SPARK has a deep network of vendors as well as sourcing consultants that can help bring your product to life.