Fast Turnaround Prototyping

The recent addition of Wildtrax Electronics to the GBE group means that we can provide early revisions of surface mount & through hole prototypes. Furthermore, GBEs investment in the LulzBot® TAZ 6 3-D printer allows us to also provide clients with initial mechanical prototypes. Through these various in-house facilities, GBE are able to offer its clients fast turnaround prototypes. Having the ability to produce both electronic and mechanical prototypes allows GBE to make quick, informed design decisions during the development process and provide its clients with early stage proof of concept and proof of function models.

This has proved greatly beneficial to clients as it helps to reduce a products time to market, reduce risk and ultimately reduce the cost of a project.

The Benefits In Context

Transcan Advance

Whilst working on a temperature data logging solution for telematics company Seven Telematics, GBE utilised its 3D printing facility to test iterations of the products mechanical components.  It was during the initial prototyping stage that we realised that the products printer door would not close correctly.

Having the printed prototype allowed us to mimic some of the material behaviours during manufacture, this highlighted a tolerance issue on part of the doors snap fixture. This was an issue we were able to design out, quickly proving our design principles with further 3D prints and avoiding costly mistakes further down the line.

Stylophone™ Gen X-1

The Gen X-1 pocket synthesiser is the successor of the original Stylophone, made famous by musicians such as David Bowie. The success of the Gen X-1 was largely due to having a fixed end build cost and capturing the nostalgia of the original Stylophone through its sound output and design.

A useful aid in refining the product to meet these requirements was the ability to create functional and aesthetic models of design iterations along the course of the products development. This became even more apparent when liaising with the original equipment manufacturer in the Far East. GBE were able to quickly model design changes in house to give feedback confidently and efficiently, greatly reducing the time to market for the client. GBE were even able to provide the client with a full ‘looks like/works like’ prototype that they were able to display at a trade show in order to gain market feedback prior to final production.

Testing for compliance

One of GBEs’ core competencies is compliance. Amongst our departments there is a wealth of knowledge in the area. Prototyping allows us to test for compliance during all stages of a products development. Again, whilst working closely with an OEM in the Far East to develop a childrens toy, we were able to respond quickly to design changes in regards to compliance by utilising our 3D printer. The manufacturer would send 3D files that we could print to test compliance with BS EN71 (choke hazards for toys).  

The component for testing could only pass if no part of it could protrude past the base of a given template (representative of a childs oesophagus). This allowed us to quickly and confidently pass or fail a design in a matter of hours as opposed to having to delay a project for days, even weeks waiting for a sample piece to arrive from overseas.

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