All projects begin with a question or conversation with one of our engineering design consultants. If you know what you want to talk about, we listen. If you don't we ask questions.
After the conversation, like any problem solving process, one of our design engineers will develop an initial analysis of your needs.
If your problem is new to us, then we may need to engage in some original research. We look into your area of enquiry to determine what the core issues are in your request. The final information, in a research report, is likely to be useful to your company or group regardless of whether or not we are fully engaged.
Sometimes your internal or vendor supplied information needs to be confirmed or clarified with a test or two. Our engineering management consultants design and run experiments, or engage appropriate labs to gather facts quickly and efficiently. You receive the same data from the tests that we do.
Building things in real life is often expensive and slow. Our engineering design consultants will assess if a concept model, mechanical design or engineering model is needed to discuss a design. If they consider a prototype idea or 3d modelling is needed, then we will create a paper and then CAD model, or 3d prototype to further the design needs of a project. The model only commences if we are certain that the value of committing to that process is present when we start. We believe CAD without conviction is a waste of resources.
Sometimes your understanding of a technical issue or market concept could use some expert clarification. If we consider that a report would be the best first step for your needs, we will discuss this option with you. Because as engineering design consultants we don't know what we don't know sometimes a scope report or background industry brief helps clarify the relevant position of your idea in the market. This may be the best starting place.
If your design is already underway, then we will suggest a quick review be your first step. New designs formulated with significant time and/or budget pressures often result in the desirable detailed reviews necessary being truncated.
An external design review of the design build process can save large amounts of rework very soon after the start of a commercialisation process. We are happy to look at new product development designs, production reworks, or cost out style reviews. Our engineering design consultants have been forming original work at every stage of industrial design for many years and in many industries. The process holds great value and does not take very long to deliver.
If you have a design and build where there are known problems that you want to reduce or remove, or our design review discovers some issues that you had not considered, then the next step is to modify the product design and development. We will aim to remove the challenges completely or minimise them to a specific cost constraint as best as possible. Often, testing, research and more design work are involved in modifications. The extent and methods vary from case to case. We propose design and build modifications and work with you to determine how and when they will be achieved. The final decision for a modification is always a client decision, but we are happy to suggest a path based on our evaluation and experience as engineering design consultants.
Sometimes you know what you have done or achieved and just want independent validation or confirmation for your market or an inspection authority. We conduct tests and engage independent labs to undertake quality and performance verification to international and national standards. Custom negotiations have also been undertaken for special circumstances and case by case approvals. Your IP generation ability in this area is carefully considered and protected in this process.
Occasionally, a client becomes aware that there is a competitor or another party that holds the best solution or a technology of interest to their company. Engaging the legal and financial experts to assess a company with a view to acquiring the company or licensing the rights to a technology is a service that we are happy to arrange, quote on and manage if the support is a help to our clients.
If the company’s current business structure does not support the needs of the project and input from a second entity is needed to get the project to market then Materials Optimization can suggest suitable investors for the formation of a joint venture.
Most developing clients do not have an intellectual property (IP) plan. They know IP exists, but do not consider the protection of their ideas as part of the starting process. We have significant experience in this area. We can help you plan a strategy that fits your budget and make sure that all your design and development work is supported by good IP behaviour throughout your company. Awareness is the first step in recovering value.
A specific report may be all that is needed. If your team has all the skills to achieve your needs, then they may just lack structured information to use the skills. If this is the case, using our engineering management experience we can deliver a structured information document that will fit the exact needs of your group.
Learn more (research)
A typical additional area for a smaller organisation is to commission some form of study. Often smaller companies are less familiar with formal research activities. Materials Optimization is happy to frame a study, locate a lab or technician, and run your experiments.
The results and reporting will be customised to your situation and if needed, we can help integrate the new information into your organisation. This process can be ongoing or an internal staff member can be trained to take on the new research utilisation skills.
There is always an alternative.
If you want to test a new way to design and build a current product, you need help with a new product development process or a new concept needs a real prototype. our team of design engineers at Materials Optimization can assist with all phases of manufacture in New Zealand and overseas. Call us to arrange an obligation-free meeting to discuss your needs.
Invent new design
Our design engineers have generated designs that lead to patents and trademarks for our clients. If no formal IP is registered, we still generate novel and unique design and build content to solve your development problems. If you need acceleration on a development process or a problem seems insurmountable, then we will be able to help add pace and perspective to the design engineering challenge.
Function and fashion can be tested with a prototype – utilising 3D printing, custom castings, one-off mechanical items and multiple cosmetic treatments we can gauge market opinion and help you refine your ideas quickly and cost effectively.
A great prototype helps with the new product development process, indicates likely costs to produce a real product and adds significant confidence to the design, build and feasibility of your concept.
Often the problems of production are very subtle and finding the issues is a large part of the puzzle.
Thermography, high speed photography, CMM laser measurements and a host of other quantification tools can all be used to detect and address internal production issues. If it is a new product in design and development, then the processes can be designed, refined and simulated before prototyping and fabrication is started. This enables budgets to be confirmed or amended.
Alter a current design
Your product is in the market and you now know it could be better. Sometimes the original design engineer is no longer available for the refresh, the A team is too busy or technology has moved faster than your research. Changing the build and design with continuity involves deep understanding of the effects of a change.
Our design and engineering materials specialists can work on this exact issue to identify which changes would be the most effective for an existing product or design. This area can produce significant benefits and the solution can be as unique as your product.
Real manufacturing data and real-use data allow you to improve. We can quantify information that you may already hold or gather new information to optimise a product or method. Optimization is about using data to change an outcome. It is a habit and a way of thinking about functions. This is a great way to improve value.
Many companies would license an idea if they knew how to do it. Knowing where to start and having familiarity with the value of your ideas are important barriers to licensing IP. If you already have IP that you have created or inherited, but do not currently use, then licensing should be part of your thinking.
Unused IP is a waste of the investment. Our engineering design consultants can suggest strategy, identify the best path to a deal and support your negotiations and licensing activities.
Perhaps it is time to move a product line, idea or even the company on. If you are ready for a change, we can help you find an exit strategy for your area of technology or work. Selling anything can be the right thing to do if it is your decision, the timing is right and you sell it well.
We can investigate any type of industrial research and question diligently and quickly. If we can't find an answer because information is missing, we can help you find it. We can help you find answers to complete the research process.
Often this is the hardest of all decisions to accept. Occasionally, the worst thing to do is keep going. If we see no good way forward for a project or activity, we can recommend ceasing development.
There needs to be a serious case for considering this outcome. The supporting facts will always be presented discreetly to upper management only. It is a necessary that this conclusion is allowed as a possible outcome of any business activity. Ultimately, this decision should be made early if the indicators are clear and provable.