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Engineering Analysis & Optimization

Bresslergroup’s mechanical and electrical engineers work in parallel to solve clients’ most demanding development challenges.

From integrating new technology to proving out complex electromechanical interactions, our rigorous, rapid, and iterative approach meets speed to market demands, reduces risk, and produces unflagging products. We use advanced tools to refine designs and get them production-ready.

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Refining the Product Design

Engineering analysis and optimization starts with a well-detailed spec and with proof of principle builds that prove out the product’s real-world requirements. This presents a starting point and a baseline for optimization. We can then optimize for weight, size, cost, strength, thermal performance, and more. With electrical products, we are most often concerned with maximizing battery life by optimizing energy usage. With space-constrained products, we compress the components with great care into as small a space as possible.

We use a range of analysis techniques to test, measure, and refine parts and prototypes. (Read about our on-site engineering lab.)

Quick “proof of concept” simulation tools lock down big-picture questions – how big? how heavy? which material? how much material? – as soon as possible to make the rest of the process go more efficiently. Here are some further details about those analysis techniques:

Engineering Calculations. Projects ranging from simple analog devices to sophisticated electromechanical medical products share a foundation in the fundamental laws of physics. Early in the cycle, engineering calculations help break the complex down to these simple principles to save the time and cost of building a simulation or solving the problem computationally. Calculations put us in a position to continue working toward a sensible solution until better information is available – and even then, to provide us with reasonable expectations of what a simulation would tell us.

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Structural Simulation. Methods such as finite element analysis let us predict parts’ behaviors and solve structural problems prior to prototyping and production. A structural simulation may be as simple as a quick dynamic strain analysis to make sure a plastic snap doesn’t fail on assembly. Or it could be as complicated as a large, statically indeterminate structural analysis composed of multiple parts, fasteners, material nonlinearity, and contact regions.

Tackling these problems early saves time, cuts costs, and makes insights gained from testing with prototypes more valuable. It also helps us optimize the design of each part for manufacturing. And simulation can help determine the product’s qualitative feel: Will the user consider it strong and stiff enough? When considering qualitative factors like perception of quality, a working specification sets the stage for design optimization based on specific objectives.

Thermal Simulation. As casework shrinks and electronics grow more powerful, thermal issues become problematic. Lighting and heating devices also need to meet thermal performance requirements. Benchmarking and running thermal analysis to explore conceptual approaches helps narrow in on solutions early. It can solve problems  including lowering key components’ temperatures by directing the distribution of thermal energy across a product, and predicting whether thermal protection requirements will conflict with product cost targets. Identifying potential thermal issues up front saves the headache of getting the heat out of an assembly that has already been designed. 

Kinematic and Dynamic Analysis. These types of studies, useful for products with moving parts, reveal design problems and opportunities in the parts’ displacements, velocities, and accelerations, as well as in the forces they generate, long before actual parts are available. As the designs evolve, their mass properties change and so do the dynamics of the system. By incorporating all of these tools into a single CAD model, successive iterations are worked through before a physical prototype is ever built. This aids quick, iterative optimization of complex multi-variable problems and shortens time to market by eliminating embarrassing interferences and costly delays later in the process.

Optimization Studies. Optimization can take many forms: minimizing weight, maximizing strength, or minimizing cost. Often it requires squeezing every last drop of performance from a part or removing every bit of extraneous material. These engineering-driven decisions are always balanced with clients’ objectives and users’ needs. For example, a client might ask us to use as little plastic as possible in a disposable syringe, but the syringe still has to feel strong enough to earn a user’s confidence. Through the use of behavioral modeling algorithms, each variable can be optimized individually — or the variables can be combined into multi-objective studies.

In parallel with these analysis techniques, we do component sourcing for electronics, come up with a manufacturing strategy, and select materials. Rough prototypes and breadboards (electronic prototypes) are refined and tested under a variety of circumstances to eliminate bugs, assess features, and determine usability. Alpha and beta prototypes offer formal gates for the product team to evaluate design, function, and user acceptance before production.

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Getting To Production-Ready

Production can turn a good idea into either a successful product or a failing one. Bresslergroup performs rigorous tests and analyses to streamline the production process. A pre-production beta prototype is built to guide the manufacturer, and we diligently monitor quality during production to make sure the final product is the best possible result. Our production support gets products to market more quickly, and our technical expertise and experience ensures the best possible product crosses the finish line.

Tolerance Analysis. Each manufacturing process has its own inherent tolerances – or, its ability to meet dimensional requirements. These tolerances introduce variations into a product’s parts that may be quite small – as small as a fraction of a thousandth of an inch – but they’re there. Tolerance analysis predicts how the variations will add up and where they will subtract from the overall design intent. When not taken into account, the risk is for parts that don’t fit together, or parts that fit together but function poorly when assembled.

Taking tolerance stacking into consideration early on to allow an assembly to function within a range of manufacturing variation is much quicker and cheaper than tightening manufacturing tolerances after tooling. When done well, the resulting product is easy to assemble, comes in at the lowest possible cost, and functions reliably every time.

Beta Prototype. Building and formal testing of beta prototypes happens in conjunction with final prep for tooling and production. This final testing step saves time later by helping to ensure the design is ready to roll efficiently into mass production. We typically work closely with our clients’ production team or the chosen contract manufacturer to finalize and document the design. And while we’re fully capable of managing the production process, we typically act as a consultant to the process and address opportunities for improvements as they arise.

Need help transforming your product concept from idea into reality? Let’s do it.

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