Tag: derby mechanical design

Electronic Design in a New Product – RF3 Design Derby

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Electronic DesignA new electrical product can have everything going for it – strong marketing, little direct competition, and a good visibility campaign, but if its electronic design isn’t absolutely perfect, then the product could be victim to faults, unnecessarily expensive components, or heat and power problems which can cause a product to fail. Electronic design is essential to make sure that an electrical product can be produced as cheaply and is as economical with its power consumption as possible.

Electronic Design – Simplicity and Innovation is Key

There have been many cases of product competition in which electronic design is responsible for sinking one product and making the other successful. Let’s have a brief look at two battles:

Power Consumption: GameBoy vs. Game Gear

Once upon a time, Sega was a powerful enough hardware producer that its MegaDrive system competed comfortably with Nintendo’s SNES console. However, its handheld game console, the Game Gear, could not compete with Nintendo’s GameBoy console for one main reason: its massive power consumption. It required 6 AA batteries, which would deliver only 3-5 hours of gaming. Although the Game Gear offered features the GameBoy didn’t – a full-colour, backlit screen, for instance – the GameGear was too expensive to run, and disappeared while Nintendo’s handheld range is still going strong with the DS and 3DS range of handheld consoles.

Lack of Processing Power – iPhone vs Blackberry

The iPhone range has a lot of flaws – its constant refreshing and repackaging of hardware has led many people to be very skeptical about buying one – but iPhone sales vastly beat RIM’s BlackBerry range. This is because, at least until recently, BlackBerry phones simply couldn’t compete with iPhone’s processing abilities. Inadequate electronic components brought the BlackBerry range to the brink of extinction – however, RIM’s new range appears able to compete. Time will tell.

Put simply, with a little better electronic design, BlackBerry may never have been threatened with extinction and we still might be using Sega hardware. Don’t let your products be the victim of bad electronic design!

Getting Started with Mechanical Design

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Mechanical Design

The Process of Mechanical Design

Mechanical DesignMechanical design is a complex task. It’s quite surprising how much creativity is required – sometimes you’ve got to think very originally to successfully design the mechanisms needed to solve the problem your product targets.

Designing mechanisms is, in many ways, the bread and butter of good product design – it’s the basis from which the entire plan of attack is based, including marketing, pricing, and manufacture. Good mechanical design leads to profitability and can help give products a reputation for reliability and style – bad mechanical design can lead to a products’ total failure, and even ruin companies’ reputations.

Three key terms every mechanical designer should remember are:

1. Simplicity

If a product’s mechanical design isn’t as simple as it possibly can be, then it isn’t good enough. Not only should a product be as simple to manufacture as possible to keep labour and component costs to a minimum, but a simple mechanism is far less likely to fail or wear out than an over-complicated one.

2. Profitability

The entire point of product design is to make money. If your product is absolutely perfect for its purpose, but so highly priced that few can afford it or – even worse – it only breaks even or even makes a loss per unit sold, then it’s not a perfect design. A compromise of quality and affordability must sometimes be struck to make sure that a product can survive in today’s saturated markets. Of course, quality is always important – in an ideal world, all products would be amazing quality – but high prices on products has driven many a company out of business. Don’t let it be yours.

3. Ease-of-Use

Of course, this is more of a guideline than a proper rule – some products such as IC chips, medical or industry equipment, and some software packages have to be intensely complex to serve their function. However, some of the most successful products – the Grabber disability aid, some toys, most household items – are successful because of their simplicity. Modern fat-reducing kitchen grills are nothing more than curvy hot plates on an angle, but they have replaced pan-frying for many families because of their simplicity (and extremely clever marketing).

We hope you’ve found this interesting! Good luck with your own designs!