We offer a range of services spanning most aspects of creating, developing and manufacturing products. If it looks like there is something missing in the list below, for your project, give us a call as we might be able to find someone in our network who can help.
Project scoping and funding
Whatever the size of your organisation, you will want to estimate resource and time requirements and to ensure funding is in place for your project. We help you to outline the stages of a project and estimate timescales and costs. This can be used to help secure funding, whether from within your organisation, investors or through applying for grants such as By Design, Smart or Innovate UK. We have first hand experience of writing successful applications for all of these.
Whether it's observing how customers use your products, looking for materials with specific properties or studying trends in your target market, we deliver structured research that helps create a clear brief and requirements specification for subsequent design work.
Understanding your customers and end users and the dynamics of the market you are entering, will be the start point for designing the way the product operates, looks and feels. At this stage we often explore multiple concepts for the design of the product through hand sketching, preliminary CAD models and early prototyping. As the product takes shape, we develop the aspects that your customers and users will engage with, such as: form, style, brand identity, graphics, materials, textures and finish.
You might have already specified a lot of the components of your product and how they should be configured. Or you may want to explore multiple options and associated benefits in terms of usability, size, costs, manufacturing requirements etc. We can rapidly generate product architecture concepts in CAD and through physical prototyping to efficiently evaluate and optimise the design direction.
Product design engineering
From early concept sketches, through preliminary CAD models and prototyping, to final detailed CAD parts and assemblies, we design products to function well and to be manufactured economically. Our process ensures all product requirements are thoroughly understood and designed for and that your product is ready for manufacture. If possible we will engage with your manufacturing partners early to discuss materials and process requirements. We can also help identify suppliers and partners if required. This helps ensure that parts are designed and engineered appropriately and reduces modifications and changes later on. We use rapid prototyping (such as 3D printing) to quickly evaluate parts for function and appearance and build and test fully functional engineering prototypes prior to releasing parts for tool making and pre-production.
Prototyping is an essential part of all design projects. It enables all stakeholders in a project to evaluate the design at key stages in the process and decide how to proceed. Sketch prototyping and model making can help explain how a product works and feels and to get early customer and user feedback. 3D printing offers a wide range of possibilities from very rough to mass production quality and quickly creates physical parts that can be assembled and tested. Some materials require special expertise and manufacturing processes and these can be prototyped and tested before commiting to the design. We have experience of a wide variety of prototyping techniques and a network of suppliers who can provide required services.
Project management and strategic advice
Some clients will have internal project management and Productworks becomes one of a number of contributing suppliers and we will be happy to deliver whatever management procedures and documentation is required. With start-up and early stage businesses, resources are often already stretched and in some cases what you need is an experienced product development manager. We can provide management of the whole design and development process and strategic advice regarding product development options, manufacturing, funding and partnerships. This can include managing other external suppliers as well as your internal development team if required.
Manufacturing set up and liaison
We will work closely with the manufacturers throughout the design and development of the product. We can help source and evaluate potential manufacturing partners in the UK or overseas. We have close links with local companies and with other European locations such as Italy and with a number of Chinese suppliers and organisations.