Information is key to developing a great product/system.

From the beginning we soak ourselves in knowledge of the specific category the product is placed. We investigate competitors, technologies, customers, and whatever is necessary to help add value and cement the idea. Research is a never-ending phase, we’ll see it in material and manufacture selection, user centred research, focus groups, product testing etc. A part crucial to keeping the product/system relevant to the current/future world

What industries can DMC develop products for?

Over the years we have helped a range of companies and people develop products of all sorts. Being an industrial design company, we must have an open mind and the ability to adapt to each project. Because we are specialists in the process of design and not necessarily the industry the product belongs to, we rely on a few things;

  1. Normally the client comes from the industry they want the product developed for, this begins our understanding into the industry.
  2. Research is our game, and the web provides much information, we normally hit the end of Google leaving no information un-turned.
  3. Talking to experts other than the client helps add a different angle to the project
  4. Our own evaluations on competitor projects, similar products, similar tech, similar mechanisms whatever we can find that helps us understand the project better.
  5. Surveys, focus groups and talking gives us an edge in understanding potential customers, current customers, and past customers.
  6. Our teams past experiences and projects all help compound knowledge into creating an understanding of many industries and what’s involved

We have been involved in multiple consumer products, many retail projects, commercial fishing, medical, consumer electronics, manufacture design, alcohol industry, engineering projects including small and large mechanical parts to name a few. We have created jigs and moulds for several clients that wanted to streamline their production process. We have also been involved with producing one-off items. No industry is off limits and we pride ourselves in the ability to adapt, learn and apply. Research is one of the skills we don’t take for granted and is what helps create great products.

What materials and manufacture methods does DMC work with?

We must be so in-tune with the current materials and manufacture techniques, so we spend a large portion of our time learning about all the new and current technologies. For this reason and because of the range of products we have been involved in, we have been fortunate enough to have worked with a huge range of materials and processes.

Some of the common metals are: Steel, aluminium, copper, brass, lead, white metal and pewter.

Sheetmetal has been the most common way to use these metals. It starts out with as the name suggests, a large sheet of metal ranging from 0.2mm to 10mm thickness. This is then cut, bent or formed to create the part required. The other most common manufacture method is starting with a block of metal and removing material to form the shape, this is normally done via methods of CNC. These two methods of producing metal parts can be great for low volume parts as generally no tools are required to make the parts. Some of the other methods for creating metal parts are called casting, forming, joining and welding.

Let’s move onto plastics; Nylon, ABS, Polyurethane, Acetyl, Polyethylene and more. Plastics have a range of different manufacture methods, these include but are not limited to: injection moulding, rotational moulding, vacuum forming, vacuum casting, extruding, bending and many more.

Wood is the last of the big three common materials used in developing products. Wood can be used in final production through to making moulds. Fibreglass, concrete, glass, cardboard, speciality boards are not to be forgotten and very often used in thousands of products.

It really does all depend on what the product requires, who knows, maybe we need to develop our own material, which we have done before.

Does DMC use 3D printing?

Oh yes we do! It’s a great way to prototype parts super-fast! We have a great in-house FDM 3D printer which prints in a range of rigid and flexible plastics. This allows us to prototype faster and cheaper letting our clients see their ideas come to life in a few days. When prototyping via 3D printing, not only does the design studio and client get to visualize and test the idea fast, but it can turn out more affordable than traditional manufacture methods. Besides our trusty printer, we have partners with larger machines and partners with 3D printers using laser technology. These are really handy when the parts need to be incredibly accurate (0.05mm) and/or are functioning, engineering parts. These printers produce parts so close to the final production part you won’t know the difference. It really does depend on what we’re trying to achieve from using 3D printing and we’ll help explain everything so you can make the best choice.

Also something to consider, using 3D printing as parts in the final product. We are super excited about the potential in this space. This sort of thinking going into the future allows customer and factories to customise parts on the go, stock control and minimal setup costs. This is still a very niche option and for most products, this won’t be an option, still fun to think about for the future.

How long will it take to get my product ready for consumers?

This is a tough question to answer. In product development there are so many variables which time depends on, our main goal is to move forward consistently. We believe consistency is the key to keeping the project moving forward and allowing the creative process to be successful. If you’re new to product development and design, it’s probably going to take much longer than you think. These processes can take from a few months to a few years, and it depends on so many variables:

  1. Client budget: We work as fast as we can pending cashflow
  2. Components: How many moving parts the project has
  3. Data: Research and gathering data for analysis
  4. Technologies: The unknown, developing something new requires time and iterations
  5. Changes: Have we backtracked on the project to explore another path
  6. Communication: Back and fourth between client and design team
  7. Testing: Once we have something to test, we need time to test, adapt and retest.
  8. Manufacturing of prototypes: Depending on material and manufacture method.
  9. Tooling: Creating the tools to produce the final parts takes time and finesse.
  10. System: A product belongs to a business which brings moving parts

The client introduces new variables or changes variables, what happens?

This is important part to mention, product development is a process and I’m sure by now you understand things will change along the way. S**t happens and we understand this. Sometimes the client wants to change the direction of the product to help suit the feedback we are getting or wants to add a feature or forgot to tell us an important consideration. It’s totally natural, the only difference from our side is it will add more time which sometimes means more cost. In this case we will listen to what is required and then provide an estimate including the pros and cons to whatever additional change is required. This will help the client make an informed decision.

How are the projects costs setup?

Each project is unique with different costs associated. The client usually has two costs from us, the design fee and the consumables fee. The design fee is based on using our time/expertise and comes in the form of an hourly rate and/or project fee with the deliverable being research, sketches, designs, drawings etc.. Consumables are anything to do with what we use to manufacture the product, with the deliverables being a prototype, product, production run etc. Let’s expand, as there are a few ways we can setup payments to suit the project:

  1. Hourly: This is a very common method of payment, and a fair option for both parties. For example, when exploring a new technology/product/part and we are not sure of the outcome we will most probably use an hourly payment method. We also use hourly rates for updating projects, for instance, if a client requests a change after the project has ended.
  2. Project fee: In our experience, clients want to know what they’re in for in terms of cost from the beginning and holding a product at the end. Most of the time use a hybrid costing method, we will provide a quote consisting of a total amount split into smaller payments for phases like research, design, engineering etc. which will eventually lead to the first prototype. From here we re-assess the project and either continue using an hourly or project fee. This option makes sure the client knows what they’re getting into, gives them something to hold at the end and the option to assess the project.
  3. Manufacture/prototyping costs: These costs are quoted for separately and normally only when it’s time to build something. This helps us keep the costing fair to both parties. Before the project starts we will always let the client know what they can expect to pay in the future. However, it can be difficult for us to predict at the start of the project as sometimes we’re heading into a bit of unknown and not sure what the prototype will be. We’ll probably have an idea of what the final/end product should cost by the end of the project, but prototyping can be expensive as it’s a low volume order and can’t compete with high volume costs.
  4. Retainer: Great option if you know we’ll be working together for 6 months or more with consistent work needed every month. We’ll setup a monthly fee paid for at the end of the month. We’ll agree to a number of hours per month from our side and we’ll spread that over the full month giving us consistent time on the project.

How do we protect the idea?

Using NDA’s, Patent, Design registrations, Copyrights and Contracts. We will expand on this more in the future, any questions give us a shout!

Let’s build something amazing shall we?

We can integrate anywhere into the product development-cycle, producing business smart and innovative products.

Get in touch to find out more!