Develop your Idea!

Product Review:

Ready to invest in capital tooling? This important stage in a product’s development will play a major role in realizing the return on investment and controlling your ongoing costs. A critical review highlights the issues that pose a risk and puts in place a plan to mitigate those risks. Step 2 Engineering can review your product design under a non-disclosure agreement and provide valuable insight by applying twenty-five years of product design and manufacturing experience to identify areas that need careful attention.

Specializing in plastic part design and failure analysis, Step 2 Engineering can put your product through the same review process used during our work with major medical product manufacturers, defense contractors, and many smaller companies to ensure your product is not compromised by issues that may not be immediately apparent to the design team. This review should happen before you commit to a tooling purchase.

Some call it a “Red Team” review. It is a review by an independent group that has no investment in the project except to find any flaws that could present a problem. This process is not blinded by seeing the project every day and offers a new perspective to see potential issues.

Step 2 Engineering offers product design reviews for all types of products and will keep your project confidential. Typical review time is 3-5 days with pricing at $200-$500 depending on project complexity.

Failure Analysis:

Your product is failing in production or in the field and you need a solution! Products fail, even well designed products fail when misused. You need answers and a plan to mitigate these failures. Usually there is a short term and long term plan. Specializing in plastic parts and electro-mechanical products, Step 2 has years of experience finding the root cause of the failure and providing economical solutions to restore the quality the product . By sending us some examples of the failure and some background information, we can quickly assess the likely scope and suggest the best course of action.

Step 2 Engineering is available to provide an estimate by phone or email. While the cost and time involved in the actual analysis is dependent on the details of the failure, the analysis plan can usually be provided in 1-3 days for no cost.

Cost Savings Analysis:

Many new products are designed to enter the market as quickly as possible with cost as a secondary concern. Once the product is established and is on target to reach the expected sales volume, the focus shifts to cost. At Step 2 Engineering, we have experience transitioning products to this mature stage where cost and quality targets are most important.

This transition may include:

• Change to more appropriate materials, processes and finishes for high volume manufacturing.
• Optimize the design for manufacturing (DFM) to reduce labor cost.
• Integrate parts to reduce the parts count.
• Improve the parts to eliminate quality concerns and reduce service issues.
• Improve serviceability
• Improve durability
• Eliminate fasteners (assembly time and cost)
• Better integrate the electronics (smaller, better layout, improved quality, eliminate wiring)

Step 2 Engineering understands electro-mechanical product design and manufacturing and can apply our experience to transition your mature product to generate more revenue. Providing us with design documents and some background information under a non-disclosure agreement can allow us to point to potential opportunities. We offer a quick cost savings assessment for no cost.

Plastic Injection Molding Tooling Review and Process Validation:

After doing a critical product/parts review you are ready to proceed to the tooling purchase. The attention to detail in the tooling process will determine how well the finished product meets the goals of the project.

• Is the parting line in the right place?
• Is the gating design going to enhance or detract from the cosmetic finish?
• Will the part distort in an unfavorable way during molding?
• Will there be scuff marks or cosmetic defects created during ejection?
• The molder is asking to texture a surface to assist with ejection, is that OK?
• Will this thin section change the cosmetic finish on the exterior surface?
• The first shot samples (non-textured) are delivered, am I ready to order the texture for the tools?

The typical decision points are:

1) Part design is ready for tooling – Order Tooling (initial payment for tooling is made)
Step 2 Engineering will review the part and the initial tool design from the molder.
2) During the tooling process – (Some adjustments to the design may be required)
We will provide guidance while the tool is in process.
3) First shot samples are made and measured – (Tooling may need to be adjusted to meet specification)
We will approve the part when the first shots are made.
4) Final non-textured shots validated – (payment for 2nd installment made, order texture)
Step 2 will approve the final non-textured part.
5) Final textured parts shot – (Tooling statistically validated and final payment made)
Step 2 will complete a statistical validation study if needed to show process capability as a transition to production.

The molder will assist on many of these items but you need someone knowledgeable on your side to navigate the process.

Step 2 can assist with this process at any stage and is available for advice at no charge. Once we agree to a plan to proceed, the typical fees are $200-$500 based on the number and complexity of the parts.

Production Solutions:

Many people can benefit from your idea! Step 2 Engineering can provide the guidance needed to ensure you take the right path to production. Our experience with domestic and overseas manufacturers gives us the insight to optimize the design for the production facility and each region’s specific strengths. Your production goals guide us to recommend materials and processes that fit well with the early stage production and help us plan for the expected future production levels.

Work with Step 2 Engineering when you are considering production and let us give you a quick review and no cost advice on what direction would best fit your goals. A non-disclosure agreement with Step 2 Engineering keeps your plans confidential.

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