STAGE 1 - RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Research and development is necessary as it will define the design parameters and form the basis of a comprehensive Design Brief.
Areas of research will include the following;
Budget
Used to establish the cost parameters to work within.Marketing
Determine how others are being sold and what they are used for.
Identify the key selling points that others are using.
Reveal customer expectations for such a product.
Standards
Are there any industry standards (Safety, Strength, Weight, Durability, Fasteners, etc.) set in place that must be adhered to? Some standards are not enforced but are common practice.
Patents
Must be aware of existing patents to avoid infringements
Ergonomics
Are there ergonomic (user interaction) requirements for the product?
Materials
Are there certain material requirements for the product?
Manufacturing
Are there certain manufacturing requirements associated to intended materials and or to the finished product?All relative information will be compiled at this stage to assure all known parameters for efficiency in Stage 2.
The end result of this stage will be the development of an accurate and comprehensive design brief that will outline all of the goals, requirements and parameters that must be achieved throughout the design cycle, to result in the development of a successful product.


STAGE 2 – INITIAL CONCEPT GENERATION
Once all design parameters have been established Concept Generation can be initiated. This stage will consist of brainstorming and sketching all possible ideas, then developing these ideas into a further refined final sketch/rendering of each concept.
Approximately 3 to 4 concepts of the product may be developed at this stage.


STAGE 3 – CONCEPT EVALUATION & REFINEMENT
On satisfactory completion of Initial Concept Generation, each chosen idea is assessed and its practicality is determined by both the Client and Designer. The objective of this stage is to evaluate each concept based on the requirements of the brief, projecting the likelihood of each ideas success in production, its position within its intended market and its opportunity for success within the market place. After evaluation a desired number of concepts can be chosen by both the Client and Designer and refined to incorporate aspects such as scale, standards, features, materials, finish and assembly. This is a crucial stage in the design process to map out the practicality of each idea. More accurate renderings can also be developed at this point as well as any mock-ups if required.


STAGE 4 – 3D CAD MODEL
On satisfactory completion of Stage 3, a final design will be decided upon by both the Client and Designer. A 3D CAD model of the final design will be produced to scale which will allow the Client to accurately visualize the end product with all its components. Life like renderings (images) will be produced showing both the product assembled and also exploded. These renderings may also double as a valuable sales tool.
Once the final 3D CAD model is complete, technical drawings will be produced from it and the model will also be used by the manufacturer for the production of certain components.


STAGE 5 – FORM STUDIES (Rapid / CNC Prototyping)
Once the final 3D CAD model has been approved, a rapid or CNC prototype is recommended to check and approve the fit / function of parts and interacting components and to also visually / tangibly assess the design before finalizing the design. Where possible these parts will be produced from materials with similar properties to the final design so that strength and durability maybe evaluated. Where possible, parts will be designed for field testing and assessment.
Design Cartel may oversee the order and production of the rapid / CNC prototype(s) and may act as a liaison between the Client and the Manufacturer.
The Client is typically responsible for all associated material and manufacturing costs.
Upon review of the Form Study, it is expected that minor revisions and modifications will be required before moving on to Stage 6. If major revisions are required, these will be reviewed by both the Client and Designer and the Client will be required to approve the associated costs before proceeding to the next stage.


STAGE 6 – DETAILED DESIGN
At this stage technical layout drawings are completed for all components to be manufactured. The following drawings will be produced and will be used to communicate the products design to the manufacturer.
- General arrangement of the assembled product.
- Exploded general arrangement of the assembled product including a bill of materials (B.O.M).
- General arrangement of any sub assemblies.
- Exploded general arrangement of any sub assemblies including a bill of materials (B.O.M).
- Component drawings


STAGE 7 – QUOTATIONS & MANUFACTURER SOURCING
This stage will involve the communication of the design with the manufacturer. During this process technical drawings will be sent back and forwards, 3D models of select components will be provided, manufacturing processes, tolerances and finishes will be discussed and proposed materials will be evaluated. Quotations for the complete product will be sourced and suppliers/ manufacturers evaluated.
It is also important for the Client’s expectations to be communicated to the Manufacturer. Some examples of this may relate to delivery times / requirements, QC (quality control), Logistics.


STAGE 8 – PRODUCTION PROTOTYPE
Once a supplier(s) / manufacturer(s) have been selected the final design can then be prototyped. The purpose of this stage is to have at least 1 final product (or as close as reasonably possible) produced to evaluate its design. The Prototype should be functional and should replicate what will be produced during the mass production of the product. Design Cartel if so directed may oversee the order and production of the prototype and may act as a liaison between the Client and the Manufacturer.
The client is typically responsible for all associated material and manufacturing costs.


STAGE 9: REVISIONS TO FINAL DESIGN
During this stage an evaluation of the product must be made. Any revision to the design must be finalized by the Client and Designer. The manufacturer’s performance must also be evaluated. If major revisions are required, the following may be necessary and associated design costs must be approved by the Client before proceeding;
- New component creation.
- Revisions to the 3D model.
- New Renderings Produced – upon Clients request.
- New technical drawings for new components.
- Revisions to technical drawings.
- Revised quotations.
- Possible new supplier / manufacturer sourcing
- Prototyping


STAGE 10 – SAMPLE PRODUCTION
A sample run of production is recommended. The number of samples produced will usually depend on the product and on the requirements of the Client. It allows any remaining bugs to be ironed out before production and also provides sample product to aid in the selling and marketing of the product before having to invest in large quantities. This is an important quality control check point. The Manufacturer must once again be assessed on the following grounds;
- Their ability to perform the work required in developing the product.
- Attention to detail.
- The quality of their work.
- Their capacity for production.
- Their ability to meet deadlines.
- Communication between parties involved.
This step also reinforces to the Manufacturer the Client’s expectations for production.The duration of this step will be determined by the Manufacturer’s availability and the quantity of product ordered.
Generally this stage does not involve the Designer and is usually handled by the Client, however, at the Clients request Design Cartel may act as a liaison between the Client and the Manufacturer to ensure that all information is properly communicated and that the Manufacturer has everything they require to proceed.


STAGE 11 – PRODUCTION
This stage involves a commitment from the Client to the order of a large quantity of product from the Manufacturer. The Manufacturer may request a substantial portion of payment before commencing production. This payment usually goes towards the purchase of raw materials and tooling set up. The duration of this step will be determined by the Manufacturer’s availability and the quantity of product ordered.
Generally this stage does not involve the Designer and is usually handled by the Client, however, at the Clients request Design Cartel may act as a liaison between the Client and the Manufacturer to ensure that all information is properly communicated and that the Manufacturer has everything they require to produce.


REVISION NOTES
Generally the more preparation that goes into the project design brief the clearer the path for the products development cycle. This combined with open lines of communication between the Client and Designer both help to reduce and in many cases eliminate costly time consuming revisions.
To help prevent situations where major revisions are required, sign off points will be required at critical stages, which will acknowledge the completion of the particular stage and signify that the Client approves the current design direction.
In the situation where major revisions are required, these will be reviewed by the Client and Designer and the Client will be required to approve all associated costs before proceeding further with the project.