AEC Project Summary – Eureka Computing Ltd (345/07)

Introduction

This report provides a summary of the assist with Eureka Computing (May 07 – February 07) undertaken by the Advanced Engineering Cluster at the University of Wolverhampton, and in collaboration with Haughton Design. The project was delivered by IPDC associates Rainer Hurricks and Ibiye Roberts.

Background

Eureka Computing Ltd specialises in providing IT services and consultancy. Following an accident with a lock knife, its director developed and patented an idea for a safer opening / closing mechanism. After discussing his idea with established knife manufacturers, the client decided to develop his own safety-knife product - based on this mechanism. To realise this he needed support to develop the concept.

Project

At the beginning of the project the client was provided guidance on completing a Product Design Specification. This process helped to define the product, and improve the clients awareness of what would be involved. After this review the product development was broken down into three main areas:

1. Mechanism Design

2. Housing Design

3. Prototyping

Because this represents a significant amount of work, it was decided to collaborate with an external party (Haughton Design) who would be responsible for the housing design. This helped to optimise the use of resources and reduce the project lead-time.

Mechanism Design

The starting point for the mechanism design was to create a 3D CAD model and undertake an FEA analysis. Based on the results the mechanism was modified to ensure that it could withstand the forces acting upon it for the duration of its life in service.

Housing Design

The CAD model of the mechanism was passed on to Haughton Design who developed the housing. This was split into two stages:

1. Styling

2. Detailing

For the concept styling the client was presented with three options for further discussion.

Prototyping

A prototype was required to gain a better understanding of the product, and to provide a demonstration tool to interested parties. In support of this the IPDC workshop modelled some of the components.

Casing – SLS

Pivot Barrel – DMLS

Next Steps

Following completion of the design the client was signposted to potential suppliers for prototyping / production, and signposted to other agencies that could provide further support.

Assistance Achievements

The support provided by AEC assisted Eureka Computing to develop a new product that represented a move into an entirely different market. The processes and collaborative product development techniques allowed the exploration of concepts in a time-effective manner. This resulted in a better quality final product that is more likely to realise commercial success.

The client has now started up a new company, ‘Swift-Advanced Tools’, to take the product to the market. Ultimately, the design of the mechanism may help to reduce the number of accidents involving knives, and could be used for many other applications.