We are a company that thrives on creativity and passion for design. As a team we share the same beliefs and help support companies bring their products to market.
Our project management process determines the product requirements, duration, milestone timing, resourcing and consequently the budget required for each job. One of the essential parts of our project management process is the scoping phase which allows the team to work closely with the client to establish key requirements and to identify the main design challenges. This exercise allows us to propose an effective product development strategy and as accurate an estimate on development times and costs as we can at that time. If required, we can also include a feasibility phase to identify and isolate any fundamental technical challenges that might have been identified.
Our ISO 9001 quality management system has become embedded within everything we do during a project. i4's design process and supporting documentation are constantly being refined and improved to ensure our team produces precision work within budget and the agreed timelines.
At the outset of a development project we research the market, consider what competitors are doing and determine what is perceived as good or bad practice. We evaluate ergonomic and accessibility issues as well as mechanical challenges such as ruggedness or performance in harsh environments. At the same time we consider how to realise the client’s aspirations for the look and feel for the product and the brand.
The concept generation phase is where we challenge the product research, explore alternatives and stretch our creativity to introduce new ideas. This formative and iterative process is where real team work comes into play, validating the concepts from inception through to a pragmatic point of transition into detailed refinement within the subsequent engineering phase.
Mechanical engineering is an intrinsic element within our design process and is the discipline which is pivotal in producing the desired brand look of a product, reliable functionality, ease of manufacture/assembly at a competitive manufacturing cost. We continually strive to minimise part count, reduce complexity where possible and develop designs that are safe and cost effective to produce. The thought process for satisfying these high level requirements are at the front of the minds of our designers from the very offset of the scoping phase, right through the stages of early concept development, into the detailed engineering design stage and beyond.
View the Flymo Ultraglide case study as just one example of how i4 can transform a concept into a precision engineered design for high volume manufacture.
During the design and engineering phases there are many ways we can bring product ideas to life by creating prototype models.
The prototyping technology deployed depends very much on the intended purpose but some example applications could be to allow for mechanical testing, for sales and marketing collateral or for use as part of an ergonomic study for user focus groups.
Typical 3D printing techniques we deploy include SLS, SLA, FDM as well as more traditional processes such as sheet-metal fabrication, casting, CNC, vacuum castings, thermo-forming with the complementary labeling, painting and printing processes as required. View the Tailwind case study as just one example of our i4's prototyping service.
Our expertise is not only in design; at i4 we have a huge pool of collective experience for identifying the most appropriate manufacturing & production processes suitable for our clients requirements. Throughout the years we have developed a network of vendors both in the UK and the Far East, where we have developed close relationships to ensure good lines of communication and quality of delivery. We generate and supply data packs to our vendors which include detailed 3D CAD geometry and accompanying documentation which is capable of being produced by manufacturing companies anywhere in the world.