We have worked with i4 since 2008, signed a formal partnership agreement with them in 2009 and this has been instrumental to Tailwind’s growth and success.

Garry Knox, Co-Owner & Director

Tailwind Solutions initially approached us in early 2008, 2 years after they set up the company, to design a universal mounting platform for PIN Entry Devices (PED). The working partnership soon developed into a Joint Venture with Tailwind where we have gone on to design, develop and support over 150 product variants.

Garry Knox and Mark Stewart, the founding Directors of Tailwind (formerly of Ingenico), approached us with their initial brief after learning of and being impressed by the i4’s previous work for Ingenico between 2004 and 2007. The initial brief was to develop a universal mounting platform with could physically support all Payment Entry Devices (PEDs) on the market at that time. Included in the brief was the challenge to develop a mounting platform that could retrofit to already deployed competitor pole mounting solutions. Another key part of the brief was the provision for integrated contactless technology. Initial feasibility studies and risk assessment work was carried out which established that an integrated contactless capability was a very high risk approach and a more suitable modular approach was developed; this meant contactless capability could be an optional extra. Fast forward to today and we can see with hindsight this was a very wise decision.

As the partnership developed, i4 became the go-to design house for all Tailwind products, chiefly their 4 variants of ‘FlexiPole Mounting Solutions’ and the bespoke designed ‘PEDPacks’ which are individually designed to interface between specific PED terminals and the universal Tailwind plinth system.  See the modular system here on the Tailwind website.

Brief

As with all Tailwind projects, i4’s remit now is to design, develop and provide manufacturing support to Tailwind, their FlexiPole range and all new PEDPack developments. The ever advancing technologies in the contactless and payment terminal arenas mean that there are always new terminals to design solutions for as Tailwind expand into new territories, all over the world. 

We provide a full range of services to Tailwind from concept and engineering design, iterative prototyping, evaluation and testing to full manufacturing and production support. We are also consultants for any problems that should arise after the products have been launched onto the market. Offering all these services means that we are able to truly act as a turnkey development and support partner.  

Our Approach

The key to developing a successful product for Tailwind is putting ourselves in the end users shoes as a retailer receiving payments or shopper completing a card transaction. How will they use the product? We find out all the key requirements, work out a concept architecture for how the design might work - does it needs screws, is it a one piece solution, is it secure? Once Tailwind are happy with our approach we work up engineering designed solutions, usually plastic injection mouldings then prototype and iterate until both we, Tailwind and their customer are all happy with the design. These design files are then securely sent to our tooling and manufacturing partner in Far East where we walk the project through to sign off.

Product Research

Tailwind present us with a device which needs mounting or a problem which needs solved. It’s our job to take their specific set of requirements and form them into a fully functioning product. We make sure we keep a good level of knowledge of the industry at all times, ensuring we know when the next big payment terminals are set to be released and positioning solutions ready to coincide with the launch date.

Concept Generation

Functionality and value engineering is key with Tailwind, especially with the PEDpack products which are for the most part “invisible” to the average shopper. We generate conceptual architectures in CAD and present these to Tailwind before progressing into the detailed engineering design.

Prototyping

Iterative prototyping is key, especially when designing PEDPacks which integrate directly into PED terminals of various designs, shapes and forms. We have to ensure the fit between the PEDpack and the PED is very accurate and secure; this is achieved through prototyping, testing, evaluating and then fine tuning the design. Often we go through multiple revisions of the design, usually using quick SLS models, to get a feel for the product. We tinker with these in the lab and hone the CAD model until everyone is happy.

Tooling & Manufacturing Support

Tailwind have developed a long standing relationship with a plastic injection mould manufacturer and supplier in the Far East. We work closely with this company’s engineering team and tooling department, ensuring there are no issues with the tooling design before the mould steel is cut. During the sampling stage we assess and sign off Tx samples which are shipped to i4 but we have been known to fly out, sample and sign off straight from the press when customer deadlines are tight!

The Result

It all starts with a conversation. Let's make something amazing together.

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