Professional Engineering and Product Development Services
Finite Element Analysis
Safety & Risk Assessment
Prototyping and Testing
An Engineering Team You Can Rely On
All of our mechanical engineers are licensed professional engineers (PE’s) and certified safety professionals (CSP’s). Most of our time is spent on non-forensic design and analysis projects. With thousands of completed projects over the last twenty years, our engineers have designed aerial lifts, dump trailers, mobile cranes, garbage trucks, oil and gas equipment, exercise equipment, manufacturing equipment, thrill rides, and various consumer products including picnic tables, kitchen tools and athletic equipment.
Our Utah and Idaho offices are centrally located, with non-stop flights to every major city in the West and many across the country. We commonly fly out for inspections or to meet with clients. We can be there tomorrow, every time.
Product Development Services
In this step, we look at the product-market fit, perform competitive benchmarking, determine what standards the product will need to comply with, and put together the customer needs and product specifications (i.e., the wish list).
In this step, we look at a variety of layouts to meet the customer needs. We perform preliminary calculations to verify realistic function, and we might even put together some simple prototypes to test the concepts.
There is nothing worse than going through the effort of bringing a new product to market, only to find out that someone already has a patent on your new product. We always recommend a patent search at the beginning to make sure there is room to operate. Whether we help or you have it done by a patent attorney, this step is critical in the process.
This is where the fun begins, and the design starts to come to life. We identify a single concept for development and create a preliminary 3D drawing using our state-of-the-art CAD System. We source purchased parts and put everything into our model to make sure everything fits and our clients are happy with the direction of the project.
In this step, we perform a detailed analysis of the force throughout the range of motion. We use finite element analysis (FEA) and worse case loading to determine the what stresses and deflection are expected. We make changes when necessary to ensure the stresses are at acceptable levels.
This step is often called detailed design, and like they say, the devil is in the details. Here we specify tolerances, manufacturing procedures and steps, and create the production drawings with all of the information to needed to make the prototype.
This is where the design transforms from something you see on a computer screen to something you can hold in your hand (or put your hands on in a lot of cases). With a fully equipped prototype shop, we can create prototypes ranging from 3D printed plastic parts to exercise equipment or trailers.
Testing and Refinement
Even with the best planning, engineering and effort, the first prototype rarely comes out perfect. In fact, it usually takes three or four rounds of changes to perfect the product. Often, the changes are small and easy to incorporate. Sometimes substantial re-designs are necessary to achieve the desired outcome.
In todays litigious society, a risk assessment in accordance with ANSI B.11 can go a long way toward making a safer product that is easier to use. It is also effective in reducing liability. The complexity will change depending on the specific product (a soap dispenser is less involved than a zipline) but we recommend that every new product undergo a thorough risk assessment.
After making the final modifications based on the prototyping, testing and risk assessment, it is time to update the drawings and put together every thing necessary for production.
Many new products will have patentable aspects. We can work with your patent attorney to identify patentable features, create the patent drawings, and review the specification and claims to make sure your new product has the best protection it can get.
Finite Element Analysis
Did you know that with proper engineering analysis you can determine WHERE and under what LOADS your tools and equipment are likely to fail? With our experience, we can analyze your equipment throughout its range of motion to determine the loads and positions where the stresses are highest. If it is not strong enough for its intended uses, we can make and analyze changes to the model to make sure it is strong enough when you actually build it, or if it is already built, ensure that modifications will have the desired effect.
Safety & Risk Assessment Services
Risk assessment is a tool that has been developed over decades of safety work that is used to identify hazards, assess the risk, and then reduce the risk to acceptable levels. The process is documented in many books and standards.
Our team of certified safety professionals follow the process outlined in ANSI B.11, and other standards and regulations relevant to your project.
Our risk assessment team will consist of at least two people. At least one person who is intimately familiar with the subject of the assessment. This could be an operator, maintenance professional, design engineer, etc. One individual may not be familiar with all of the usage situations that need to be analyzed, so having more than one knowledgeable person may improve the results of the assessment. The second person should be someone who is familiar with the risk assessment process and common hazards. This person may be internal to the company or may be someone brought in from outside.
Prototyping and Testing
Alpine Engineering & Design Inc. has an internal prototyping and testing lab complete with 3D Scanner, 3D Printer, CNC Lathe, CNC Mill, CNC Plasma Table, iron worker, scales, microscopes, cameras, measuring devices and welding equipment. In addition to making and testing prototypes for our engineering work, we also design and fabricate custom testing devices to certify your product and equipment are in accordance with necessary standards.