PDaaS and consultants as a low cost alternative to hiring

Hiring Engineers is difficult and expensive. Using a consultant is the low cost and high speed alterative!

The average hiring process is 42 days long (source: SHRM.org). During that time action items are not being fulfilled and the team is burning hours interviewing candidates at an average of 9.6 hours per opening (source: Talroo.com). Once you have the candidate locked down the average salary is well into six figures with benefits adding another $23,857 (source: BLS.gov). Don’t forget headhunter or websites fees up to $38,009 (source: Indeed.com). All in this puts the year 1 cost well over $200,000 for only a single mid-career engineer!

What if you need a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and firmware engineer? Or 2 mechanical engineers? Amortized, 4 engineers are now a $66,000+ monthly burn rate hit that ends only with painful layoffs.

Using consultants or Product Design as a Service (PDaaS) solves all of these issues. You’re only billed for the hours used. We can bring every discipline to the project without incurring painful burn rate hits. Burn rate can ramp up and down as required without any lose of institutional knowledge. Onboarding can be as quick as same week with minimum time commitment from the current team.

Want to talk about hitting your product development and engineering goals at minimal cost? Book a meeting with our team today!

How to deal with supply chain shortages

The supply chain shortages immediately caused by COVID have only gotten better for some components and some industries. In some cases components not of concern have gone out of stock. In other cases shortages continue. What to do?

Deloitte has a concise list of advice for established firms:

  • Consider alternative suppliers: More than half of our most recent survey respondents said they previously relied on a single source for 75% of their chip supply. All of them are now pursuing alternative sources.
  • Evolve broker relationships: In the past, medtech manufacturers had little need for brokers. Now, nearly one-third of respondents said they have reached out to brokers as an alternate source of supply. Some companies have turned to brokers because they don’t have any other way to acquire the semiconductors they need for their products. Additionally, brokers can provide safeguards against counterfeits, which has become more of a challenge since our first survey.
  • Increase inventory: In the past, medical device manufacturers usually didn’t stock a large chip inventory. For example, 13% of respondents said they did not have a chip inventory prior to the pandemic. That has since changed. More than 70% of respondents said they have recently increased their semiconductor inventory levels.
  • Focus on agility: Building speed and flexibility into component substitutions—through planning, manufacturing, and regulatory processes—could make it easier for manufacturers to switch to alternate suppliers when needed. Many companies are revalidating components to increase sourcing options even though the process can be cumbersome.
  • Use digitization to enhance supply chain visibility: There are typically multiple tiers between a medtech company and the chip manufacturers. Since our 2021 survey, most companies have increased their multi-tier visibility. Increased visibility can help medtech companies identify issues more quickly, which can mitigate risk. Digitization of the supply chain can provide visibility from the suppliers all the way to the customer and help enable a quicker response. Advanced analytics could enhance the ability to be more proactive in every step of the supply chain.

Where does this leave start-ups? Simultaneously better and worse off than an established company:

  • Identify and purchase critical components early in the design process and potentially at risk
  • Identify and engage your ECM early in the design process so they can help manage procurement early
  • Consider designing in multiple SMD pad arrays for alternative components if space allows
  • Make sure supply chain is a regular topic in program review meetings

The concise seems to be that things should be back to normal in 2024 and metal prices are already coming down – fingers crossed!

Commitment to Sustainability

Bayard Design LLC has always been committed to sustainable design practices, but will now reaffirm that commitment through the following steps:

  • Electricity use in our offices and workshop will now come from 100% renewal sources
  • We will continue to participate in the recycling program offered by our property owner
  • Our plastic parts check list now includes a reminder to mark a recycling code on all plastic parts to aid in proper recycling
  • Our founder continues to mentor green startups as part of the Clean Tech Open

Bayard Design sponsors Forge

Bayard Design is proud to be a 2021 sponsor of Forge.

FORGE addresses crucial gaps and accelerates path to market for these startups by making right-fit introductions to industry expertise, combined with the training and support needed to ensure readiness for the connections to be productive. 

The Manufacturing Initiative helps startups to source their supply chains from initial prototyping and design through to full scale production, connecting them with right-fit suppliers to establish early working relationships, and increase readiness to scale production together. Our programming and resources prepare startups and suppliers to work effectively together. Our work has led to the creation of 150+ contracts between the startups and suppliers in our network, with a known economic value of over $30 million and counting.

The Manufacturing Initiative was built at Greentown Labs in 2015, when its CEO Emily Reichert recognized the opportunity to create value for both startups and suppliers through forging these connections. FORGE (formerly Greentown Learn), the nonprofit sister organization of Greentown Labs, was created to execute this impactful initiative.

Today, FORGE maintains innovation headquarters at, and partners closely with, Greentown Labs (the largest cleantech incubator in North America) to serve their community of 140+ companies. Beyond Greentown Labs, we reach and serve a broader community of hardware and materials startups through strong relationships with a wealth of regional innovation support organizations including MassRobotics, BOLT, MIT, and others. Through these networks we’ve reached and helped 300+ startups to date.

Updated phone service – no fax

We’ve updated our phone service! Our main number will remain 617-477-0617. Everyone will get direct dial numbers to better facilitate working remotely. Please note that we did not transition our fax service and will no longer be able to receive fax messages. If you wish to send a fax please call us to make alternative arrangements.

ecobee launches SmartSensor for doors and windows

This week ecobee launched their new SmartSensor for doors and windows.   It is a new hardware offering to support their new Haven platform.   

“With the introduction of the Haven platform supported by new hardware – including the new SmartCamera with voice control and SmartSensors for doors and windows – ecobee has designed a new way for your home to start taking care of you, and not the other way around. Instead of adding more devices and tasks to those ever-expanding to-do lists, ecobee Haven delivers peace of mind through a simple, plug-and-play platform centered around fewer devices that do a lot more, with no professional installation required.”    

Kudos to the ecobee team for this major hardware and software release!

Product Development as a Service (PDaaS)

What is PDaaS? I had a pretty good idea, but I felt compelled to jump down the google rabbit hole once I saw this term pop up a few times. Tom Walker has a great article applying the term and concept to software development where he cites a Gartner Survey that says 45% of projects launch at least a month behind schedule. Ouch.

Regardless of terms Bayard Design has been providing product development support, engineering design support and engineering analysis support since 2007. We can help accelerate various tasks or an entire project to get to the 55% of launches that are on time.

Likewise the hire v. outsourcing/staffing v. contract with an outside firm (PDaaS) matrix is as true for a hardware project as it is for a software project. We can seamlessly add resources in and out of the project to optimize speed and cost. We schedule weekly and monthly review meetings to keep the customer in the loop and work as a team to resolve as issues that come up.

(Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/product-development-service-pdaas-tom-walker/)

COVID-19 Update

As a Massachusetts Essential Business Bayard Design LLC will continue operation under Governor Baker’s updated State of Emergency declaration. However office staffing will be extremely limited and no visitors will be allowed entry. Likewise we may not be able to receive packages at our office as building access may be restricted during this time.

With the majority of employees working from home please continue to use our main office number 617-477-0617 to reach us and you’ll be given the appropriate new phone number to reach your consultant.

Stay safe everyone.

Join us on-line!

With COVID-19 cancelling all our networking events, please meet us on-line as MDG, ENET, Cleantech and TCN go virtual!

Surgical Robotics Use Up

A new JAMA study shows that surgical robotics use is up by up to 15% since 2012:

Findings  In this cohort study of 169 404 patients in 73 hospitals, the use of robotic surgery for all general surgery procedures increased from 1.8% to 15.1% from 2012 to 2018. Hospitals that launched robotic surgery programs had a broad and immediate increase in the use of robotic surgery, which was associated with a decrease in traditional laparoscopic minimally invasive surgery.

This market is estimated to grow to $100 billion dollars by 2024.

Bayard Design can help you with your surgical robot from basic design to human factors and FEA analysis.

Required Product Testing and Certifications

Arrow has a great article in their blog this week on product certification. Product certification can be the forgotten cost and schedule item in some projects. In part its reads:

It’s critical to get the right certifications when you’re developing and building a new technology product. Having the right certifications shows customers that you’ve succeeded at meeting specific standards and signals to them that they can trust your brand.

There are many types of tech certifications out there, available from hundreds of organizations worldwide. Looking through certifications can get complicated because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but failing to get the certifications you need could result in fines or legal action against your company.

To help you get a better understanding of how to think through what certifications you might need, we’ve illustrated three hypothetical products and the certifications they’d need to sell in the United States.

To summarize their list and add more context:

  1. Underwriter Laboratories (UL) – Typically required for anything that runs at 110 and/or has safety critical functions. Don’t forget CE, CSA and other country specific requirements.
  2. Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (ROHS) – This is typically dealt with by requiring that all your raw materials be certified. With this sale into Europe is not possible and more countries are adopting these standards or derivatives every day.  
  3. Additional Children’s Safety Standards – Specific to children’s toys however a risk assessment and more specifically a choking risk assessment should be done on any household items. Bayard Design has an in-house choking risk test fixture for such testing.
  4. Specific Carrier Certifications – For cellular communication networks providers like At&T may require that your radio or chip set be specifically certified by them for use on their network. This is typically resolved by sourcing a certified radio, however, this could force you into a specific carrier or an older chip set. 
  5. Battery Pack Certifications – UN testing is typically required to air freight any item containing a lithium battery due to its extreme fire risk.
  6. Bluetooth Regulatory Certification – This is typically resolved by sourcing a certified chip set or radio.
  7. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) – This is mostly resolved by sourcing a certified radio. However there will likely still be unintentional emitter testing and other simple testing to ensure your product doesn’t interfere with other devices. Furthermore there are many good reasons to NOT source a certified radio like a desire for smaller size or enhanced range. Additional testing will be required, but it can be enabling in enhancing product performance.
  8. NSF International (Formerly known as the National Sanitation Foundation) – This is mostly resolved with material selection however certain products may require more testing.

Bayard Design has relationships with all the major national and many regional test houses to facilitate all your testing needs. For some tests we can do pre-testing in-house to ensure a successful outcome.

$1950 Engineering Analysis Offer

Bayard Design is excited to offer an Engineering Analysis / Design Review for your product design for only $1950.

This analysis will be conducted by one of our in-house engineers and includes:

  • Recommendations for future analyses to be conducted to ensure a robust product
  • (DFM) Design for Manufacturing suggestions
  • (DFA) Design for Assembly advice
  • Material selection advice
  • Process selection advice
  • Component selection advice
  • Vendor selection advice

This report can become your development road map and would include first order thermal, strength and tolerance analyses as appropriate.

Contact our team now to start on your analysis!

Contact Us for offer

This offer is available to new and returning customers. $1950 is a not to exceed value, so for simpler products the cost could be less. All other standard terms apply.

Happy Holidays from Bayard Design!

This year our annual holiday event was at Brooklyn Boulders in Union Square Somerville. A good time was had by all! Followed up by attending the very funny Open Mic Night at Sally O’Brien’s (because Aeronaut was closed – why Ben why?)

All Engineers CSWP!

All of the Mechanical Engineers are now Certified SolidWorks Professionals! According to Dassault System “each CSWP has proven their ability to design and analyze parametric parts and moveable assemblies using a variety of complex features in SOLIDWORKS software.” In other words no spaghetti models and rapid, accurate design changes from our team.

SolidWorks Certified Professional

Bayard Design sponsors MDG-Boston

Bayard Design LLC is proud to announce our sponsorship of Medical Development Group Boston (MDG-Boston) for the 2019 and 2020 series of events.

Founder and Principal Matthew De Remer says “MDG is a great resource in the Boston area entrepreneur and medical device engineering communities. As far back as the Newton corner Bertucci’s days you could always find inspiration or advice at a meeting. We’re pleased to support its educational mission.”

Please see us at the events this season!


July 31 Transitioning into and within Medical Device Industry

Sept 4 Current and Emerging Technologies in Point-of-Care Diagnostics

Oct 2 Design for Usability

Oct 30 Combination Products for Drug Delivery

Dec 4 Cutting Edge Advances in Auditory Device Therapies


Jan 8 Software as a Medical Device (SaMD)

Feb 5 Neurological Diagnosis and Repair

Mar 4 Funding for Early Stage Medical Device Developers

Mar 25 Identifying Unmet Needs: The Rise of Open Source and DIY Medical Devices

Apr 29 Minimally Invasive Advances

Jun 1 Medical Devices for Low Resource Environments

ecobee launches SmartSensor

Earlier this month, ecobee launched its all-new room sensor—the SmartSensor. Paired seamlessly with ecobee SmartThermostat, SmartSensor provides additional temperature and occupancy readings wherever you place them throughout your home to enhance comfort and help you save when you’re away. Fully redesigned and complementary to any room décor, SmartSensor can be positioned on any flat surface by its magnetic base or be mounted to the wall. Tactile is honored and proud to be part of the design collaboration with ecobee. Hats off to ecobee and the design team!

ecobee launches SmartThermostat

Great job ecobee!

Press Release Below:

Pioneered to Perfection: Introducing The New ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control

Category creator unveils next generation thermostat packed with the power you would expect from a smartphone

ecobee SmartThermostat

TORONTO – June 3, 2019 – Redesigned and reengineered, ecobee today introduced a new smart thermostat for the digital age. The new ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control will help people reduce their energy consumption, save money and stay in control while home or away – all while enhancing the way they experience comfort and convenience. ecobee’s flagship thermostat combines hardware and software enhancements to deliver home automation that is easy to enjoy. By infusing more power, improved communications capabilities, and a more robust set of features and functions, ecobee’s most powerful smart thermostat yet signals a new era for the company and sets a new precedent for category excellence.

“We see the smart home emerging as an oasis where great technology can fade into the background and free you from the chaos of everyday life.” said ecobee President and CEO, Stuart Lombard. “We’ve designed the new ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control to be the foundation of that vision. It’s packed with more power than ever before to deliver a best-in-class user experience and effortlessly connect you to the solutions and services you love, but also work quietly in the background so you can focus on the things – and people – that matter most.“

Redesigned and Reengineered

Building on ecobee’s iconic squircle shape and clean sculptural design, the fifth-generation ecobee SmartThermostat marries unprecedented processing capabilities with the infallible ease of use users have come to expect from the brand. A crisp glass finish and LCD screen offers a vivid color display and enhanced touchscreen sensitivity for intuitive control. Supercharged with a powerful quad-core processor, the new ecobee SmartThermostat enables advanced machine learning and AI for improved natural language processing and speech detection. The device also boasts three times the speed and rock-solid reliability, with 2.4 GHz and 5GHz support for dual-band Wi-Fi. With this kind of power, speed and connectivity, there is no limit to what the new ecobee SmartThermostat can bring to users’ homes.


Advanced Sensor Technology

The new ultra-refined ecobee SmartSensor completes the experience and unlocks the potential of the ecobee SmartThermostat. Featuring a new state-of-the-art industrial design and an enhanced wide-angle detection range, SmartSensor is made for optimal motion sensing and temperature detection. Plus with an extended five-year battery life and new pairing range of up to 60 feet, SmartSensor offers improved reliability, connectivity and distance detection.

Bigger, Better Sound

The ecobee SmartThermostat features a powerful new speaker with twice the intensity of its predecessor offering richer sound and a wider dynamic range, delivering an audio experience that users would never expect from a smart thermostat. Users can listen to podcasts, playlists or news directly from their SmartThermostat or they can stream to a high quality speaker thanks to new Bluetooth support. ecobee SmartThermostat is compatible with Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn and for the first time – Spotify via Spotify Connect.

Intuitive Control

Amplify the power of voice with built-in Amazon Alexa and added support for Alexa Calling, Messaging and Drop-in. Use voice to control the temperature, make a call, send a message, or connect through other Alexa-enabled devices. ecobee has moved audio processing from analog to digital microphones, meaning improved wake word detection, echo-spatial participation, signal to noise ratio and echo cancellation. All this combined delivers a communication experience one would never expect from a smart thermostat. Plus control the ecobee SmartThermostat from anywhere with the ecobee mobile app available on iOS or Android devices including Apple Watch.

Engineered for Energy Savings

ecobee remains committed to its founding principle of planet positive innovation and continues to prioritize solutions that offer families easy ways to help fight climate change at home. Consistent with all ecobee smart thermostats, this next generation product is Energy Star certified and can help customers save up to 23%* annually on their heating or cooling costs. The new ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control is one small change that can make a big impact. *Compared to a hold of 72°F/22°C

Pricing, Availability and Compatibility

Beginning June 3, 2019 the new ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control ($249 USD) will be available to purchase on ecobee.com, through select retail partners including Amazon, Lowes, HomeDepot and Best Buy, or an ecobee certified installer. The device comes with one SmartSensor in the box with additional sensors available for purchase in packs of two for $79. Additional in-home compatibility information is available at ecobee.com/compatibility.

ecobee is dedicated to maintaining an open ecosystem, and like all ecobee products, the new SmartThermostat with voice control integrates with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, SmartThings and IFTTT.


ecobee empowers people to transform their lives, homes, communities and planet through innovative technologies that are accessible and affordable. The company introduced the world’s first smart Wi-Fi thermostat in 2007 to help millions of people save energy and money without compromising on comfort. ecobee has since continued to expand its suite of technologies and services to deliver a state-of-the-art connected home experience to customers across North America. ecobee products combine the company’s pioneering sensor technology with the power of voice, machine learning and artificial intelligence to help customers control their home’s comfort and energy consumption while effortlessly connecting them to the online streaming and service platforms they love. For more information, visit www.ecobee.com.

Contact Kim Macchiarelli, (862) 228-0365 Kim.macchiarelli@archetype.co

Aggregate Talent

As the team has expanded at Bayard Design its easy to lose sight of the breadth of talent we now have available. Our current aggregate is:

Years of Product Design and Engineering Experience

US Patents

SolidWorks Certifications

2018 Breast Pump Hackaton takes apps

Applications are open for the next Make the Breast Pumps Not Suck Hackaton at MIT Media Lab!   The 2014 hackaton was a great event and helped embolden multiple start ups in this space and also pushed some of the established players to better meet the needs of users.   I’d encourage anyone with something to offer to apply.


FDA panel recommends approval for TransMedics lung transplant device

Great news for TransMedics!

An FDA advisory panel yesterday recommended that the federal safety watchdog approve a device made by TransMedics to keep donated lungs perfused during transport to transplantation procedures.

The FDA’s Gastroenterology & Urology Devices panel voted 11-2 that the OCS Lung system is safe; 8-5 that it’s effective; and 9-4 that its benefits outweigh the risks, an FDA spokeswoman told MassDevice.com via email.

Bayard Design consultant Matthew De Remer designed the ventilator system for the OCS Lung.

ecobee4 launched with built-in Alexa Voice Service


Bayard Design is very excited for the team at ecobee.   After much hard work the ecobee4 has been released for sale.   Consultant Matthew De Remer helped integrate the microphones and speaker into the ecobee4 to provide the full Alexa experience and assisted in transitioning the unit to off shore manufacture.

Inventor of OCS System finalist for award

Congratulations to Dr. Waleed Hassanein, CEO at TransMedics, for being named a finalist for the 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists.   Best of luck getting the top spot.

Dr. Waleed Hassanein is being honored for developing the Organ Care System (OCS), a technique for preserving human organs outside the body three times longer than traditional cold storage. Dr. Hassanein originally developed the technique to store human hearts at Georgetown University by focusing on using warm environments and surrounding the heart with nutrient-rich blood. Implemented clinically in 2007, OCS is now used for human lung and kidney storage as well.

The additional time that an organ remains viable due to OCS presents a significant breakthrough for transplants. With a longer duration of viability outside the human body, organs can now be transported further and doctors can now accurately assess the suitability of a new organ before re-implantation. Today, Dr. Hassanein is the CEO, President, and Director of TransMedics, the company he founded to commercialize the concept of “living organ transplants” for the improvement of clinical practice.

Bayard Design consultant Matthew De Remer is a co-inventor of the OCS Lung System with Dr. Hassanein.

Make the Breast Pump Not Suck! featured at Parsons

If you’re in New York City this week check out the I Will What I Want: Women, Design, and Empowerment show at the Parsons School of Design.   It will feature the Make the Breast Pump Not Suck! documentary featuring Bayard Design LLC consultant Matthew De Remer in a non-speaking role.

I Will What I Want: Women, Design, and Empowerment explores the complex and sometimes-contradictory role that design has played from the mid-Twentieth Century, through second wave feminism, to present non-binary intersections in the pursuit of gender expression and equality for those who have uteruses, menstruate, and/or identify as women.

The exhibition features objects, interfaces, and clothing that have sought to enable those who have uteruses, menstruate, or embrace womanhood as independent and creative subjects in a material world largely designed by and for men but consumed by those who identify as women.

Design’s relationship with the individual and with societies is rarely uncomplicated. With the introduction of the contraceptive pill came the rise of laws designed to constrict reproductive rights for people with uteruses; for every breast pump that facilitates new parents’ choices about work and nutrition, there exists a poorly designed familial leave policy; and so many designs “for her,” even for very young girls, come with the baggage of implicit and explicit expectations about class, race, gender performance, labor, and sexuality.

New phone number

The Bayard Design LLC team can now be reached at  617-477-0617.    Please update your contact lists.

Likewise our fax number has been updated to 617-995-0887.


How Start-ups Fail

Great post on the bolt blog talking about how hardware start ups fail.   It really hits the nail right on the head with a couple quotes and graphics namely “There’s a valley of death for hardware startups. Ironically, it occurs when companies start selling their product.”

This really speaks to the transition stage between being a start up (hey let’s make 10 or 100) and being a real product company (let’s make 50k).   This gulf can be huge.   Anyone can make it through 100 unit pilot run with a litany of problems, but once you have to make 50k or 200 a day (over a 250 day work year) all the problems have to be gone or you’re simply not going to make your cost, profit or timing goals.   Likewise beta testers and kickstarter backers will be tolerant.   Walmart/Best Buy/regular consumers will not be.

How does a start up make it through this “valley of death”?

  • The original post had some good suggestions that I’d sum up as understand your pricing fully: sell price, make price and make price changes with volume changes.
  • Solid funding that anticipates this period not just the first phase.   This is easier said than done, but it comes down to understanding the funding you need to be successful and working to get to that level.
  • Skilled employees and consultants to quickly mitigate problems, sell your product and get you through to the 50k order as quickly as possible.   This is where spending money on superstars is better than just checking the box.   If you increase your burn rate by 150%, but only burn for 6 months, its better than a slow burn for 24 months of misery and failure.

This last point is where Bayard Design shines.   Trust us to make your product production ready for effortless scaling on a tight schedule.

Making Breast Pumps more user centric

Last fall Bayard Design consultant Matthew De Remer participated in a weekend long event at the MIT Media Lab dedicated to improving breast pump technology for nursing mothers.  The “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” Hackathon  was a multi-disciplined event encompassing engineers, designers, lactation consultants, nursing mothers and other interested parties.   Matt’s team ultimately wonMost Outstanding User Focused Design”.

Matt hacking a manual expression concept

Matt hacking a manual expression concept

Footage from the event was made into a short documentary that has now been uploaded to YouTube documenting the experience.

Event Sponsors:

Thoughts on Patents

Inventors are often very concerned that their great ideas could be usurped.   After all if you came up with a great idea couldn’t someone else?   If you tell someone about it could they steal it?  These are not invalid concerns, but I would caution against spending a great deal of money up front on patent protection to the detriment of actually getting your ideas to market.  You’ll have a patent and no product and no money.

There is another option though – a provisional patent or more formally a provisional application for a patent.   They can be completed without an attorney and filed for only $130.    Only a minimal level of information is required:

  • a written description of the invention
  • any drawings necessary to understand the invention,

However a provisional patent puts your project on a tight timeline.   A ‘real’ patent application must be filed within 12 months with the requisite attorney fees, search fees, etc likely totally from $5 to $30k+.

Although offering much less protection your idea can be protected by non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements.   NDAs are pretty typical nowadays and create an exception that your ideas will not be shared with third parties.   After all in the early stages you’ll be discussing your ideas with professionals who’s job it is to realize inventor’s dreams not steal them.

So in summary don’t spend all your money on patents until the time is right.


Disclaimer:  No attorneys were consulted for this blog post.   This a layman’s interpretation of the applicable laws and regulations and does not substitute for the advise of the good patent attorney.  Patent protection is an important part of any business plan.

DoD Awards $70M for Digital Manufacturing Open Research Lab

According to Design News the DoD put down some big money to help develop Digital Manufacturing.

As part of President Obama’s promise to invest in innovation in American manufacturing, the US Department of Defense has awarded Chicago-based UI Labs $70 million to open the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, a research and commercialization institution for the development of new processes and strategies to promote digital manufacturing.

Given how much you can get for $200 or $2300 or $20,000 it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

FCC approval for new products

SparkFun posted a great primer on FCC approval for hobbyists.   Agency approvals are sometimes forgotten by entrepreneurs and inventors with horrible results.   Here are some high points:

 Even devices which do not use radio transmitters?

Yes, because in the right (or wrong) circumstances, any device which contains a relatively high speed clock (above the low kHz range) stands to possibly produce unwanted interference to other local devices. Devices which do not use radio transmitters are referred to as “unintentional radiators”, and the testing bar is lower for them than it is for intentional radiators. Thus, all devices which cannot be exempted must obtain FCC authorization prior to being marketed in the US.

In other words many devices that contain no radio or wireless functionality will require approval as an unintentional radiator.   Does your device contain a processor?   Then the odds are very high that it will need approval.

How much does it cost to obtain authorization under the FCC rules?

That depends on your device. Devices which require Verification or a Declaration of Conformity- which is to say, unintentional radiators- can be tested for about $1000. There is usually an additional fee of around $500 for a report which may or may not be needed. For intentional radiators, the Certification cost is more like $10,000-$12,000, unless an approved module is used. It may be that you will fail, of course, which will require retesting.
These estimates are consistent with our experiences.

Are their exemptions for small runs or small businesses?   No.   Though there are exceptions for experimental devices.

Do Kickstarter rewards require approval?   Although Kickstarter does not consider rewards as product pre-sales I doubt that the FCC would take the same view.   FCC approval costs should be anticipated before any public release.

Product Launches Without Regulatory Approvals

Amazon has taken a calculated risk in heavily advertising their new Kindle Fire tablets without FCC approval.   This will most likely pay off given that they got to announce a week before Apple’s possible iPad press event and that they are unlikely not be approved by the FCC.   Moreover given the timing Amazon is likely already tooling for their November 20 ship date, so they must anticipate passing with little or no changes to their design.

Not everyone is so lucky.   This was a calculated risk made in a highly competitive market not an oversight.   Apple learned the hard way that good product testing is important.    Others have learned that regulatory testing is critical.

Partnering with a design firm that can write comprehensive test plans, including all regulatory testing and product requirements testing, is critical to product success.   Bayard Design uses the Design for Six Sigma methodology to ensure every key product requirement flows down to its test plan, component specifications and process specifications.

Stratasys buys Object consolidating modern prototyping under one roof

Important Announcement from RedEye

April 16, 2012

I am pleased to share some exciting news with you. Today we announced that RedEye’s parent company, Stratasys, and Objet have reached an agreement to merge, creating an even stronger company better positioned for growth.

As you may know, Objet is a leading manufacturer of 3D printers for rapid prototyping. Founded in 1998, the company developed its proprietary inkjet-based 3D printing technology, and today has more than 2,800 customers worldwide, including several of the Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Objet is headquartered in Rehovot, Israel and has more than 430 employees.

We are confident that this combination will enhance our ability to serve you by bringing together two companies with customer-focused, differentiated capabilities and a shared commitment to excellence. We believe that together we will offer you, a broader range of rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing services and an exciting roadmap for future product services. We hope you share our excitement.

The combined company will continue to operate under the Stratasys name and will have dual headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel. As we work towards completing the combination and following the combination, there will be no changes in your relationship with RedEye or Stratasys, and your day-to-day contacts will remain the same. In short, it is business as usual for customers of RedEye. We will continue to deliver the same great on-demand services you have come to expect. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call your RedEye Account Manager or email godigital@redeyeondemand.com.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year. Until then, both Stratasys and Objet will continue to operate as separate companies. Given the complementary nature of our technology portfolios and our shared commitment to innovation and service, we anticipate a seamless integration.

We appreciate your business and thank you for your continued support.


Scott Crump
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman

More patents published!

We’re happy to announce that Matthew De Remer, a Principal at Bayard Design, has had 2 more patents published for his work with QinetiQ North America on their TrainTrak product line.

These products were featured in 2 Weeks in Hell, a Discovery Channel special on Special Forces training.

physiological  extended

SLA for Medical Applications

Although SLA samples are generally regarded as not biologically compatible, DSM has successfully tested 2 of their resins to USP IV.

Somos® WaterShed XC 11122 resin – a clear, durable, water resistant material – has been tested and approved for USP Class VI in biomedical and skin contact applications.

DSM reports that the ABS-like material passed  ISO 10993-5 Cytotoxicity, ISO 10993-10 Sensitization, ISO 10993-10 Irritation certified and was USP Class VI approved.   Reading ISO 10993-1 that would make it good enough for Surface Devices: Skin Contact.   Likewise that gets it most of the way there for other applications too.

The other resin is for high temperature applications and is Somos ProtoTherm™ 12100 Series.

Predicting Product Life

The final step in any product development cycle is validation of the product design and manufacturing process.  The ability to meet a life target is normally one of the most important attributes.  This data can also be used to estimate warranty costs and repair or replacement revenue.

The challenge is how does one test a product that is used continously for a number of years?  No one wants to test a 10 year expected life by testing samples for 10 years.

It is universally accepted that under certain circumstances accelerated life testing will reliability predict product performance.  MDDI had a great article explaining use of the Arrhenius reaction rate function to perform accelerated shelf life testing at elevated temperatures allowing months of shelf life to be simulated in hours.  Likewise MIL-STD-202G, Method 10 describes methods for testing PCBs via thermal shocks to simulated years of use in hours.

Accelerated life testing is critical to quickly finding persistent failure modes and estimating product life before warranty returns and customer complaints start pouring in.

Why mold design matters

There was a great article in Design News this month on the importance of mold design as it relates to part design and quality:

The four simple rules are:

  1. Establish nominal wall thickness.
  2. Allow draft to make it possible to easily remove the part from the mold cavity.
  3. Watch rib-to-wall ratio. The section where a rib joins a nominal wall should not be more than two thirds of the nominal wall. Drop that to 50 percent on crystalline resins, such as polypropylene or nylon, because of greater shrinkage rates. Make sure radii do not cause sink or inhibit part ejection.

The Legacy of Steve Jobs

Reuters has collected some great quotes from leading designers in regards to Steve Jobs legacy.  Here are a few:

“Many credit Apple as probably the best advertisement for professional design and the role of design that we have ever seen”

“Steve Jobs has shown that breakthrough products come from taking intuitive risks, not from listening to focus groups. He was a master of semiotic design,”

Although it had become a running joke with clients that we should “make their product look like an iPhone” or that a proposed design “looks like an iPod” there is quite a bit of seriousness to this remark.

When I saw the iPod in the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt I was initially taken aback.  It was too commonplace, too mainstream to be in a design museum, but there it was.  Then it hit me.  The iPod/iPhone is the most well designed, successful, mass market product of modern times.  Its clean, simple, elegant design has been copied by many, but emulated by few.

Steve Jobs has shown us that good design doesn’t have to be a niche market and that the public will pay for it.

Laws of Innovation

On the heels of the very rapid failure of the HP TouchPad, Phil McKinney, CTO at HP, has offered 7 Immutable Laws of Innovation:

1)      The Law of Leadership: Executive level support (Board, CEO and his/her direct reports) is critical for an organization that wants to have innovation at is core…

2)      The Law of Culture: Establishing and nurturing an innovation culture sets the foundation for the organization…

  • People: Every person feels ownership of the innovation agenda and is quipped and skilled to have impact.
  • Ideas: Ideas are actively solicited from all sources and valued and nurtured not criticized or minimized.
  • Alignment: All resources are aligned against the innovation agenda to ensure everyone is pulling the same direction.
  • Communication: Communication that is clear, honest, respectful and transparent is essential for teamwork and establishing trust within the organization.

3)      The Law of Resources: Innovation requires a committed level of resources (people, money, time, equipment) over an extended period of time…

4)      The Law of Patience: Innovation takes time.  More time than is expected…

5)      The Law of Process:  To succeed at innovation, organizations need an innovation process that fits and works within their organization and culture…

6)      The Law Of BHAG:  What is a BHAG?  A BHAG is “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”.  It’s what leadership lays out as the innovation agenda.  The BHAG sets a clear and compelling target…

7)      The Law Of Execution: The ability to execute on the both the innovation agenda and the quarterly objectives of the operating business is a key skill that the organization needs to have.  Focusing on only one area of execution leaves the other to flounder.  Segmenting the execution roles into separate silos works against the Law of Culture.

I buy into these with some caveats.  I’ve seen worthwhile projects fail to succeed due to violations of one or more of these laws.  However, in regards to rules 4 through 7, projects must achieve reasonable milestones to continue.  In this business climate no one is going to pay for innovation for the sake of innovation.  Having said that killing projects too early (rule 4) will never lead to commerical success.

Presidential Six Sigma

As reported in the Boston Phoenix presidential hopefuls for 2012 are being asked to sign a pledge to “to attend two days of training on the Lean Six Sigma method . . . prior to…inauguration.”  There is apparently more attached to the pledge than that and considering that the vast majority of Lean Six Sigma training is paid this is quite the marketing coup.  Despite these cynical aspects of the pledge promoting the wider use of Six Sigma is a good thing.

Those that thought Six Sigma was a fad in the 90’s that would go the way of TPM et al and fizzle after a few years have been proven incorrect.  The power of Six Sigma is that its not a gimmick, but a methodology largely based on simple statistics and methodologies that have been validated since the 1950’s.

Used properly Six Sigma can reduce defects, improve productivity and reduce costs.  What company can’t use increased efficiency and a higher quality product?

More ways to get your tooling paid for

In my last post I lamented that one of the biggest barriers to inventors and entrepreneurs is the sometimes high cost of tooling and how Kickstarter.com and crowd sourcing could be the answer.  No sooner had I write that then Proto Labs, the parent of Protomold and Firstcut CNC, dropped this e-mail into my inbox.

Cool Idea! Program to Award $100,000 in Proto Labs Services

Do you or someone you know have a cool idea for a brilliant new product? If so, we want to hear from you, and help turn that idea into a reality. We’re excited to announce the launch of our Cool Idea! Award*, a new program created to give product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life.

In 2011, we’ll grant award winners an aggregate of up to $100,000 in Firstcut CNC machining services and/or Protomold injection molding services. Unlike other awards that recognize products or innovative design after the product has already been created, the Cool Idea! program supports products in the idea stage, and helps move them from pie-in-the-sky to product-on-the-shelf. Winners can use their fully functional Firstcut and Protomold parts for prototyping, design iterations, testing, or even an initial production run.

Get more information about our Cool Idea! Award.

Kickstarter makes dreams possible!

KickStarter has emerged as an awesome way to validate product ideas and get the capital to launch those ideas.  One of my friends, who works in the non-profit realm, first brought KickStarter to my attention as a new form of crowd charitable giving.  I tucked the site into my bookmark list as a potential way to do a new product pre-sale or method of raising capital.

These ideas were realized and then some by the Glif phenonmon.  A pair of independent designers raised/sold $137,417 worth of iPhone 4 tripod mounts in 60 days!  This was repeated just recently by the Waldok, which raised/sold $76,491.  In this case people effectively pre-purchased an innovative iPod speaker/dock.  In both cases the inventors got more than enough money to meet their capital needs and produce the promised number of units.

One of the biggest fears of the innovator is whether enough people will actually buy his or her great idea.  Kickstarter can easily answer that question and also answer the next nagging question — where do I get the $10 to $100k to design, tool, test and produce my product?


edit:  Kickstarter had its 10,000th successful project and now gathers $5 million every month

More proof that simulation pays off

A recent study by the Aberdeen Group shows that “best in class” users of simulation pay 14% less for product development than “worst in class” implementers.  Warranty costs, number of physical prototypes and number of change orders all follow a similar trend.

Bayard Design is proud to offer FEA and CFD services to customers.  This allows smaller companies, who can not justify software licensing and training for their stable of products, to achieve “best in class” simulation implementation.

Using the Internet to steer product development

Here’s an interesting post about using social media as a tool in product development.

To many, the process of developing a successful product can be a mystery. Sometimes companies will spend months of development time to create a product that doesn’t reflect the needs or the scope of its intended market…

After we have used our monitoring tools to identify trends and audiences, we now begin to monitor scope and direction. Understanding how your target audience is using products is important in your planning process…

Although the example is a video software tool one could argue that the same techniques could be used for any product.

Although not explicitly mentioned in the post this got me thinking about a great hypoethical use.  For example if you’re thinking about adding a new feature to an existing product you could see how many people are searching for that new product on Google via a Google Adwords tool.

And of course Google is a great tool to see what the competitve market place looks like.  Although these techiques can never replace a large user survey they are much less expensive and could perhaps vet multiple options at an early stage.

Financial justification for FEA and CFD


I buy into the argument made by a new white paper by Blue Ridge Numerics that doing a CFD can save tens of thousands of dollars.  Even if proof of concept units work well a thermal or structural failure can occur during more rigorous alpha or beta testing potentially wasting the cost of those units or the cost of replacing components or subassemblies.

CFD analysis can answer many questions.  Some of the common ones are wind loading, thermal management of electronics enclosure and thermal safety of devices.

I would suggest that this arguments apply to FEA analysis for strength as well.

Rigorous expensive analysis is not required for each and every project though.  A skilled engineer knows when rule of thumb or paper analysis has reached its limits and a more through analysis is required.

The Next Industrial Revolution Is Here

There was a great article in last month’s Wired Magazine.  It celebrates the power that the individual inventor has in today’s world to develop and sell his or her invention independent of a large corporation.  One might think that this would threaten a firm like Bayard Design.

On the contrary these same forces ultimately lower development costs for us and our customers thereby increasing our potential customer base due to lower start up costs.  I would suggest that Bayard Design would have a role to play in the process as a trusted adviser whether it be an engineered solution to a problem or a go-between to find a reliable supplier in China.  I would further suggest a slightly difference development path than shown in Wired:

From Wired Magazine Jan 2010

1. INVENT – The inventor comes up with their cutting edge idea.

2. DESIGNBayard Design designs and engineers your product with your input and knowledge.

3. PROTOTYPE – Costs to prototype parts have gone down substantially in the last 10 years making lots of 1 to 10 parts well within the reach of the individual inventor.  Bayard Design has a database of vendors who use various processes to produce professional level prototypes.

4. MANUFACTURE – Costs to tool and produce parts in China have drastically reduced the start up costs for a typical consumer product.  Bayard Design also has a number of Chinese vendors that we have worked with previously to successfully make and assemble products at extremely low cost.  We also have a database of US suppliers that can make and assemble products that may not have the volumes to justify a move to China.

5. SELL – Market the product yourself or market it through an established on-line distributor or through a box store.  Although box stores have been decried as destroying small businesses if you get into one it guarantees moderate sales volumes just to stock all their shelves.  Selling on Amazon or Sparkfun or another established website can also supply a good amount of traffic to guarantee a minimal amount of sales


BD comes out against proposed Medical Device Tax

Please ask your senator and representative to remove the proposed medical device tax from their chamber’s respective health care reform bills.

We had taken a neutral view towards the proposed tax in order to allow the facts and details to come out.  Now that they have, in among other places MD+DI magazine, it clearly and unfairly affects medical device start ups. This is not in the best interests of anyone that could benefit from new medical device technology and furthermore would put US firms at a competitive disadvantage to competitors in Europe and Hong Kong.

(table from MD+DI January 2010, source JP Morgan)

Rock Band: The Beatles passes 1 million mark

More Great News for Harmonix:

With steady sales throughout the holiday season, The Beatles: Rock Band has sold over one million copies worldwide. News of the sales milestone comes via both Gamespot and Industry Gamers,according to information they obtained from a Harmonix spokesperson. The wider Rock Band franchise also recently hit another major milestone, as its downloadable catalog for Rock Band/Rock Band 2 exceeded 1000 songs.

Full Article

Part of the bundle is a Drum Set engineered for Harmonix in 2006 for the first incarnation of the Rock Band franchise.

Website Redo

After 3 years of having a handmade HTML website Bayard Design is transitioning to a Word Press/SQL/PHP/CSS based website.  Yes, welcome to 2010.  I know.

One of the many enhancements will be a blog to chronicle our achievements and those of our current or former customers.

Product Featured on Discovery Channel “2 Weeks in Hell”

Its great to see a worthwhile, life saving product in use — especially one you had a hand in developing. Although not visible in the trailer or other clips available currently on-line, the QinetiQ North America PSM and Solider Tracker (Locator) system were on display for about 20 minutes of the episode when a Special Forces candidate inexplicably stopped moving during an all-night land navigation exercise. Using the PSM system the Cadre were able to tell that the soldier’s vital signs were normal. Using the Tracker system the Cadre were able to quickly find the soldier and confirm that he was ok — just sleeping. The Cadre were displeased to say the least.

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