|THE PROTOTEK LINEFINDER|
Prototek is a designer, manufacturer and seller of equipment for waste pipe and septic tank location. The company has built itself into a million-dollar-plus company with more than 50 employees. What sets Prototek apart from its competition is that it handles every aspect of manufacturing, from hardware, software and plastic packaging.|
Prototek spent about a year working with a design contractor, trying to complete a casing for the Prototek LineFinderTM computerized, automatic sewer-line-finding instrument. In that year, only about 80 percent of the project was completed in a parametric solid modeling PC-CAD program SolidWorks. When they couldn’t create a stepped parting line, they realized that the design project was going to be driven by the limitation of SolidWorks and they settled for the design below. Prototek was left many months behind schedule with customers clamoring for the product.
Prototek Project Update!! Direct Editing Exposed!
Due to illness the designer had to quit the project and Prototek turned to Tech-Net Inc., to complete the job. Our assignment was to complete the original project. We completed the project in 2 weeks.
But Prototek president Larry Smith not satisfied with the design and asked us what we thought of it. We all came to the conclusion that it really looked clunky, was heavy and left a lot to be desired aesthetically.
Larry and project engineer Charlie Faddis decided throw away the old design and start over. Smith and Faddis wanted the product to be simple to use, and this mandate drove the entire development of the LineFinderTM. One thing that Larry wanted was for the monitor to be adjustable, for being able to see in the sunlight. He asked us what we thought, and we said no problem.
In two days we had a set of brand new designs to match what Smith and Faddis requested. Working together we developed the final 2D concept.
From the 2D graphics we turned the product into solid models. Within 8 weeks the LineFinderTM was done and we had the stereolithography files to the prototyper. We had parts in our hands in days. We reviewed the parts and made the required changes to the model (which were few) and turned the files back for silicon molds to be made. Within 2 weeks Prototek was sending product to their customers.
They had 30 sets of parts made. That got the product out on the market, but our job wasn’t done. We now had to get plastic injection molds made to bring down the cost of the parts. We did some small modifications and sent them directly to the mold maker. The mold maker worked directly from the IGES files, with very few questions, and created the molds without drawings. Within a few weeks we were being delivered parts. This project was paperless from the first day.
We are very proud of the LineFinderTM, it is truly the state of the art. It met all of Prototek’s requirements, simple, light, compact and very aesthetic. We want to thank Prototek for this opportunity. And are looking forward to the next project a smaller, hand held pipe and septic tank locator.
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