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Transforming electronic design concepts into practical solutions

02 April 2019

Electronics are an integral part of many product designs; which is why GX’s broad range of electronic specialists are involved from the outset of their design process.

As technical director at the Welsh based product design company, Jeremy Saunders oversees the transformation of conceptually beautiful electronic designs into practical solutions. GX works for a wide range of clients, combining proven scientific methodologies with creative problem solving to deliver innovative new products.

Their multidisciplinary approach allows electronic science and technology to sit at the heart of their designs. By drawing on the experience of the team’s design and mechanical engineers, as well as their electronics, optronics and software specialists, GX shows how placing electronics centre stage turns brilliant ideas into commercial reality.

Taking a multidisciplinary approach

Since all the specialists work alongside each other, designs evolve in a fluid way, with each team collaborating to improve the finished product. This integrated approach means GX can accommodate more complex electronic projects, meeting increased demand for products to communicate with mobile devices, as Jeremy explains:

“The benefit of the electronics, mechanics, apps and software teams working closely together is that it’s easy for them to feedback to each other and influence the design. That way we can create robust products through critical feedback of how each area interacts and impacts each other.

“For example, we’re seeing much more of an appetite for even simple products to communicate with phones. And because most people are familiar with using apps, they’re a great way for customers to interact with products.

“An app can need quite a lot of data to be processed, so working closely as a team means we can factor power considerations into the physical product design. For instance if room is needed for a larger battery, or we can accommodate processing power into the design of the software. Alternatively, we can modify a product to transmit to a phone or a tablet and make use of the device’s processing power – trading some battery and processing power within the product for transmitters.

“Working closely as a team makes us much more effective problem solvers and means we can deliver a seamless customer interface on more sophisticated and effective products.”

Apps aren’t the only consideration that can affect how GX approach a product’s design. Tapping in to the extensive and varied skills of his team, Jeremy combined life sciences with practical design to create an easy to use water toxicity testing unit: 

“Working on Modern Water’s Microtox CTM was an interesting challenge,” says Jeremy. “We used optical flow cells and measured the emission and absorption of different frequencies of light to determine whether the water was contaminated.

“Having a broad skill set available in-house meant we could also include a graphic display and user interface, so the results were easy for the end user to understand. We also worked together to programme parameters for safe results so an alarm would trigger, or in extreme cases the water supply to a building could be shut off if the unit detected unsafe levels of contaminants.

“Since we have several electronic engineers permanently based at our workshop, we completed the manufacture of the final product onsite at our offices. For our client this meant we were able to add enhancements based on their feedback.”

Visteon – using in-depth knowledge to create stunning results

Having permanent access to different specialists means GX can be agile and deliver projects requiring quality designs quickly.
When the team were asked to design a prototype of an articulating display cluster in time for a major automobile show, beautiful design and a luxury finish were key, as Jeremy explains:

“Our client needed an articulating vehicle cluster for a new driver display. As the prototype would be featured on their stand at a major automobile show it needed to be a working model, finished to the highest cosmetic standards in keeping with a luxury car. They wanted two large traditional style dials, which could be completely reconfigured according to their position.

“One challenge was to ensure both dials were evenly lit through the change in display. This meant the light guides for the two displays on each individual dial had to seamlessly fit around one another. We used a hidden-‘til-lit approach to interleave the different layers, with intricate light assemblies to evenly illuminate the correct parts of the display. We even refined the optics and corresponding electronics, combining them with a large graphic screen and smoothly operating mechanism to create the sophisticated high-end effect the client needed.”

Where larger companies can be siloed, GX’s dynamic and flexible approach ensures everyone works closely together. The in house team’s understanding of electronics, mechanics and product design, coupled with software and apps, means GX can deliver innovative new designs - all the result of collaboration between their teams of specialists.

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