Year-long design process cut to 3 weeks with Creo and Inneo

By now, everyone has seen a mobile capture device—whether you’ve signed for a package at your door or have seen a handheld scanner at the grocery store. Most of these devices come from one of two major producers, Motorola and Honeywell. But look closer, and you might notice a third name on most of those devices, TIS GmbH. Based in Bocholt, Germany, TIS focuses on the design and implementation of customized telematics solutions, including accessories for many of those handheld devices.

For example? Check out this trigger handle for a Motorola MC95 barcode reader.

In addition, the company has begun to make products, like handles, that turn industrial smartphones into hand-held scanners.

The company began as a sole proprietorship in 1986, and has grown to 50 employees today. For much of its history, TIS  trusted external designers with their products. But recently, the team has decided to adopt Creo and bring design in house.

Before Creo

Previously TIS built prototypes and, when the design met requirements, passed it to an external designer. Outside companies created 3D CAD data from the prototype, which in turn went to an external mold makers as a basis for the design of injection molds.

“It was a slow and problematic process,” says production manager Reinhard Gaelings. “Because the external design engineer often could not distinguish whether an edge had a function or whether it represented a flaw in the prototype. Changes had to be laboriously discussed and incorporated into the model, which meant that it often took one year to get from idea to finished product. Again and again we compromised and accepted non-optimized form in the end, because the changes would have been too time-consuming.”

A demo changes minds at Euromold

Then, key managers saw a demo at Euromold in 2013. Ludger Bielefeld, head of hardware development and officer TIS says, “Inneo (an authorized platinum PTC reseller) presented an example of Creo at its booth that showed exactly the technology that we were looking for: Creating a model by directly pulling and pushing geometry, until the design was ready. We were very impressed by the conversation with Inneo, too. So we decided to purchase Creo. ”

” Inneo demonstrated the software here in our facilities,” Gaelings adds, “using our data, which we had previously sent to Inneo. This demonstration was so convincing that I decided to try it myself with Creo.”

Bielefeld adds, “In my opinion, Creo offers the best price / performance ratio for the functionality we need. That made the decision even easier. ”

3D printing speeds prototyping

Among the innovations that made it possible to optimize the process so far at TIS is 3D printing. Gaelings sends the finished model to a service provider who is creating a 3D printed prototypes in a laser sintering process.

“That’s very fast,” Bielefeld says, “after four days we hold a prototype in hand – and it looks exactly how we imagined it.”

The 3D printed prototype enables functional testing and fast optimization because a change of the model and a further 3D printing prototype cost just a few days. Design has gone from one year to three or four weeks. Plus, quality is improved.

Gaelings says, “The mold maker gets 3D data from us in STEP format and the prototypes, so he knows exactly what we want, the outer shape is exactly as we claim it, and no interpretation.”

[Ed. Note that since this interview, PTC has introduced new Design for 3D Printing features to Creo, making it even faster to create components that can be optimized for 3D printing.]

Read more about how Inneo brought the team up to speed with just two days of training, plus how they incorporated Creo Flexible Modeling Extension and 3D printing, translate and read more of the story.