At TTP we develop innovative products using best-in-class engineering. Our project teams have complete autonomy to deliver results. At their disposal is a pool of resources; creative, talented scientists and engineers with an in-depth knowledge of industry and regulation, and access to extensive laboratories and prototyping facilities.
We aim to innovate in all that we do, including how we do things. At TTP you will find industry-leading approaches such as concurrent development, DFMA, six sigma and other innovative techniques combining science, analytical and computational development with engineering models.
Quality control can be a challenging part of manufacturing, especially when it entails spotting small visual defects in very large areas of fabric. Traditionally, bales of cloth three metres wide and hundreds of metres long are inspected by eye — a painstaking and subjective exercise.
The Fabriscan was developed to automate this process and allow high-speed inline inspection of even the smallest defective weave.
In the Fabriscan, an array of overhead line-scan digital cameras provides data for complex algorithms.
The algorithms are designed to recognise defects in a very challenging environment: large quantities of dust/lint in the air; fabric moving at 120 metres per minute; variations in fabric tension; and natural vibrations found in a high-speed reel-to-reel manufacturing line.
Its success lies in the combination of elegant algorithms with a low-cost, custom-designed signal processing board of 20 DSPs that is capable of handling data rates as high as 32 Giga instructions per second.
A multi-disciplinary team of physicists and scientists worked on the Fabriscan to review solutions and select the optimum combination of optics, algorithms and signal processing hardware. This typifies TTP’s approach to development — pulling together the right mix of in-house expertise we create superior products.
Exploring any engineering design when under pressure to maximise performance and minimise cost is difficult. Uncovering problems with the design at the earliest stage obviously has a massive impact on the project’s cost and on timescales. However, many design problems are often not apparent until production.
To expand beyond empirical development and identify design flaws as early as possible, we routinely draw on our strong knowledge of physics, chemistry, biochemistry and mathematics to apply analytical and computational modelling techniques to product development.
One example is probability based design, where a mathematical design and tolerance analysis model, in which design parameters are described by a probability function (e.g. mould tool wear), are used to explore the design long before there is any investment in functional models or tooling. With this approach, subsequent building of models, prototypes, or out-of-tool products is about verification of the design, not about exploration.
Toro, the US manufacturer of lawn mowers and other garden management equipment, knew that its leaf blower was uncompetitive. Traditional empirical development had failed to improve things.
We took up the challenge, applying our rigorous analytical and computational development approach. We modelled and analysed the entire leaf blower from motor and impeller to nozzle. Very quickly, and with minimum development, we identified significant improvements from an impeller redesign. The theoretical design improvements were quickly tested experimentally using rapid prototyping techniques. They were verified and then implemented with very little overhead, in a new product launch that eclipsed the competition’s performance.
Probability models can have significant impact when used for high-reliability engineering, where failure rates are expected to be so low that it is only during high-volume production that problems may be observed. Our probability models are designed for this type of use, and can even form part of the regulatory filings of medical devices.
TTP’s analytical modelling allows component and systems level performance to be fully and quickly explored, maximising the innovation and efficiency of every development.
In most cases these regulatory environments vary from country to country, so in a global market a single product needs to be able to satisfy every country’s requirements.
For each project, TTP reviews the regulatory requirements with its clients and the project structure is carefully organised to meet these demands as efficiently as possible. With extensive experience and knowledge of the regulatory needs of industrial safety, communications, CE marking and accreditation of ISO 13485, TTP is able to draw on project teams highly skilled in science and engineering that also have the appropriate regulatory knowledge.
An example is our work with Atlas Genetics to develop the Atlas io Reader®.
Meeting a long list of regulatory requirements, the instrument was designed to operate a test-specific cartridge, and fully automate a three stage process of DNA extraction and purification, amplification, and electrochemical detection.
The operator simply adds a sample to the cartridge, inserts it into the reader, and follows the on-screen commands.
One of the many constraints on the design was the need to achieve a compact footprint - a requirement that left us with formidable challenges in packaging the fluidic and thermal management systems.
In response, we drew on skills as diverse as fluidics, pneumatic engineering, and software to develop this leading diagnostics instrument. But we didn’t just finish there. In addition to the development work, we took charge of its successful transfer to manufacture in Germany.
Every project is different, and responsibilities and resources are carefully agreed with the client. For example, whether to adopt the client’s regulatory templates and document control system or use TTP procedures. Regardless of the final form, as part of the project’s outputs TTP will prepare paper work such as the design history file, organise and carry out CE marking, and liaise with regulatory bodies as required.
Panini are global leaders in document processing. To stay at number one, they need a product innovation pipeline that will excite their customers, while achieving low cost of ownership and the high reliability small business owners expect.
This was the brief when TTP began working on the Panini I:Deal, a turn key project that encompassed the entire product development process from concept generation and engineering design, through to mass production in China.
Key innovation from TTP that helped the Panini I:Deal stand-out from the competition included: single pass duplex colour scanning using a novel rotating image sensor, user replaceable franking roller and a self-aligning cheque feed mechanism.
Single pass duplex colour cheque scanning, using
User replaceable custom franking roller
Designed for high volume manufacture in the Far East
Self aligning cheque feed mechanism
Hopefully these case studies have shown you just a little of what a collaboration with TTP can achieve, from the creation of powerful and ground-breaking new products and solutions, through to their development and manufacture.
We believe it’s a uniquely visionary approach to Product Development that can help our partners harness – and commercialise – the power of a great idea.
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