Our Process

We take an intuitive approach to design and believe that product development is not just a series of steps on a Gantt chart, but is a holistic integration of creativity in all disciplines. 

Unlike any other product development company, Catalyst offers complete product development services in the same building.  Our industrial designers work alongside engineers, tooling experts, and manufacturing specialists. This internal collaboration allows Catalyst to provide comprehensive brand and product development strategies.  When a concept is presented, we are confident that it can be cost-effectively developed, tested, manufactured, sold, serviced, and distributed. 

Our integration of in-house services also ensures our client’s intellectual property remains safe and sound within our four walls.  

Research

IDENTIFYING UNMET OPPORTUNITIES

Capabilities

•   User Centered Design
  Brand Category Development & Strategy
  Brainstorming
  Ideation

  Design Thinking
  Ergonomics
   Story Boarding

Beginning with a period of discovery, we conduct user research, uncover unmet needs, collect inspiration, and capture imagery. Research and discovery also involves evaluation of the current market state by reviewing trends in related and non-related categories.

User research is often used to uncover information related to product needs, type, use, and consumer expectations, not only from a fit and functional aspect, but aesthetically as well.

Concepts are generated through the collection, analysis, and synthesis of data.  Product challenges are identified far in advance of project implementation as client, customer, and environmental needs are fully analyzed.

Catalyst delivers design thinking that works. Often, our clients ask us to simply redefine an existing product or brand. Other times, we are the springboard that sets the direction for new products, systems, and brand strategies.

Design

CREATING REAL WORLD PRODUCT SOLUTIONS

Capabilities

  User Centered Design
  Brainstorming
  Ideation
   User Interface Design
  Form Studies

  Ergonomics
   Story Boarding
   Virtual Modeling
   Physical Modeling
  Photorealistic Renderings

Many design firms focus on aesthetics, letting others worry about manufacturability and economic considerations. Catalyst’s Industrial Design group takes a more intuitive approach design.

Without compromising creative solutions or insights, our industrial design team approaches design for manufacturing intent.  We focus on how human factors (desirability), technical factors (feasibility), and business factors (viability) interact to define a product.

This definition determines direction of the concepts that optimize function, value, and appearance.  From here, initial concepts are created and refined to pinpoint the final design concept.

These are not just clever ideas and pretty pictures, but thoughtful, real world solutions that make a difference in our clients’ bottom line.

Engineering

DEFINING DETAILS FOR DESIGN SUCCESS

Capabilities

  Mechanical Engineering
  Mold Flow Analysis
  Structural Analysis (FEA)

  Complex Surface Modeling
  Enclosure Development
  Development for Manufacturability

At Catalyst, we consider Mechanical Design and Engineering to be an extension of the creative process. Our engineers evaluate the many ways a product may be used, produced, assembled, serviced, and packaged. We strive to define the intersection between optimum design and ideal manufacturing methods. Our engineering team evolves concepts and resolves manufacturing details while enhancing the overall design intent.

With 200+ years of combined product development experience across many diverse industries and business segments, we complement our clients’ core competencies. This multi-industry experience allows Catalyst to leverage unique ideas across often unconnected industries, ensuring crossover thought and innovative solutions.

Our Engineers consider real world aspects such as manufacturability, optimization, serviceability and user interaction while still maintaining design integrity. Utilizing state-of-the-art design, analysis, and simulation software, Catalyst’s Mechanical Engineers create 3D CAD models in a timely manner to analyze mechanical and structural functionality and to refine details.  This allows for the assembly of components in a computer-generated (virtual) model to verify fit, function, tolerances and interferences.  Using virtual simulations, engineers can accurately predict problems and discover enhancements at an early stage, when changes are still fast and inexpensive.

Prototyping

VERIFYING SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Capabilities

RAPID PROTOTYPING


Validating concepts through various prototyping materials, methods, and processes.

  3D Printing
  FDM
  Stereo-lithography
  RTV / Urethane Castings
  CNC Models

RAPID TOOLING:


Building complex, custom, and quality injection mold tools through rapid tooling technologies.

  Rapid Tooling
  Insert Tooling
  QC10 Aluminum
  Edge, Diaphragm, Sub and Pin Gating
  Manual Side Actions

Design realization is at the core of our capabilities. It is the validation of concepts through various rapid prototyping methods, materials, and processes to better understand real world constraints and implications.

Prototyping is a critical step in product development with many options and methods available.  It not only provides design verification, but further solidifies the concept and confirms that the design intent has been achieved.  Catalyst offers extensive on-site prototyping and manufacturing capabilities that allows our team to be responsive, integrating critical learnings more quickly.  

Catalyst recognized years ago that to truly offer production ready plastic prototypes on a timely, cost effective basis a rapid process was needed.  Catalyst’s proprietary rapid tooling processes have been used by clients in a multitude of industries to create actual plastic prototype parts and marketing samples.  These techniques ensure fit, finish and function since they use the actual plastic material to be used in production.  Plastic parts produced from these processes will look, feel and act like a production part.

At Catalyst, we guide our clients through the countless prototyping options to ensure proper selection aligns with the various project stage gates. Prototyping can be as simple as sculpted clay models or as detailed as a production intent product. Regardless, we offer the latest technologies to validate form, fit, function, structural integrity and manufacturability to ensure a seamless transition to production.

Production

THE MARK OF A TRUE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

Capabilities

TOOLING:


Complex, custom, and quality injection mold tools for bridge and low volume production utilization.

  Rapid Bridge Tooling
  Production Tooling
  Insert Tooling
  QC10 Aluminum / P20 Steel
  Edge, Diaphragm, Sub and Pin Gating
  Direct and Hot Sprue Runner System
  Automated Side Actions

MANUFACTURING:


Providing custom built solutions, low volume, and bridge production.

  Computer Numerical Control Machines (CNC)
  Electronic Discharge Machines (EDM)
  Mills, Lathes, Carbon Electrode Production
  Annealing Oven
  Gravimetric Feeders
  Multi-Channel Controllers
  Injection Molding Presses: 85, 140, 165, 385, and 500 Ton

Catalyst recognized in the beginning that to truly offer successful product design and development, an in-depth understanding of manufacturing, production, and assembly was needed.

Product development does not stop when a concept sketch is drawn or even when a prototype is built—it continues on until it reaches the hands of the end user.  This is what really defines the difference between a product design company and a product development company.

Catalyst’s extensive in-house manufacturing capabilities ensure that we know not only how to design a product, but how to design a product that can be cost-effectively produced and actually used.

To further accelerate the product development process, Catalyst has developed its own plastic injection tooling processes to help customers take their products to market in record time – even for a short period of time while high volume production is being ramped up.

Using short run or low volume production parts until full production is on line will further reduce the time to market. This results in capturing a greater initial market share and a greater profit potential.

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