Archive for the ‘Design Process’ Category

Formation Develops 3D Printer

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015



Formation Design Group recently developed a large format fused deposition, 3D printer that also features an integrated laser cutter. Although we typically develop products for client companies, the new rapid prototyping system was an internal project driven by our own use cases and prototyping needs.

After years of outsourcing rapid prototype components, Formation purchased a commercial stereo-lithography system for creating highly accurate prototypes. Although useful, SLA parts have limitations and tend to have higher raw material costs when compared to most common 3D printers or fused deposition based prototyping equipment. After considering a range of commercially available 3D printers to supplement our SLA machine, none was an ideal fit for our needs. Consequently, we decided to develop our own!

Because of its large build envelope of 330mm by 330mm by 230mm, material flexibility and integrated laser cutter, our new system has proven immediately useful. Since its creation, our initial system has been running and producing high quality prototype components nearly nonstop. The development of the system was led by Formation Mechanical Engineer Francis Garing who carried out mechanical design, software development, systems integration, testing and optimization for the printer. Based on the success of the initial design, we are now creating an even larger system with a build envelope measuring 600mm by 600mm by 1220mm.

The ability to quickly and inexpensively generate large rapid prototype components supports our “hands-on” development philosophy and encourages casual experimentation. Industrial Designer Ben Bailey had this to say, “Even though we’ve always had multi-axis CNC capabilities and a substantial prototype lab, with the creation of our first 3D printer there was an instant, positive effect on our work flow. Being able to quickly realize prototypes and test ideas on a whim and without worrying about cost has had a very positive effect on my creativity and how I work.”

Medical Product Innovation Workshop

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014


Formation’s Phil Palermo will be co-hosting an Innovation Generation workshop at the inaugural Usability Ecosystem Medical Design Conference in Tampa Florida. Phil will collaborate with Joe Cesa from Kimberly Clark to lead a work session focused on translating research based insights into tangible concept solutions.

The transition between design research and synthesized research based concepts is often a critical time in the development process. Rationalizing research insights related to usability and workflow with functional requirements is an essential part of synthesizing viable medical solutions.

During the workshop Joe and Phil will share methods for prioritizing and working with research based insights to create robust concept solutions. For more about the conference and the development of medical products please visit the Usability Ecosystem’s conference site.

Award Winning Research + Design Process

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Avon Formation Industrial Design Excellence Award

The research and design of AVON’s new SCBA was recognized with a GOLD Industrial Designers Society of America, International Design Excellence Award (IDEA). Started in 1980, the IDEA program fosters business and public understanding regarding the impact of industrial design excellence and represents one of the most coveted and prestigious design industry awards.

Formation worked with AVON Protection’s product managers, engineers and marketing specialists to research and design the new DELTAIR Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (S.C.B.A.). The development of the Deltair system was planned to coincide with the introduction of new regulations governing firefighter SCBAs. The goal of the project was to use the new regulations, along with input from end users to develop the world’s best breathing system for firefighters.

SCBAs are used in extremely harsh conditions by professionals under tremendous physical and mental stress. The life-sustaining nature of the product and its extreme use context presented the development team with many challenges. Most significant was the fact that no one on the design team had or could ever have first-hand experience using a SCBA in a real world, life-threatening situation. Because of this, the development of the Deltair system was conceived as a co-design project involving seasoned firefighters. During contextual work sessions, the design team collaborated with 38 active duty firefighters from 9 departments across the U.S to design the best SCBA possible.

About The Industrial Designers Society of America
With its roots reaching back to 1938 and founded in 1965, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is the world’s oldest, largest, member-driven society for industrial design. IDSA represents professionals in product design, interaction design, human factors, ergonomics, design research, design management, universal design and related design fields. The society produces the renowned International Design Excellence Award® (IDEA) competition annually; hosts the International Design Conference and five regional conferences each year; and publishes Innovation, a quarterly journal on design, and designBytes, a weekly e-newsletter highlighting the latest headlines in the design world. IDSA’s charitable arm, the Design Foundation, supports the dissemination of undergraduate and graduate scholarships annually to further industrial design education. The organization has more than 3,000 members in 29 professional chapters in the U.S. and internationally.

The Next Big Thing Caterpillars New 7495

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013



Formation recently collaborated with with Caterpillar’s electric rope shovel team and Steve Casey of Ergonomics Systems Design on the development of the new Cat 7495.

The Caterpillar 7495 is an extremely large and highly specialized excavator. Weighing in at over 1,300 tons it’s is one of the largest and most advanced pieces of earth moving equipment ever created. The 7495 is capable of moving over 100 tons of material per pass. This capacity combined with electric drive and dig systems results in extremely efficient operation. Formation contributed to the development of the big Cat’s new operator-centric cab and control system. Designed for efficiency and crew comfort, the cab’s isolated operator station, glass cockpit and optimized sight lines afford unprecedented comfort, control and productivity. Amenities include fully customizable joystick controls, multi-screen 360° remote vision systems, a kitchen complete with refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave, lavatory, trainer seat, observer seat and ample equipment storage.

The development of the 7495’s cab and control systems were the culmination of a user centered design process that included contextual research and workshops with more than 80 miners from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. The development process was featured in the November 2012 issue of Industrial Vehicle Technology (IVT). For more information, please download the PDF case study or visit IVT’s website. The 7495 is currently in production and available from Caterpillar.


Formation Partner to Speak at Surgical Invention Convention

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Formation Design Group founding Partner Russell Kroll will be speaking at the 2nd Annual Surgical Invention Convention. The Invention Convention is a two day symposium focused on the transformation of ideas and inventions into the medical products of tomorrow. The convention is organized through the collaborative work of Malizia Clinic and Georgia Institute of Technology’s Translational Research Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science.

Download the Convention Brochure

Russell’s presentation, Grounding Your Idea In Research, will highlight research techniques for use early in the design process. Specifically, techniques for quickly establishing the development context and evaluation criteria will be emphasized.  Developing a new product is a process and early research provides an essential foundation. The two day program will provide attendees with proven strategies and methods to transition new concepts into commercialized medical products.

This Year’s Keynote Speakers Include

Edward M. Copeland, III, MD, Past President of the American College of Surgeons.

Howard M. Jenkins, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Publix Supermarkets and Chairman of the Board, Malizia Clinic

The Surgical Invention Convention will be held on  April 7-8, 2011 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, in Midtown Atlanta adjacent to the Georgia Tech’s campus.  For more information or to register please visit

Formation Enhances Finite Element Engineering Capabilities

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Formation Design Group recently enhanced its predictive engineering capability with the addition of NX Nastran and SolidWorks® Simulation Professional. Both are premium computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools that facilitate the development of reliable and optimized designs within shorter design cycle times. They allow Formation’s engineers to accurately simulate real-world operating conditions, reducing the time and cost associated with building and testing prototypes. Specifically, the tools allow us to compare and optimize alternatives, simulate drops, or impacts, predict buckling or collapse and simulate thermal conditions.

Formation’s Design Process Featured On NX Website

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Siemens NX is an advanced, digital product development system used by leading companies such as Apple, GM, Bose, Textron, Microsoft Hardware, Nissan, Siemens and Jaguar.

To illustrate the creative and down stream integration advantages of their software, Siemens NX created a case study documenting a recent Formation design program.

To view the case study visit the Siemens NX website.

Formation Enhances RP Capabilities With Large CNC Machine

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Formation recently accepted delivery of a Haas GR408 CNC Gantry Router. The machine’s large work envelope provides a stable and efficient platform on which to cut a wide range materials. It is equipped with look ahead high speed machining capability and has a maximum spindle speed 10,000 RPM. Formation selected Gibbs CAM software to create tool paths and machine instructions.

Formation’s Phil Palermo + Robert Henshaw Speak at Unigraphics Conference

Thursday, May 10th, 2001

Formation partners Phil Palermo and Robert Henshaw were featured speakers at this year’s Unigraphics users conference in Orlando Florida. Robert and Phil explained how Formation’s designers utilize the advanced capabilities of Unigraphics Shape Studio software to explore, create and refine industrial design solutions.