WE BRING Technology TO LIFE

We help our clients harness technology to create new products. Products that consumers want – and need. Products that delight – and inspire. Products that endure the test of time.

The  process involves idea generation, conceptual design, technology assessment, user studies, engineering development, prototyping, testing, documentation, and a lot of hard work.

We don’t claim to have a special recipe for this process, but most of the products we work on go in production – and stay in production – for a long, long time. 

We must be doing something right.

ROBUST ENGINEERING

Like most engineers, we like to solve problems. We also like to build things – lots of things.

We work with robust, commercially proven manufacturing processes including injection molding, blow molding, extrusion molding, die casting, machining, stamping, deep drawing, and forging. We work with plastics – from ABS to Zytel – as well as with metals – from Aluminum to Zinc.

While our primary focus is on performance, we understand the importance of appearance. We work with finishing processes such as painting, plating, anodizing, custom color molding, in-mold decorating, labeling, laser etching, pad printing, and more. So from concept to six sigma production, we’ll have you covered.

Success product design also takes into account human technology – intellectual property law, global economics, organizational behavior, the politics of change.

Implementing all this in a commercially successful product? Now that is an art.

Plastics

Of all the technologies we work with, our favorite technology is injection molding using thermoplastic materials. It offers a unique combination of precision, performance, and cost, while also being environmentally clean.

We know this process well: from part design to material selection to mold design to machine selection to process optimization, and we are world-class experts on thermoplastic materials.

We understand thermoplastic behavior, not just in terms of physical properties – stiffness, strength, toughness, etc. – but in how that relates to end-use product performance.

We understand how these materials perform in the real world, where they are subject to human use – and abuse – over long periods of time.

We understand their cost of use, not just in the cost per pound of a given resin, or in the global availability of a specific material from a specific vendor, but in the total cost of production, including use, re-use, and disposal.

We also understand their place in the 21st century, and the cultural,  sociological, and political forces that affect the use of these materials.

Bottom line, we know plastics – from the micro view to the macro view.

We know thermoplastic materials so well, we wrote the book about them:  Thermoplastic Material Selection:  A Practical Guide.

Motorola phone cases engineered in part by Art of Mass Production, a San Diego based plastics engineering company

Color AND APPEARANCE

A truly great product has a Goldilocks look – not too flashy, not too bland – but with just the right mix of warm, cool, soft, rugged, friendly, edginess. And it feels good, too – with the right weight, the right balance, and the proper sense of touch.

It’s not our job to tell you what your product should look like, or how it should feel – our job is to manage the process of making that happen – consistently, reliably, cost effectively. We deal with the entire spectrum of product appearance – including materials, finishes, textures, gloss levels, lighting conditions, end-use environments, process specifications, measurement specifications, appearance matching, color standards, and more.

You see, we’re not just engineers, we’re artists too. We know how to dance in the space where materials experts and color specialists do things that make you go – wow.

So rest assured, whether whether it’s plating, polishing, anodizing, painting, or in-mold decorating, we’ll do the dirty work to make sure your product looks good.

Soft Stuff

The human brain is a wonderful thing. The forebrain, with the left and right hemispheres of the cerebral cortex. The cerebellum tucked underneath, controlling motion, movement, and the emotions (anger, fear, and pleasure). The brain stem at the base, the juncture to the spinal cord and the body. Neurons and synapses and neurotransmitters all dancing together to help create the human experience.

Sometimes, the human experience is shaped by technology, and sometimes technology is shaped by the human experience. Great products do a little bit of both. They do more than fill a market need. They do something special, combining hard and soft technology in a way that touches the human spirit. This is not easy to do. It not only requires an ability to deliver a robust technical solution, but a willingness – even an eagerness – to shape technology with a soft fuzziness.

Some people refer to engineers as being “left-brained” or “cerebral.”  Some companies talk about thinking “outside the box.” (What’s up with that? What kind of management paradigm puts their best thinkers in a box? ) And some companies talk about how they integrate left and right brain thinking (left brain plus the right brain, but just the fore-brain part, forget about the hind-brain, and physiological and emotional responses and all that other touchy-feely stufff.)

We laugh at all of this, because we know they’re not even halfway there. You see, creating great products involves more than just thinking about technology, or about a fulfilling a market need – it’s about touching the human spirit.

When you’re ready to build a product that really touches people, give us call. We love the soft stuff.