Fast smart card system prototype delivered in 12 days

A supplier of smart card payment systems has recently cut its time to market by outsourcing its product development to a rapid prototyping specialist, writes Dean Palmer

Dione, a manufacturer of smart card payment systems based in Buckinghamshire, reported recently that it had received fully-finished stereolithography models and vacuum castings for its new handheld smart card system in less than 12 working days, by outsourcing the entire product development work to a third party supplier.

The project was for Dione's 'Xplorer' handheld smart card payment system. In late 2003, the company approached ARRK, a specialist in rapid prototyping and product development, and following an initial meeting, despatched 3D CAD data (Pro/Engineer) and 2D part drawings to ARRK to request a quotation for fully finished, painted and textured stereolithography models and six sets of vacuum castings with rubber over mouldings and clear windows.

The stereolithography models of the Xplorer handheld, including paint and texturing, were delivered in just three to five days. Silicone tools were then created in three to four days before casting could begin. According to ARRK, Dione's engineering manager Gavin Howard "received fully completed SL and vacuum casting parts on his desk in less than 12 working days". ARRK project managed Dione's complete product development from the UK.

Dione had initially requested ten export tools and mouldings from ARRK. H13 steel tools, capable of producing half a million parts, were agreed and then quoted for, before the tools were shipped to Dione's main moulder, based in Singapore. The quotation also included a rotational twin shot tool and rubber over moulding tools, along with moulded parts featuring Dione's printed logo, protective labels and window inserts. A mould flow analysis for the upper, lower and window components on the Xplorer handset was also requested by Dione.

Tom Shelley

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