Rehkemper Invention and Design, which spends most of its time inventing new toys, has broadened its capabilities and designed a product for the health care market. Using SolidWorks CAD (www.solidworks.com) software, the toy firm created a dental-care system that combines a toothbrush, tongue brush, and irrigator. The AquaSonic Oral Care System requires no batteries or electricity because it works on air pressure— similar to Rehkemper's toy plane designs. Engineers used the software to design everything, right down to the bristles. "It was easier to see what we were designing with 3D models than with drawings or continuous mockups," says CEO Steve Rehkemper. He adds that the software cut time production by 50%.
Design collaboration now includes the entire value chain. From suppliers to customers, purchasing to outside experts, the collaborative design team includes internal and external groups. The design process now stretches across the globe in multiple software formats.
A new high-pressure injection-molding technology produces near-net shape parts with 2-inch-thick walls from high-performance materials like PEEK, PAI, and carbon-filled polymers. Parts show no voids, sinks, or porosity, have more consistent mechanical properties, and are stronger.
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