On-Demand Engineering Support FAQ
- How quickly can someone be available to do the work I need done?
This may occur as soon as the next day, but logistics and other commitments may make it longer than that. A return phone call or an initial meeting to discuss the scope of what needs to be done and expected job duration will occur the day you call or the next.
- Is there a minimum amount of work time requirement?
Yes, 4 hours is the normal minimum, but this may be flexible depending on travel time, overall job duration and other factors.
Government Funding FAQ
- Do we have to share what we learn during R & D?
Commonly it is necessary to explain what disadvantage there is with the present way of doing things in the specific technical area you want to improve, how the anticipated development may help and the knowledge and advantages you hope to gain. The documents supporting the steps of development need not get into technical detail about how it works, but rather what improvements or developments were achieved. So what you share is not the important part about exactly how it works.
- Are our competitors likely to discover what we have learned?
There is no intention or program agenda to share information with other companies in your industry. Furthermore a request for confidentiality is honoured. Combined with the fact that you did not have to provide details of exactly how what you developed works, closely guarded information should be secure.
- Is it best for R & D oriented programs to concentrate on successes when preparing a report for a claim?
No, the opposite is true. It is anticipated that R & D includes successes and failures. A lack of the latter can even throw into question how valid the claim is. A lack of failures indicates technical uncertainty did not exist. It is best to explain to some degree what happened, good and bad. The best approach is to embrace the saying that you learn the most from your failures and identify them.
- Is my company too small for these programs to be worth participating in?
No entity is too small. Many programs are designed for small (even a one person operation) to medium sized companies. The main point is to determine what programs fit what you do and the claim value. Usually it is 'worth' it. Such companies are a key focus for since they often do not get the benefits they deserve and need.
- How much money are we talking about?
A tough question to answer. It could vary from hundreds to millions of dollars depending on your company size and how much is spent on qualifying expenses. An estimate can be determined by doing an initial assessment of what your company has been working on. Regardless of the amount, it is found money or 'low hanging fruit' that will help your company's growth and chances of success.
- Our company already participates in a government program, so we have it covered, right?
That may be true, but do you know about all government programs and are maximizing your claims? It is quite possible that despite participating in one or more programs that there may be others that apply to your situation that you are not aware of. An initial meeting with costs nothing and can relatively quickly determine what other untapped benefits there may be. Assessing this for larger companies is an important for to assess because of the unrealized benefits that may be waiting. Double checking either reveals more benefits you can gain or gives you the comfort that you do 'have it covered'.
- Should I wait until 'tax time' to do this?
Learning about the benefits these programs can provide and how to best align yourself to take advantage of them is much better to do now or at least sooner rather than later. Waiting often means missed opportunities since the eligibility period for past and current claims keeps moving forward and items valid today can be invalid tomorrow. Furthermore, waiting until the 'tax time' rushed period often leads to insufficient time to get information organized for the highest value claim. Why wait?
Project Management FAQ
- What types of projects can help my company with?
Automotive or other part programs, equipment procurement, installations are some general categories, but are not limited to that. For the best assessment, give a call and in a few minutes we can ascertain how we can help.
Intellectual Property Services, Management FAQ [and Misconceptions]
- When and why was the patent system developed?
The US patent system was established in 1790 and was put in place to encourage the sharing of technology. The first granting of exclusive rights for limited periods to the makers of inventions seems to have been in Venice in 1474. Click for Patent History.
- What are the operating principles of the system?
A patent must be explained such that it can be reproduced by others who are experts in the applicable field in exchange for the monopoly rights to the use of the invention for varying periods in different countries [ie 20 years from filing date in the US].
- Should I patent an idea for a new device or process as soon as possible to prevent a competitor from stealing it?
There are number of considerations that must go into the decision to patent an idea to where it makes the most sense to do so. Patenting is not cheap and not always the most suitable method to protect your inventions and innovations. It is important to consider the merits of each situation to arrive at the best judgment.
- When I patent my invention can I prevent others from making it?
Not exactly. The intent of the patent system is to spread technical knowledge beyond the mind or company of the inventor. However, those who chose to use the concepts in a patent are obligated to pay the inventor for the right to do so at a fee agreeable to both. This can allow inventors to gain from other companies commercializing their inventions. However, the presence of a patent often results in competitors avoiding the described method to prevent litigation and its attendant costs.
- If I catch someone using my patented invention, I can take them to court and shut their operation down?
The aim of most IP disputes should be to reach a business agreement where the patent holder receives a royalty and the licensee has the right to make the invention within the limits of the agreement. This is almost always in the best interest of both parties because of the high cost of prosecuting and defending a patent case. However, failing to reach an agreement can result in much money expended by both sides and a patent court either finds that infringement has been committed and the infringer can be shut down or there is no infringement.
Research & Development Services and Program Management FAQ
New Device or Process Conception, Design and Development FAQ
- How can I be sure that the excellent idea that one of our engineers has will be a success?
There are no guarantees when developing new products, processes or technology. One thing that is certain is the greatest likelihood occurs when you have the best advice, scientific approach and plan. can provide these and thereby increase the chances that success will be realized.
- Who owns the ideas and concepts related to your project that personnel contribute during the course of your R & D work?
would be working for your company and therefore the contributions of our personnel would belong to your company.
Product, Tool and Mechanical Design & Certification FAQ
- What are some examples of structures that may require mechanical design principles to be applied?
There are many situations where such design principles are used to ensure that a structure is strong enough to do the job that is required of it, while avoiding the disadvantages of overdesigning. Examples include machine components and guarding, platforms, new devices that are being developed, storage racks and other structures to contribute to the more efficient or safer workplace among many other possibilities.
- When is the certification of a professional engineer required?
Often when obtaining approvals for the appropriate municipal, provincial or federal government agencies an opinion or approval is required. You may also simply want or consider it wise to seek this to ensure your product will do the job for your customers properly and well. Minimizing the risk of problems and legal liability are also important considerations.
- Finite Element Analysis seems to be becoming more popular all the time. Doesn't it make mechanical design unnecessary?
FEA is a great tool, especially for complex loading and structural situations. Many applications requiring engineering certification can be determined by calculation and it may be quicker to do in this manner rather than setting FEA models and running them.
Component and Process Analysis FAQ
- What's the point of doing analysis like this?
Doing analyses methodically and carefully can provide great insight into how the part was made and to take informed action to resolve the issue at hand.
- I have heard a lot of talk about design of experiments (DOE) for years, but no one seems to use it much. Since it seems pretty complicated, is it worth the trouble?
DOE is a potentially amazing tool that allows the user to sort interconnected factors into their component.
- How does reverse engineering work?
The brief answer is it consists of:
- Taking macroscopic measurements of part features such as weight, size, mat'l, find tool marks etc.
- Detailed material thickness, deciding to cut where needed, localized material properties, assembly steps and sequence, more detailed look at tool marks on features such as holes, indents.
- Dissect part as needed.
- Make an assessment of the likely sequence of events.
- How can we figure out what training our employees really need?
It is usually best to outsource the service in question [ie intellectual property services and management] for an extended period of time to assess how often it is needed. Ensure there is sufficient need and value.
- How do we get our employees to buy into the training we provide them?
Your employees need to see the benefit and relevance to the tasks they need to perform and be interested in using the training offered to learn new skills. Lacking this sort of buyin can mean the training money and time spent is largely wasted if it goes unused or poorly received by an employee who thinks it is a waste of time.
- How do we get the best value for our training dollar?
In short, you must ensure the training is 'needed', both with respect to frequency and in the employees view. Just 'doing some training' without employees can easily result in little benefit gained.
- How can we decide when it is best to have a service provided for us or train our personnel to do it inhouse?
The extended assessment period mentioned above is a key factor. Involving the affected employees will help significantly.
Please call with any questions or to discuss your needs and how you may benefit from our services:
(519) 658-9902 local | (877) 658-9902 tollfree | Email