Business owners, design engineering groups, or future entrepreneurs need help determining whether or not their idea can be brought to reality. With the services we provide, such as customer fabrication and design engineering, we are able to generate prototypes very quickly for our customers to review. At Blackwater, we are not just the run of the mil fabrication company. We go above and beyond for our customers. One important service we offer that is included in the quoting is design feedback. This means we will review your design and offer feedback on the manufacturing, engineering, or the supply chain to make sure it is what you need. Its no fault to anyone, but it is difficult for some engineers to design a product and it checks all of the boxes right out of the gate. We do not claim to be perfect with all the engineering we do, but we will provide another pair of eyes to help. We will review the design with the following caps in mind – design engineering, supply chain/common materials, manufacturability, and safety. We are committed to safety and efficiency here at the best fabrication shop TX has to offer.

Some companies are focused around doing engineering work only and do not have fabrication or assembly capabilities. Blackwater can work closely with these engineering teams to bring their concepts to life. Since we have an engineering and manufacturing background, we are able to integrate seamlessly with our customers engineering teams to help them succeed. The customer engineering groups can send us 3D CAD files and we are able to open them and bypass waiting on a full-blown engineering drawing package. Our sales team is able to work with our engineering team to actually provide a quote from this 3D model. This helps take the load off of our customers’ engineering team and allows them to stay focused on their internal projects, while we are proving out their concepts and/or quoting their concept model. During this model quoting phase, we are able to review their engineering design for manufacturability and offer design inputs to reduce the cost of the part, if possible. Some designs cannot be changed, but different material or feature recommendations are made at this point to aid the engineering design. Once the proof of concept is completed, they can then create the engineering drawing package. In some cases, this is very useful and can help speed up the product launch cycle.

Some businesses or business owners would rather not take on the cost of having a full-blown engineering team on staff, they would rather pay a contract engineer to do the work. Contract engineering can be very project specific. This can be good and bad, just depending on how much experience the contract engineer has. And how many contacts the engineer is associated with. Business owners who are trying to prove out one of their ideas will at time hire a contract engineer for a certain amount of time. Although this is one way to prove out a concept, allowing Blackwater to manage this for you would be more ideal. Engineering groups within fabrication or assembly companies tend to be more well rounded because of their day to day interactions with suppliers and the fabrication team. Contract engineers may work remotely.

Blackwater’s engineering and fabrication services are very agile. This means we move quickly. If a customer brings us a contract manufacturing project and a high volume product line, we establish the engineering support upfront and as quickly as possible. Engineering will release concept drawings to the fabrication group so they can flush out any design issues, tolerance stack ups, or manufacturing issues. We would prefer to manage all of the customers’ engineering files so that there is only one source of information being managed, rather than the back and forth. It is kind like a man wearing two watches, you never know which one is correct. It is important that this is determined on the front end of the project so that we can help streamline the project and the production side of the high volume project.

Blackwater designed products are very thought out and take into consideration the customers input. Each product we launch has feedback from our customer base to ensure we are meeting their demands. It is foolish to not gain customer feedback when launching a product. At times, we will conduct surveys with our customer base in order to make design decisions, rather than just shooting from the hip. Some customers do not want to pay for the “Cadillac” of all designs and others may just want the product to function and last, just like a Toyota! The market feedback we gain, also provides where the market is going and who are likely customers are. Our engineering team is on the phone with these customers learning about their needs and requirements, what is practical and what is not practical. During these surveys, we may ask how many units you would end up buying this year. This helps us determine shop capacity, capital tooling expenditures, and optimizing our supply chain.

Our engineering CAD system and daily operations are on a cloud server. This ensures Blackwater will receive real time data when we need it. We could be in the field, on a customer’s location, or in a boardroom giving a presentation and we will have access to it. Our 3D CAD software called OnShape is on the cloud. OnShape also has an app that customers can download so that they can view the CAD file from their smartphone or computer in real time. We discovered OnShape when it came out in 2014 and have not looked back. It has been a powerful tool for us. Having the ability to review 3D models in the field from our smartphones with our customers speaks volumes. Conducting design reviews with our customers is a breeze, especially since we can share the model with them by simply asking them to create a free account inside of OnShape. This free account allows them to view the 3D model in real time as we are conducting the design review and/or seeing the progress of the project minute by minute. Having this viewing capability without having to purchase a third party software is invaluable. And it reduces a lot of back and forth time spent between engineers and customers. During a product design, an engineer spends a lot of time locating the information they need. If the customer does set up this user account in OnShape, it should reduce the overall engineering design cycle and help eliminate costly mistakes that could happen in fabrication since these designs were not flushed out during the modeling phase.