Industrial Product Development – Hands-Free Barcode Scanning

Design, prototyping, testing, and product launch in ~ 8 months

Client – Portsmith Technologies – a designer and manufacturer of enterprise IT products

Expertise Applied


Portsmith had an opportunity to sell large volumes of a unique dock for the Zebra TC-56 into a large US corporation, but did not have a viable product to offer.


SGW Designworks developed, prototyped, and optimized a design that would meet the needs of the end-user, while achieving production cost targets for Portsmith.

charging dock development
Portsmith Technologies’ ScanStand

Results / Outcomes

  • Multiple prototype and testing cycles led to the initial design and feature set
  • In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, additional applications were identified and the ScanStand is now adopted by performing arts and cultural venues worldwide for its contactless scanning capabilities
  • The ScanStand undergoes frequent updates to keep up with new client demands and changing specificiations


Portsmith Technologies has been producing and selling cradles and docks for industrial handhelds for over twenty years. When a major retail chain approached them asking for a cradle configuration that did not yet exist, Portsmith decided to engage SGW Designworks and develop a solution.

After working with Portsmith and the retailer to agree on the winning concept, product prototypes were developed and sent to the retailer for in-store testing. Testing led to two design iterations and design finalization. The product design was then optimized specifically for the target deployment volumes the retailer indicated, and the production methodologies were defined for Portsmith.

The retail chain that originally approached Portsmith had decided to deploy Zebra TC56 handhelds in 3,000 of their stores across the US. Portsmith was able to offer conventional charging and Ethernet-connected docks to the retailer, but the retailer also needed a dock specifically to capture the TC56 and hold it inverted for hands-free bar-code scanning. The “Scan Stand” would need to include specific adjust-ability, and be able to handle long-term use in the retail environment.

SGW Designworks went to work developing concepts. To minimize tooling costs and speed up development, Portsmith and SGW Designworks leveraged some components already available through the existing Portsmith supply chain and relied on proven manufacturers in the SGW Designworks network for truly new parts.

Hardware Developed Technologies Leveraged
Bent sheet metal partsSolidworks 3D CAD
Machined steel partsKeyshot Rendering Engine
Integrated hinge mechanism