Product Development – Industrial IT Product

Full development and product manufacturing start in ~ 18 months

Client – Trimble – An established technology company

Expertise Applied


The client needed to produce a charging and Ethernet docking station for their existing ruggedized handheld computer. Their internal teams were capacity-constrained, and did not have experience developing docks and cradles.


SGW Designworks developed a complete design – including all mechanicals and onboard electronics, that worked with two of the client’s handheld products.

Trimble Ethernet Dock for T41/42

Results / Outcomes

  • Multiple prototype cycles led to the right product configuration
  • Leveraging knowledge from other similar projects (without infringing IP) sped up the electronics development portion of the project
  • The product was successfully launched within 18 months of project kickoff


Trimble needed a docking station for their T41 and T42 industrial handhelds. They knew that SGW Designworks was well suited to develop the product because of their history of work on similar products. This dock would present some specific challenges:

  • It would need to be compatible with two handhelds – which are similar but not identical in exterior geometry
  • It would need to provide not only charging to the handheld, but also Ethernet connectivity
  • The product would need to be produced in low volumes, so tooling costs would need to be low
Bottom view, with the cover removed to show the PCBA

The mechanical team focused on development of a retention system to hold the units in the dock, and ensure reliable connection between the handheld’s onboard pads and the docks onboard pogo pins. A number of design and prototype iterations led to the best design.

The embedded systems team focused on the charge circuit and Ethernet connectivity. Deep collaboration between the teams ensured that the PCBA footprint was compatible with the mechanical design.

The client was engaged throughout development to provide design input, use-case context, and to test prototypes. With iteration complete and the design frozen, the contract manufacturer was engaged to work through design for manufacture (DFM).

SGW Designworks tested and validated initial production units, and the product was successfully launched.

Hardware Developed Technologies Leveraged
Enclosure: molded plastic and sheet metalSolidworks FEA
Current-limited charge circuitSLA nd SLS 3D Printing
Ethernet connectivitySolidworks 3D CAD