In early 2019, Tait engineers embarked on a project to expand our portable radio range, with a very aggressive schedule. By December 2019, sixteen new models were in production and shipping to customers. We take a look at what went into delivering these products on time, as promised.
Tait Tough portable radios have represented an exceptional standard of rugged communications hardware for years. Our customers demand equipment they can trust, and have relied on the Tait TP9300 and TP9400 to work safely and efficiently in the most dangerous of jobs.
Technology evolves quickly, and what was once cutting edge will eventually become industry standard. Tait staff and dealers have heard regular suggestions and requests for hardware features and capabilities to add to our products, and our engineers are always looking to bring new innovations to our technology.
In early 2019 a project began to expand our portable radio range, to deliver customers the connectivity and features they need to operate in the work environments of today and tomorrow. Research was gathered from all parts of our organization, in all corners of the world. What do our users want, what do they need, and how can we make them safer and more productive than before?
The Feature List
From a wide range of insights, an ambitious concept was designed by Tait product managers, taking what was great about our existing radio platform and building on it to present our customers with a radio they would be proud to use. Proposed improvements included:
- Greater connectivity options to connect to both existing networks, and the networks and devices industries will utilize in the years ahead.
- Best-in-class audio quality, not just a louder, clearer speaker for incoming calls, but active noise cancellation to improve outgoing calls too.
- Enhanced user experience, a bigger color screen with brightness options for light or dark environments, and more ergonomic, user-friendly controls.
- Zero compromises to the Tait Tough build quality, fleet management and worker safety tools that our existing customers depend on.
Tait engineers took those ambitious goals and ran with them, quickly turning that concept into a prototype that would be iterated upon until our demanding standards were met.
One critical element that contributes to our Tait Tough portable radio’s acclaimed robustness is the central aluminum chassis. This strong, stiff, heat-dissipating metal would typically be die-cast, but that represents an expensive and time-consuming process. Damian Blogg, Design Services and Mechanical Engineering Manager, speaks on the problem:
“In order to prove the robustness of the internal systems, it was critical that we were able to correctly simulate the impact forces exerted on these systems. We required representative prototype components from an early point in the development of the product.”
Tait partnered with Callaghan Innovation to utilize a metal 3D printing solution. Read more about this process here. This allowed our engineers to use accurate metal prototypes throughout the process, accelerating development time.
“The accurate aluminum components allowed us to run representative robustness and thermal tests, and feed the results of this back into the development process to improve the product.
This in turn provided us with the confidence to commit to the manufacture of the production tool for the chassis earlier than we would have, and so contributed to the development team’s delivery of the new radio on time and within specification to a deadline which was dismissed by many initially as not realistic.”
– Damian Blogg, Design Services and Mechanical Engineering Manager
From start to finish, the hard work and determination of the Tait team to overcome any challenges the ambitious project presented was key in delivering the new portables on time. Yoram Benit, COO at Tait, comments “It is wonderful to see people so enthusiastic and putting in so much effort to resolve the issues which are part of every project like this.”
Some key milestones in the project included:
- Prototypes of the portables for user testing were sent out late August 2019, and software updates to improve usability and audio quality followed soon after.
- The official release of the TP9500 and TP9600 radios was on 17 October 2019, with first public appearances at trade shows throughout October and November 2019, receiving great feedback.
- The positive response meant orders started to come in as soon as November, with the first orders going to existing customers KiwiRail in New Zealand, and Boddington Gold Mine in Australia.
This successful reception presented yet another challenge – to start production before the holiday season. By carefully planning and designing an efficient manufacturing process, the Tait team was ready to start production of the new radios on the 11th of December 2019.
The production process went so smoothly that the first batches of the new radios shipped just over a week later to KiwiRail and Boddington Mine – delivering the new products before the end of the year and meeting the tight deadlines of this project.
“It is great to see a real determination to meet the deadlines we have agreed to and carry on beyond the launch, continuing to enhance our LMR portfolio.”
– Yoram Benit, COO Tait Communications
On Time, As Promised
In December 2019, meeting the projected schedule, Tait effectively released 16 new products to market:
- TP9500 DMR, available in both 4 and 16 key options, and 4 Frequency Band options
- TP9600 P25, available in both 4 and 16 key options, and 4 Frequency Band options
Delivering so many products in such a short time is a significant achievement for any company, and a record for Tait. This took a focused effort from every part of our organization. We’re proud to offer a range of products that our customers can feel confident carrying into their challenging jobs, while taking advantage of industry-leading technology.
Tait radio users have tough jobs. Police, Fire, Emergency services, Mining, Oil and Gas, and Utility workers face challenging conditions every day.
Learn more about our range of rugged radios at TaitTough.com