TriMech provides design and prototyping support to Tactical Deployment Systems

Tactical Deployment Systems, or TDS, is an ISO 9001: 2015 Certified Manufacturer of custom fiber optic assemblies for use in high-end data centers, the military, long distance carriers and commercial applications.

Established in 2005 by David Mullsteff, TDS is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia and provides fully customized system solutions for an extremely demanding high-speed data communications market.

TriMech interviewed David Mullsteff, the President of Tactical Deployment Systems, after their services were completed with TriMech’s Project Engineering Group (PEG). David originally reached out when he realized they needed experts to take their design beyond the conception stage.

The Project Engineering Group is a team of SOLIDWORKS certified engineers and designers with experience in multiple industries. Their capabilities range from simple CAD design and modeling projects to complex FEA and CFD analysis services, all utilizing TriMech partnered products including the SOLIDWORKS suite of tools, Stratasys 3D printers and Artec 3D scanners.

Tactical Deployment Systems Problem

Most of today’s high-density data center “targeted” patching systems have a cassette format attempting to maximize chassis density, but they are not conducive to easy installation and cable routing through existing ladder racks, innerduct and raised floor systems due to size.

Tactical Deployment Systems wanted to provide a solution to this problem by designing a 1-U, 12-cassette system where the cassette is installed and removed from the rear. However, they did not have the internal design and engineering expertise to progress this past the conceptual stage.


PEG utilized its product development, mechanical engineering, rapid prototyping and design for manufacture expertise to develop the HD82 system.

Phase 1: Concept Development

Through onsite and online conference meetings, Tactical Deployment Systems explained their design requirements and tasked PEG with determining if the idea was feasible. PEG got to work producing a SOLIDWORKS model of their cassette and chassis idea turning an ambiguous concept into a potential manufacturable option.

TriMech’s Project Engineering Group was an extension of our business and supported us throughout the entire process. Without their support, we never would have been able to produce the HD8², from an idea to a production line product. It is nice to know there is a company that we can go to that has the technical knowledge and the support services to help a small business produce product lines that can compete with large global companies.

David Mullsteff, President, Tactical Deployment Systems

Phase 2: Design Refinement

After a few reviews with Tactical Deployment Systems, the concept model was approved for prototyping. The cassette models needed to be designed for injection moldability with the tray being refined for production by sheet metal manufactures. Tolerance analyses were performed to optimize the fit of the components and connectors inside of the cassette and each cassette’s fit within the tray, all maintaining the industry-standard of a 1-U footprint. Each of the fit scenarios had to work out perfectly or the entire concept would not have been practical.

Phase 3: Prototyping

To confirm functionality both for assembly and operation of the system, prototypes of each cassette configuration, as well as a few versions of the chassis, were made. PEG utilized its in-house rapid prototyping capabilities to produce FDM 3D printed parts. The prototyping stage both confirmed expectations of the design’s functionality and brought previously unknown issues to the team’s attention. This allowed them to make minor adjustments where needed before the information was sent to manufactures for final tooling development, saving tens of thousands of dollars.

Phase 4: Design Optimization for Manufacture

PEG worked alongside Tactical Deployment Systems and their manufacturing vendors to make model adjustments and engineering decisions as they prepared for volume production. Part of this included going through a complete Design for Manufacture (DFM) review process with the injection molding vendor. Because of PEG’s prototyping options and injection molding design experience, the cassettes were finalized only after one iterative design change to the mold tooling. This saved the Tactical Deployment Systems money and, sometimes even more valuable, time.

Do you need Project Engineering Services?

Our project engineering group offers a wide range of capabilities to cater for your design and engineering requirements. From concept development to the final product, our team guides you through the entire process, ensuring efficiency and innovation every step of the way. Learn more about our Project Engineering Services.

Riley Rudd

Riley Rudd

Riley Rudd is a Marketing Specialist for TriMech's Staff Augmentation and Project Engineering Group (PEG). Riley is currently a graduate student at Virginia Tech working toward a Master of Engineering in Computer Science, with a focus on data analytics and AI.
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