Manufacturing has always been the main focus of the research and development tax credit since its creation in 1981. The credit incentivizes US-based research in the areas of product design and or manufacturing. There are a broad spectrum of manufacturing industries that can qualify for the R&D tax credit, with consumer goods representing a large portion of this segment. This includes electronics, clothing, furniture, luggage, sporting equipment plus many more. Qualified costs include wages, contract labor, and costs of raw materials and supplies used in the performance of research.
Qualified Research Activities for Consumer Goods Manufacturing
- Development of new or improved products
- Design improvements that increase functionality, reliability, performance, or overall quality
- Development of conceptual designs and definition of product requirements
- Evaluation of alternative raw materials for cost savings or product improvement
- Testing and validation of new or modified products
- Creation of prototypes and first articles
- Design and Validation of new or improved production processes
- Design and building of tooling, molds and fixtures
- Development of secondary operations such as coating and finishing processes
- Computer Aided Design
- CNC programming
- Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of product designs via computer simulation
- Rapid prototyping via 3D modeling and 3D printing processes
- Destructive and non-destructive testing of products for development and regulatory compliance
R&D Case Study: Consumer Goods Manufacturing
Over 40 years of experience in developing innovative high-quality products has entrenched this company as a leader in the bowling industry. This company’s products are a result of extensive investments in highly skilled, multi-disciplined team members, start-of-the-art testing facilities and industry-leading production processes.
Despite bowling being a sport that appears simple, there is a huge effort that goes into development of balls, all of which have unique cores, different materials and even different finishes to provide the type of spin and ball dynamics that professionals and amateurs look for. This company used Pro Engineering CAD software during the conceptual design phase. Initial design ideas were evaluated, and the software enumerates components such as shape, densities, and specific gravities that form technical specifications of the product. The company evaluated different design alternatives in order to choose and refine the most appropriate product design. This phase of development was documented through engineering drawings, schematic designs, models, and other technical documentation.
Once the conceptual design was rendered, the Pro Engineering program went to the machine shop for the making of a master of the shape. Among the design data reviewed were the radius of gyration between one axis and another, factors that are extremely important in the design and production of bowling balls.
Once the design was verified as feasible (which may include five or more design iterations), the master was made in the shop and transferred to the R&D lab where urethane molds of the master shape are made. This initiated the process of making some balls (generally about 10 prototypes) for testing to validate the design and make corrections.
After satisfactory testing in the lab, molds for production will be built. The molds were sent to R&D where the lab made a few one-off balls to ensure that the molding has been done precisely and specifications have been met. If development to this point was satisfactory, a 90-ball test run was put into production. Upon completion of the 90-ball test runs and validation that all requirements and specifications were met, production began.
Results Speak For Themselves
This sporting goods company has been a long term client of Source Advisors. With their guidance, the company is able to claim total combined federal and state tax credits of nearly $300,000 per year.