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Touchline Flag System

SOLIDWORKS at the World Cup: LA Design re-design the referee touchline flag system using SOLIDWORKS!

Today’s case study looks at how LA Design successfully created the touchline flag system we see being used in football matches globally, and how all this was made possible using SOLIDWORKS!


In 2003, A&H International set out to source a reliable set of electronic flags that officials could use during a football match. A&H stressed the importance of reliability as we’re all aware linesmen and officials alike are quick to be blamed for, well, anything! The last thing they wanted was a substandard product that worked half of the time. After dealing with many market leaders A&H still found the failure rate to be too high, as well as repair time often being too long.

A&H turned to Briton EMS based in Bedford to provide them with the reliable electronics they were looking for. Briton EMS, a company with a history of producing breathing apparatus that protect fire-fighters across the UK, so reliability has always been at the forefront of their design. With the electronics covered, it was essential that they were held in a robust, comfortable and practical casing, that’s where one of our customers, LA Design came in.

LA Design came recommended by Briton EMS due to their high quality design work. Andrew Malloy set about the task of developing the flag in which the electronics would be encased. As the flags were set to be used in the Premier League, it was important to bring in certified match officials to see what they specifically required from the product. With this in mind LA Design set about creating the castings, specifically aiming to make them durable, ergonomic and easy to use. LA saw faults with previous flags, such as where the pole met the handle, and set about designing a reinforcement mechanism inside the pole which also holds the aerial in place. The design of the handle itself was based around frequently used moves by the officials, ensuring it was comfortable and wouldn’t slip out of the official’s hands. The flag was also designed to be incredibly easy to use, and changing the battery could be done swiftly and with ease.

See how LA Design used SOLIDWORKS Composer to create the video outlining the ease of replacing the battery in the flag.

LA Design used SOLIDWORKS completely throughout the design, testing, data and moulding process.

“We used SOLIDWORKS throughout the design process, from initial visualisation and concept evaluation, through to final production data for injection mouldings, including CNC machining solid weighted prototypes and stereo lithography working prototypes along the way. SOLIDWORKS analysis allowed the stiffness of the flag components to be optimised to dramatically reduce the likelihood of breakage of the flag ‘stem’ where it joins the handle: a common point of failure.

The introduction of a sophisticated CAD software package like SOLIDWORKS allows the whole design development to be communicated easily and the uncertainties reduced. It gives a client the confidence to invest and take the plunge into a journey to much more sophisticated and complex end product that really meshes with the referees and linesmen and women who need to use it.”
LA Design director David Robinson

With the World Cup kicking off June 12th there is no doubt LA Design’s product will be in prominent use throughout the tournament.


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