The client has been designing and supplying products to enhance the independence and quality of life for people with special needs for more than forty years. They are regarded as leaders in Electronic Assistive Technology (EAT), Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and Environmental Control Systems (ECS) and are approved suppliers of Electronic Assistive Technology products and services to the NHS.
Most systems consist of three main elements: Inputs, Controllers and Accessories: The Accessories make the interface between the Controllers and the equipment to be controlled.
The brief was to design an Infra-Red remotely controlled plug switch with a maximum load of 13A and rating of 3kw. The switch would be mounted between a mains powered appliance and the 13A socket so that the appliance could be switched on/off. The unit had to comply with all mandatory standards.
The first stage was to prepare a full specification for the product including applicable standards. This stage was followed by an extensive concept design stage where several different internal arrangements were explored with the client to achieve a compact design.
Once the build was agreed, drawings of the PCBs were issued to the clients own engineers for simultaneous development. The external enclosure was developed using 3D CAD and several concepts presented as 3D visualisations. The project required close collaboration with the client’s own engineers as they developed the PCBs and to resolve issues with component placing. The final design was achieved using rapid prototypes and prototype PCB's prior to commissioning all tooling from 3D data and control drawings. Rapid prototypes were in valuable in verifying compliance with mandatory standards.