Industrial Motor-Starter

CLIENT: Energy Saving Technology Manufacturer

INDUSTRY: Industrial Power Control

The client is a UK-based manufacturer of motor starters and industrial energy saving products. They wanted to expand their range of agile motor starters by creating a larger, heavier duty version of an existing product by using their pre-existing control and interface electronics, thereby simplifying their supply chain and stock-holding.

The client planned to assemble and dispatch the product from its UK facility and to do this competitively would need to deskill the assembly by minimising assembly time and reducing the number of components. Hillside Product Design prepared a 3D CAD library of all the standard parts used and prepared a detailed chassis around which new parts could be incorporated and an enclosure added. New electrical components were designed and integrated into the assembly while applying the necessary checks for air gaps, conductor cross section and clearances. Due to the safety-critical requirements for high-voltage enclosures, the plastic parts were designed with strict minimum wall thicknesses to meet flammability ratings. The design of plastic parts were cost engineered to reduce tool and moulding cost, substantial savings were made by splitting the larger cover into three, smaller, flatter components which would be quickly clipped together before final assembly. 

Further tool and production costs were achieved by identifying parts which could be grouped into kits of parts. These parts were designed for manufacture in multi cavity tooling and resulted in several kits of parts which could each be handled as one set right up until being cut off their sprue frame for assembling a particular sub-assembly.

Pre-production samples were required in order to perform aggressive short circuit testing to ensure that a catastrophic failure within the enclosure would remain contained. The design was prototyped as a fully working and cosmetic facsimile using a combination of high-resolution Polyjet 3D printing, and CNC machining. The prototype was passed to the engineering team to run their design validation checklist and testing.

Prior to commissioning tooling, small modifications were necessary and the final prototype was presented for sign off at board level. Following design sign-off, Hillside Product Design prepared a full manufacturing specification for the moulded plastics and fabricated metal components. Hillside supported the client during the tool build and sampling process and then carried out audits on sample mouldings leading to the sign off and completion of the project.