Clients often come to Hillside Product Design when they want to broaden their existing product offering. In this case a long established manufacturer of agricultural products wanted to expand their product range with a new solar powered electric fence energiser. Energisers are used to electrify the wires and tapes used in electric fence enclosures. The advantages of a solar-powered energiser are that they can be left unattended for long periods of time without need to swap the battery and can thus be used in remote locations which would otherwise be difficult for the user to travel to regularly.
The product would be used outdoors and exposed to heavy rain, direct sunshine, freezing conditions and gales. As well as this there may be impact from livestock and rough handling by users. The enclosure had to protect the electronics from ingress of liquids and infestation by insects such as ants and spiders whilst maintaining adequate ventilation to protect the electronics from over-heating when the product is exposed to direct sunlight.
The client supplied Hillside Product Design with specifications for the electronics, solar panel, and batteries, and made its own team of electrical engineers available to collaborate with Hillside Design throughout the concept design stage. The initial phase of the project involved preparing CAD models of the various components and arranging them into suitable layouts. These were refined to a final layout bringing together the preferred aspects of the initial concepts. The clients own electrical engineers went away and developed the electronics while Hillside Design continued with the mechanical design.
Development of the product involved several full size prototypes and constant liaison with the client and their engineers. Hillside Design prepared 3D CAD files and 2D control drawings for the manufacturing specification, maintaining a close liaison with the toolmaker/moulder and a specialist ultrasonic welding engineer through to production signoff.
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