The client is a private inventor who solved the problem of a leaking window in their motor home by fixing an overhanging deflector above it. Before this adaptation the client had spent a lot of money with professional leak fixing companies but the problem always returned. The clients research concluded that this problem is commonplace with caravans, boats and motor homes because the vehicle body is continually moving and opens up joints around doors and windows. As a result of this research the client saw a new product opportunity for a weather deflector and applied for and was granted a patent.
Hillside Design was asked by the client to develop a retrofittable weather deflector for side walls of caravans, motorhomes, boats and other mobile structures such as portacabins and park homes. Great care was needed to select a method of attachment that would cope with the extremes of different environments and which would not require the outer skin of the vehicle to be drilled into. Through a series of calculations, supported by real life experiments and with support from a world leading adhesive manufacturer we agreed a mounting solution with the client that could be undertaken by a person with average DIY skills.
This solution involved attaching a mounting clip to the vehicle above the frame of a door, hatch or window etc and hooking the back edge of the deflector onto this clip. When the deflector was centred left to right the installer would then push the clips back to attach the deflector using the high strength tape adhesive on its back edge. The clips are then removed and could have new low tack adhesive pads fitted and reused. The deflector is made from a high spec polymer which is compounded for optimal weather protection and stiffness under the high temperatures that are expected from prolonged sunlight but will not become brittle when exposed to low temperatures. Several designs for the deflector were evaluated using our load simulation analysis programmes.
Several prototype versions were built to refine the appearance of the deflector and optimise the amount of overhang and proximity to the window frame for effective weather proofing.
The client could see that the deflector was now ready to become a product and they began parallel activities to market the product through a website and arrange advertising in leading motorhome and caravan magazines. Hillside Design completed the 3D CAD and issued the data files and control drawings for manufacturing. There followed an intense period when Hillside Design supported both the toolmakers and the marketing team and during which we prepared artwork for instruction leaflets and photo realistic images.