Stivax / Solace Medical Device
Lincoln Technology Solution
Starting Date: 12 Sep 2017
Ready for production: 16 Jan 2018
During the first phone conversation we discussed our processes to familiarize the customer with our capabilities. He wanted to present a design to his customer and get a rough idea of cost. He shared a preliminary sketch of what he had in mind:
Lincoln Technology Solutions (LTS) is an engineering services firm with a focus on LCD integration and interface assemblies. After talking to us, he was able to narrow down his needs and provide a PowerPoint document to show components he needed access to and location of key parts so he could start making his circuit board. He also determined what LCD he needed:
Looks something like...
We are flexible. Move the buttons or connections if needed
Based on the information provided in the PowerPoint presentation we found a few missing parameters required to provide a quote for the project:
- Type of material: since this is a medical device, we agreed to base our quote on Boltaron. http://www.toollessplasticenclosures.com/Userfiles/PDF/Boltaron-4335.pdf This material is especially made for medical application; it comes with a smoother texture, can get easily formed and comes in different colors.
- Quantities: this was unknown at the time of the quote, knowing the field of his customer and his experience; we decided to break down the quote between 25 and 250 units, which is a perfect fit for our process.
- Design constraints: With the provided images we had the information about size, components, connectors and location of the components. The only design concern was the 4 radii in the corners. Small radii can prove a limitation of our process; we typically can accommodate any radius over 1mm. After several conversations with our customer, it was determined to eliminate the radius and use our clamshell design, which would also help keep the cost down:
- Lead Time: Our standard 2 to 3 weeks for prototyping was acceptable to the customer. However, if needed, we could have turned it around faster.
- Estimate: The preliminary quote was initiated 48 hours after confirming an initial design. The first quote is an estimate; the project cost is reviewed after the design and first prototype is complete.
There were some concerns we needed to address on this project. Our engineer came up with a preliminary design, and raised questions about how to mount the PCB and the LCD:
- PCB: The most common way to mount a PCB with mounting holes is by using our in-stock standoffs and brass threaded inserts. We can also secure it in slots on each side of the enclosure. The best option for this application was definitely standoffs, easily secured with 4-40 screws.
- LCD : The LCD could have been a challenge since it has no mounting holes. But, thanks to the flexibility of our process, we decided to indent the top surface of the top “U” part, and notch a path for the ribbon cable. The LCD is secured by adhesive two-sided tape.
- Batteries: We needed to accommodate a battery pack, but didn’t want to change the total thickness of the enclosure. The customer had a couple of battery options taking into account that the wires needed to bend around the PCB. He went with the bigger battery. We provided a shallow recess to ensure consistent placement and used two-sided tape to hold it in place.
Here is the recessed area to accommodate the battery case:
All cut outs were made in accordance with the customer PCB. The customer was provided a finished 3D model before manufacturing began for final approval. He also sent us the components so we could test fit the first article.
- Digital Printing: The customer was able to provide different logo file extensions, such as EPS, PDF and PNG files. Our printer software can open pretty much any graphic file.
Ideally we print on a flat part prior to bending. Our CAD software can generate dxf files that our printer can open which ensures we have a perfect match between the part and the file. All we have to do is import the customer’s logo into our printer software:
2 setups were necessary to print on two part.
The customer was pleased with the result but wanted to make some minor adjustments. Our process allows for modifications after the prototype and at any stage of production. Customer comments below:
- Having the USB connector on the opposite side is too difficult for us to assemble; you have to bend the plastics to get around it. I’ve put all openings on 1 side now. Can you modify your enclosure so I can review. Let me know if you want me to space anything differently.
- You guys also printed the logo. We now have a specific place we want the logo; top centered (ignore my blue pen below; you can use the same file you had last time). If it doesn’t fit then we can shift the LCD down; can you and Brice work that out. Notice the buttons are on the left. We would also like the print the logo on the back side; can you maximize the logo over the back area.
- We would like to reverse the material to the smooth surface.
- You increased the cut of the LCD by a mm or so.
- I’m having the LCD centered now in the glass so the opening you have needs to be shifted a few mm.
The screen cutout needed some more room and we needed to enlarge the groove by a few mm under the micro USB. We made another prototype to validate all the changes met the customer’s need.
After processing a couple of more samples, the unit is now ready for production and are waiting for a Purchase Order from the customer. Here are some pictures of the final product fully assembled.
All our projects raise different challenges and unique requirements. I’m very pleased with my engineer’s approach to these issues. They address them one by one, make modifications as required, and do their best to satisfy our customers.
Toolless delivers 15 to 20 new prototypes per months, an average of 7 to 10 new customers.
Looking forward to the next challenge….