AN UPDATED INTERFACE FOR SAFETY
Preco Electronics produces vehicle-mounted radar warning systems for commercial vehicles and heavy equipment. Their PreView products provide blind spot monitoring in a commercial-grade package. The systems consist of radar sensors that mount to the outside of vehicles, plus a display unit that provides an audible alarm and visual indication to the driver / operator. The PreView product line was well established, but was in need of an update. Specifically, the in-vehicle display was aging. Preco was interested in developing a new display unit with specific features and characteristics. Preco engaged SGW Designworks for full enclosure design and DFM for the entire assembly.
IMPROVING A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT
Initial project meetings quickly led to definition of the specific design features needed in the new version of the display unit:
- IP-69K rating: high pressure, high temperature wash-down resistance
- A clean, new look compatible with industrial applications, and with existing Preco products
- Provide increased speaker volume, sufficient to hear inside a noisy vehicle
- Integrated ambient light sensor to auto-adjust LED indicator brightness / intensity
- Incorporation of a multi-function button for specific user inputs and use-cases
- Definition and incorporation of a flexible, modular mount
- Assembly and tolerance stackup: 2 PCBAs, connectors, sandwiched between housing components
SUCCESSFUL PROJECT LEADS TO A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT
SGW Designworks collaborated closely with Cradlepoint throughout the Industrial Design effort. The teams worked together to choose between a number of Industrial Design Concepts, incorporating input from Cradlepoint engineers and marketing executives. The design objectives were achieved by developing a subtle yet unique exterior shape, with multiple textures to create a specific visual effect. Functional goals were achieved by applying sound engineering and manufacturing insights throughout the Industrial Design Project.
The product was launched in early 2018 as the Cradlepoint AP22, and has been a commercial success. Cradlepoint continues to collaborate with SGW Designworks on new products that will launch soon. The continual release of innovative new products earned Cradlepoint recognition as the Innovative Company of The Year at the 2019 Idaho Innovation Awards.
Turnkey Development, Award Winning Design
A winning design language was developed by the team, and the engineering team incorporated it into the preliminary design. Next, a clever mounting system was developed and integrated. With the form-factor defined, multiple engineering paths to achieve the IP rating were explored. In addition to the rating requirements, the SGW team identified a new challenge: Tolerance stack-up. How would the contract manufacturer able to deal with material and component variances while still achieving the seal required for the IP-69K rating? The answer was to design the assembly for a sonic welding process. This meant a vent would need to be incorporated, which SGW Designworks defined in collaboration with W.L. Gore, the pioneers of Gore-Tex. The vent was incorporated into the housing design. Next, the team identified a speaker that could provide the volume, in which the speaker diaphragm could provide a IP-69K compliant seal. Speaker integration, light pip design, and final optimization were the final development steps before regulatory work and production ramp up.
The Preco PreView Display was launched as part of the Preco Side Defender II system in early 2019, and is already gaining traction in the market. In October of 2019, the product won an Idaho Innovation Award for Commercialized Innovation of the Year.