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Engineering Case Study: How do you waterproof a GPS device-COG Engineering

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Editors note: This is a Case Study from our partner supplier COG Engineering, and here is their Industrial Interface Supplier Profile.

1) Case Study: How do you waterproof a GPS device?

A large manufacturer of GPS devices for the Marine Industry was looking for a way to replace the Extruded Silicon O-Ring gasket that they put inside of the groove side for a tongue and groove ABS housing. There were many options for waterproofing such as potting, Conformal Coating, UV cure in place gasket, die cut gasket, welding the plastic housings together, etc.

2) How do engineers choose a technology to move forward with?

The manufacturer decided that based on certain factors that UV cure in place gaskets were the right solution. Criteria included:
  • Cost: Current cost was ~$1.10/gasket with about 1min of assembly time.
  • Re-workability: GPS units need to allow components to be replaced.
  • No changes to tooling: Wanted to be able to use same Injection Molding tooling
  • Decrease custom parts: Using the same technology for multiple size GPS units was desired.

3) What to do with catalogs of UV curing equipment and materials?

The design engineers requested samples and tried different combinations from multiple suppliers to no avail. The engineer was about to scrap the idea when he and I met by chance. I explained to him the basics of UV curing technologies and materials available. I provided a recommendation on UV curable materials as well as systems for both dispensing the material and curing these parts. He took my suggestions and shopped around to other suppliers trying to find a solution from them. He came back to me when he still could not make it work.

4) What differentiates one supplier from another?

Technical knowledge and expertise. Because I have a background as a medical device and electronics manufacturing engineer/manager, I understood the production requirements and how to build a product within their specifications. By combining this with my expertise of UV materials and manufacturing technologies, I was able to provide proof of concept parts utilizing the material I selected that passed all of their environmental tests. After this, we ran pilot production quantities at my lab with the same equipment I recommended. Once these passed and the customer purchased a full UV curing system from me, I provided technical support for installation and process refinement until the process exceeded my claimed results.

5) What were the overall results?

The final per piece cost of the gaskets went from ~$1.10 to ~$0.30 with time increasing from 1min to 1.5min. Re-working of parts went from 1min to 0min for gasketing. Capital Equipment costs were recouped within 1year. Design Engineers were praised by their superiors. Anytime a production issue arrises or improvements are needed, the manufacturer knows that they have a committed partner and supplier that they can count on for expert support in a timely manner for all their UV applications.

About Cog Engineering

Gregg Hallam, Principal Engineer

COG Engineering provides formulated polymers, UV materials, molding, contract manufacturing, assembly tooling and more. We have over 15 years of experience designing, manufacturing, and optimizing medical devices, retail electronics and defense technologies.

Parts & Services: Mitigate ramp up and operation risks with experienced transfer and manufacturing engineering, dynamic injection molding design and production and powerful certified inspection and reverse engineering services.

Industries & Applications: With over 15 years experience designing, manufacturing and optimizing medical devices COG Engineering can help you at any stage of development or production.

Polymers: Designers and manufacturers turn to us for a full array of engineered polymer solutions formulated by two of the country’s most versatile, respected and reliable manufacturers.

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