Gardasoft’s customised enclosure proves value of Hitaltech Product Designer Forum at EDS 2023
Hitaltech, the connectors and enclosures specialist, has built its reputation on customising, modifying and even creating from scratch components that help bring product designers’ ambitions to life.
Yet, if you’ve usually been confined to off-the-shelf component options, you might be unfamiliar with how to go about that. What are the customisation options? What’s the process? What can you expect?
In addition to showcasing its latest product range, at this year’s EDS, Hitaltech will be on hand to help product designers explore ways of collaborating to achieve the right product on the right budget and timescales.
As an example of what’s possible, here’s now Hitaltech supported the development of Gardasoft’s new machine vision lighting controller by customising an enclosure to include a new RS232 port, new LED indicators and even a new way to access the instruction manual.
There’s a challenge inherent in any complex production line: when processes happen fast, or under cover, it’s not easy to tell when there’s a problem. Even when it is easy to tell, the repetitive nature of production lines can often mean humans miss important details. That’s when machine vision systems support human operatives. They ensure, for example, that in a production line which fits caps and labels onto bottles at high speed, every cap is on tight and every label is on straight.
Gardasoft designs and manufactures the high-performance lighting controllers incorporating GiGe vision (the industrial standard for synchronised controllers, lights and cameras) that ensure machine vision can accurately carry out high speed automated optical inspection. Crucially, Gardasoft’s controllers use direct current which allows for greater precision measurement and offers better reliability and repeatability.
Now, following a successful prototype developed in collaboration with Hitaltech, Gardasoft is preparing to launch its new MP (‘medium powered’) 120 controller.
Designing an enclosure upgrade
The most obvious adaptation to the new product’s enclosure design is a printed front panel, which features a frosted window through which the LED lights shine. The lights are a visual representation of the state of the vision system – red indicates a channel error or hardware failure; amber indicates a configuration issue such as light rating setup, connection, or settings and green indicates the channel is working and healthy. The frosted (35% white) window ensures maximum visibility without reducing the integrity and IP rating of the enclosure by cutting holes in it.
There’s a new RS232 port which enhances controller connectivity. And completing the innovation is a new QR code on the fascia, applied with four-colour printing.
“We're one of the first in industry to be using QR codes,” explains Crispian Faux, sales & marketing manager at Gardasoft. “Scan it with a phone and a customer gets immediate access to the user manual, which avoids the need to hunt for instructions.”
Development with Hitaltech
Gardasoft’s product development with Hitaltech has involved a combination of using off the shelf products and collaborating on developing new or adapted products for specific purposes.
“This is our first single channel, medium power model and it completes our product range,” says Crispian. “That will enable us to access a market we haven’t previously been targeting. Already we’ve seen a lot of interest in the North American market.”
Shaun Rose, Hitaltech Area Sales Manager was involved in the discussions that led to the development of the MP120’s enclosure. “Gardasoft had been using an existing enclosure for its products for a number of years. For the MP120, they knew they wanted the case to carry printed information but they didn’t know about the potential of transparent panels with opaque or semi-transparent printing. Not all plastics are opaque – you don’t have to drill holes. We showed them samples, explored what was possible, and we reached the current iteration.”
“It’s been a very positive collaboration,” adds Crispian. “Hitaltech have been very responsive to our requirements and we’re very happy with the final product.
Mechanical Design Engineer, Tyler Colling was heavily involved in the development of the MP120 and reflected on the relationship between Hitaltech & Gardasoft:
“We at Gardasoft have been using Hitaltech for several years to supply custom machined enclosures for our products. During this time, we have been incredibly satisfied with the quality of service and care provided by Hitaltech. They are very attentive, helpful, and have always turned around orders in a timely manner.
“We will be looking to work with Hitaltech as much as possible throughout our future projects and products.”
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