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Project Brief

To produce prototypes (5 full assemblies) from the Cube3 design of the i-storm²⁴ lamp unit for evaluation and testing

Background

Cube3 were briefed to design the new product – which needed to be rugged, light and portable utilising LED technology to create an ultra-bright lamp lasting at least 8 hours. They produced a number of concepts exploring form and function and the preferred option was a separate lamp head and battery box.

Cube3 then approached Paragon to develop a series of prototype models that would be required for evaluation and testing.

Paragon advised Cube3 on the mechanical properties of the resins and limitations of materials and it was decided that vacuum castings from silicone rubber tools would be the most appropriate route.

Development

The master patterns for the main body and head were produced as stereolithography models, fully hand finished to include a “spark” texture.

The Lens Cover had to demonstrate good optical clarity and as the front face was completely flat, Paragon opted to fabricate the master pattern from acrylic sheet, with additional walls and details produced by stereolithography and grafted into place. This ensured a perfectly flat and polished lens.

Silicone tools were produced from all of these parts and subsequent vacuum castings giving consideration to the selection of PU resins, in order to achieve the required mechanical properties and temperature stability as well as allowing pigmentation to achieve the vibrant colours matched to RAL references.

The Lens component was cast in a clear, High Temperature, UV stable resin and all 5 sets of castings were supplied within 8 working days of receipt of CAD data.

In addition Paragon were asked to produce the rubber on off switch. Again an SL model was created as a master pattern, but a rigid tool was produced from epoxy to allow the moulding of silicone components. However, in order to achieve the required feel and functionality of the switch, parts were eventually produced in a pigmented, 40 shoreA polyurethane rubber, which incorporated overmoulded clear acrylic light guides and surface graphics.

Results

Cube3 were able to assemble the units, fitting the light engines and battery and carry out full testing of the units prior to delivery to Blue-i. In addition to field trials and testing, the units were so visually representative of production parts that full assemblies were used for the production of photographs for marketing and printing of product brochures.

Paragon also subsequently produced 10 further sets of vacuum castings from existing silicone tools with colour variations appropriate to specific market sectors, allowing targeted marketing to those sectors.

In 2007, Blue i UK was awarded runner-up in the Health and Safety Awards’ Best Product category as it was identified that the light could bring a safer working environment to the general construction industry.

Categories: Case Studies