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Mars international’s engineering team was asked to develop a sophisticated product which required the design of many sub-assemblies and components. The client had a concept but needed the engineering expertise of a manufacturing partner to help develop the product and bring it to market.
Mars International client Wheaton Science Products, a division of Wheaton Industries Inc., is a leading marketer and supplier of laboratory research products for the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and university laboratory markets. Included in Wheaton’s product portfolio were a series of hand-operated manual crimpers and decappers for a variety of vial sizes and cap seal types. They were interested in developing an electric fully automatic crimper / decapper to extend their product line to support laboratory applications where improved productivity and efficiency would be welcomed. To develop the product, they needed a partner who could work with their product concept and offer a total product solution by supporting a concept study and evaluation, the design and development of the chosen product, the manufacturing of all product components and assemblies including plastics, metals and the printed circuit boards, the assembly of the sub-assemblies and final product, and the delivery of the product in a custom designed foam protected carry case.
The project to develop the CRIMPenstein™ began with Wheaton’s overall product concept to develop an electric hand-held automatic crimping tool with the flexibility of interchangeable crimping and decapping heads and with a sturdy stand for hands-free use. They wanted the electric, hand-held crimping tool to have a comfortable shape and to use simple push-button activation. Mars International’s design team initiated a Concept Phase where they evaluated various alternatives for the design including different actuation mechanisms, power supplies, and crimp head interlock mechanisms. For each option they considered, they provided a list of pros and cons along with their recommendation as well as an assessment of the impact to product cost and design cost. Another key aspect of the Concept Phase was the definition of the shape of the tool and stand. Mars International’s design team developed several ergonomic concepts for the tool and the stand and submitted them to Wheaton for their review. From Wheaton’s feedback, refinements were made to the concepts until a final shape was established. At the conclusion of the Concept Phase, a detailed product specification was completed by Mars International and Wheaton proceeded with the Design Phase of the project with Mars International.
The CRIMPenstein™ is a sophisticated product which required the design of many sub-assemblies and components. Architecting the solution and establishing the mechanics of the assembly procedures for the main hand held device was a significant aspect of the design effort. The design of the hand-held tool included injection molded crimper housings, a gearbox assembly, a top assembly, a power PCB assembly, a motor PCB assembly, an optical sensor PCB, a control PCB, and an overmolded activation button assembly. The mechanical sub-assemblies required the casting and machining of many steel, stainless steel, and aluminum components including rings, gears, pins, rods, bearings, washers, carriers, and frames. Injection molded plastic components included housings, light pipes, buttons, and springs. Eight crimping and decapping heads were designed. The main jaws were die casted and machine threaded, wire EDM cut and chrome-plated. Rings, springs, barrels, and rods were also required for the crimping and decapping mechanism. The stand required the development of plastic top and bottom main pieces as well as a metal base. An off-the-shelf case was chosen for the carry case. Mars International provided custom foam enclosures to secure the product within the case for product delivery. At the completion of the Design Phase, prototype units were delivered and approved providing Wheaton with a production ready product.
Mars International’s design methodology included Moldflow fill time analysis and Ansys structural force analysis where applicable. Wheaton received a complete set of documentation of the product including component and product specifications, tooling specifications, assembly instructions, test specifications, PCB gerber files, and BOMs. The documentation set provides portability of the manufacturing of the product.
Solution & Benefits
Mars International was an extremely successful partner for Wheaton Science Products due the vast experience and knowledge of the design team and the close working relationship established during the Concept Phase and maintained throughout the duration of the project. Important criteria of the design included ergonomic lightweight materials, simple push-button operation, quick-change jaw sets, and adjustable jaw intensity and memory. Ideas, recommendations, tradeoffs and technical analyses were discussed openly to assist Wheaton in rapidly developing the most ergonomic, cost-effective, high-quality product for the marketplace.
Wheaton was able to take an initial product concept to a commercially available product by relying on Mars International’s expertise in providing total product solutions. Mars International drop ships the CRIMPenstein™ to Wheaton’s customers and has been in production for three years.