Plastic Case Design and Manufacturing of a Vehicle Tracking Suite


Plastic Cover and Housing for Tracking System


„Ruptela“ - one of the fastest growing high-tech companies in Lithuania, providing transport management solutions. The company, which has been operating since 2007, manufactures integrated transport telematics equipment. These devices consist of GPS tracking devices, real-time monitoring and control systems. The company works with partners and clients in 127 different countries and helps companies optimize transportation processes.


This is not a first time „Ruptela“ has chosen us, as reliable sub-contractors. We have been designing 3D CAD models optimized for manufacturing for their products’ positions for several months. This time we have been contracted to design the new housing of the „Pro5“ vehicle tracking model. “Micromolds” was responsible for product design, its optimization for manufacturability, mould design and prototype production.


Design Constraints


The main design constraint of this project was that the designed housing had to conform SAE J1455 recommendations for vehicles. These recommended areas of practice cover variety of concepts, affecting electronic equipment for heavy vehicles. Some environmental factors that had to be considered during product development are:


  • Temperature;

  • Moisture;

  • Atmospheric effects;

  • Mechanical vibration and mechanical shocks.


The most challenging thing was to create an extremely tightly closing housing which could be opened without any tools. The housing had to be without any additional components - everything had to be integrated. We have decided to design external hooks to fulfill this need. It was possible to open the housing box by hand, without any additional tools.


The housing also had to be a good electrical insulator, fireproof and impact resistant. For these specifications and design requirements we have chosen to use PC Lexan (Lexan® Polycarbonate) plastic material. One more design requirement was to integrate LED indicators inside the housing. The material we chose was semi-transparent so it was possible to let the LED indicators light directly through the wall of the housing.


Prototyping


Like in every our previous similar projects we used 3D printing FDM (fused deposition modelling) technology for prototype manufacturing. It was used for the initial evaluation of the product. After we had indicated the flaws of the prototype and made some design tweaks we went for second trial. Second prototype made with SLS (selective laser sintering) 3D printing technology was used for more accurate functionality and user experience testing. To get more realistic look and feel of the final product we made third prototype with another one 3D printing technology – SLA (stereolithography). Third prototype was also painted black to resemble final product we were striving for. Rapid prototyping technology made it possible to quickly check the functionality and the look of the product. These 3 iterations of prototyping made our team and contractors confident to scale for the serial production of this housing.


SLS 3D Printed Prototype


Manufacturing


Plastic injection molding was the only manufacturing technology solution for mass production. Even though these housings were outside our micro-mould size limits, we successfully designed this product, optimized it for manufacturability, produced prototypes and manufactured moulds with our CNC machines. We are glad that we are trusted by such innovative companies like “Ruptela” and could strongly contribute to their new product development.


Final Injection Moulded Housing