In the spring of 2007, Tom Driscoll, Siemens Hardware Engineering Manager in charge of designing and producing the HawkEye, realized that the camera's optics and circuitry were going to be ready weeks before he could get housings in which to enclose them.
recounts the dilemma he
faced when deciding how to acquire the necessary housing parts.
"The product introduction schedule was the number one driver," said Driscoll
After searching various alternatives, Driscoll
was introduced to Graphicast
, a New Hampshire casting and CNC machining facility and its graphite molds.
"Early on, Driscoll
team had stipulated the HawkEye required durable housing," the spokesperson said.
"The circuitry of the higher-performance HawkEye could generate more heat than earlier machine-vision cameras and would therefore need a case capable of conducting and dispersing heat more effectively than the earlier model's extruded-aluminum housing.
Furthermore, the new camera needed to be 'industrially hardened,' sealed tightly to withstand higher ambient temperatures, dusty or humid conditions and even production-line washdowns.
The team came up with an ingenious two-part design: wedge-shaped halves that would join along a line that did not transect the holes for the camera's lens, connector ports or status indicators at the front, back and top of the housing.
Realizing the new shapes ruled out extrusion as a production method, the team concluded the parts would have to be cast or machined."
Primarily electrical engineers, Driscoll
colleagues at Siemens
needed some mechanical-engineering advice to optimize the design for the Graphicast casting process.
"Being able to discuss the design with the engineers at Graphicast
was very helpful," said Driscoll
took advantage of this 'waived sample' program, and Driscoll's
team had their first-article samples plus 50 more pre-production parts only four weeks after issuing the purchase order.
"We've been very happy with the quality of the housings," said Driscoll