We worked with the engineering team of an established OEM of Portable Machines to help them to achieve the goals set by their most recent corporate initiative; to provide overall quality improvements of one of their flagship models in terms of increased axial and spatial resolution, while providing a larger display. Further, it was necessary that battery life remained at the same level as the previous version of the machine while cutting cost by three percent.
This was a tall order considering that the machine was already lauded as being exceptionally well designed. Our client’s procurement team had initially sought price concessions from their various suppliers however since many of them had already cut their prices significantly, the burden to reduce further fell upon their engineering team.
They had to evaluate new approaches from both established and new suppliers. Because our client’s warranty was much longer than other companies in the industry they could only consider top quality components from leading manufacturers. As such their evaluation criteria for both the product and the company making it was extremely rigorous. Fortunately, we have produced high-quality components for the automotive world for more than thirty years giving us the ability to deliver the quality they demand at the price point they had to have. For example one of the fans in their previous design used one of the highest quality stainless steel bearings available. However, it was also one of the costliest. We were able to provide bearings, that we use in high-temperature automotive applications, that cost far less and outperformed them in accelerated aging testing.
The value we added was not just in terms of price. Their design used a few discrete Thermal Control Modules consisting of a heat sensor connected to a Pulse Width Modulation fan controller and fan. We provided a fan that had a built-in heat sensor and circuitry to control it. This approach reduced the component count saving space and also reduced power consumption.
In their fabrication process, the previous model’s main cooling fans were housed in trays with special connectors that joined them to the main unit’s cable assemblies. This was an elegant arrangement that provided a high level of modularity that reduced potential downstream costs for inspecting or replacing cooling fans. However, the upfront costs of assembling this unit were high. We provided them with fans, connectors, trays and cable assemblies as a complete sub-assembly which drastically reduced their upfront costs.
Finally, with the thermal simulations that our engineers used to analyze their system, we identified fans that could be replaced by heat sinks, which we also manufacture. The use of these passive elements helped tremendously in conserving power which led to an increase in battery life over what had been previously achieved.
Overall using our fans, heat sinks, fan trays, connectors, and, cable assemblies went a long way in helping them to accomplish their initiative. They were very impressed with what we did and we are now a primary supplier of thermal solutions for this and future generations of Portable Ultrasound Machines.