With Britain’s rivers at record high levels, the potential for flooding – and the devastation that floods bring with them – has never been greater.
But now, a new early warning system developed by Isodaq Technology, a division of Herefordshire-based Hydro-Logic , aims to help detect in advance the onset of flooding.
The telemetry logging device, due for release in the summer, generates alarms in the event of heavy rainfall, river or urban flooding or water distribution bursts.
The so-called Frog general packet radio service (GPRS) telemetry logger is ideal for remote installations where conventional power and telephone systems are expensive to install.
It takes water level measurements from a water level dipper, typically every 15 minutes, and stores the information until the data log is transmitted to a central server once a day.
Isodaq designed two end caps to seal the extruded body of the unit.
Creating these polycarbonate caps to match the unusually shaped extrusion was a challenge.
With annual production volumes expected to run to hundreds (or possibly low thousands), the 30-employee privately owned company needed to source a cost-effective manufacturing system.
The company initially looked at commonly available forms of rapid prototyping, such as FDM and SLA, but decided that there would be no substitute for testing with real injection-moulded parts.
However, the anticipated volumes for the Frog could not justify the cost of expensive steel production tooling demanded by conventional injection moulding techniques.
‘We searched online and considered many different options before we came across details of Protomold’s rapid plastic injection moulding process,’ said Tim Campbell, the company’s products director for the Isodaq range.
Another advantage which impressed Hydro-Logic was that Protomold uses advanced aluminium alloys to produce multi-cavity moulds that can be guaranteed for the life of the project if required, thus supporting ongoing production as well as prototyping.
Hydro-Logic used Protoquote, Protomold’s online service that allows potential customers to submit 3D CAD models and receive an automated quotation.
Users get pricing, options and, if appropriate, suggested changes for improved mouldability.
Protoquote accepts uploads in IGES, STEP, Solidworks, ProE, Parasolid and ACIS formats.
‘Within a few hours we had an interactive online quotation coupled with feedback on design and mouldability.
‘While viewing the quote, it was possible to adjust parameters such as resin, finish and part quantity through the Protoquote 3D viewer, and the price adapted in real time to reflect the new input,’ added Campbell.
The project was given the green light, and Protomold produced the rapid injection mould tooling and 400 end caps, ready to be fitted to the first 200 Isodaq Frog units.
Hydro-Logic has already fitted several of the end caps supplied by Protomold to its dummy extrusion, and according to Campbell, they fit the part perfectly.
However, if any changes are required to future end cap quantities as a result of modifications to mating parts, the Protomold process is flexible enough to react easily to last-minute design changes or revisions, reducing time to market and keeping costs within budget.