Product Development of Terminal Testing Box (TTB)
Twenty weeks ago I got the honor to pursue a project for ABB Crane Systems. After success with an innovative direction on their Remote Control Station they wanted a continuation of industrial design in another new product development. The aim was to specify the customer needs and create a concept to a Terminal Test Box (TTB), with hopes to gain momentum and funds for continuation of the project.
The terminals earn their money based on productivity of the quay, meaning that the number of ship-to-shore lifts per minute becomes very important. Clients have requested a solution where they can simulate their cranes to ensure function. At the moment approximately five prototypes have been delivered, for example to Peel Ports in Liverpool and Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico. The current Test box lack a proper casing and user adapted features. Based on interviews with personnel at Crane Systems representing linked/adjacent work with TTB the customer needs was determined to: a solution adapted to commissioning phase,a process panel easy to reach, access to components without exposing them, oversight of components and ability to move TTB. The test box is used either standing on the floor or placed on a table. Placed on the floor the operator must twist and bend to access the box, leading to an unpleasant working posture. Set on the table the box is bulky.
The initial idea development resulted in three potential positions and seven initial concepts. Of these seven three ideas was conceptualized and graded in Pughs matrix. The concept Stand high offered a convenient and ergonomic solution independent of the available interior in commissioning phase. However Stand high had weaknesses where the other two concepts Cross and Transparent showed strengths and therefore the three concepts were combined into one. Knowledge about the included components such as an industrial computer and power supply and their requirements has driven the process.
TTB will be produced in approximately ten units per year. The slim edition made it alluring to look into state of the art manufacturing such as Additive Manufacturing compared to the more traditional use of shielded metal. Possibilities regarding the small series can be used by ABB for continuously trying the product towards the customer and offer a flexible product that can be individually adapted to some extent.
The final concept of TTB is improved compared to the Test box looking at horizontal and vertical spacing between the components, which also enables cable channels. The process panel included has an inclination of 15 degrees to avoid reflections as much as possible and to create an ergonomic working position. It has a see through front door giving access and viewing of the components. A combined CNC and 3D-printing prototype/product from the company HLH in aluminum and Plexiglas would cost approximately 24 750 SEK. Manufacturing in shaped sheet metal at Sweco (without a see through door) would cost approximately 10 000 SEK. This is creating an exciting situation, where the recommendation is to create a prototype to further evaluate the concept into completion.
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