How does a company like Blue Star bring a product to the market? Imaginarium Rapid helped Blue Star prototype their VRF Wi-Fi central controller and did a low volume manufacturing run for them that enabled them to go into mass manufacturing.

A New Device

Blue Star is India’s leading commercial air conditioning and refrigeration company. They fulfil the cooling needs of a large number of commercial, residential, and corporate clients. They supply water purifiers, air purifiers and coolers. 

When Blue Star came up with the idea of a central controller - the first of its kind to be Wi-Fi enabled and would be used in commercial air conditioning systems where it controls multiple indoor and outdoor units in a building as part of their Variable Refrigerant Frequency system - they turned to Imaginarium Rapid for help. Having designed the device, they were looking for someone to perfectly prototype it.

The central controller Source: Blue Star



Prototyping

To prototype the device, they got in touch with the engineers at Imaginarium Rapid and asked them to prototype the device. The device was split into three parts - rear housing, internal electronics, and top housing. The internal electronics consisted of a Linux based single board computer, a daughterboard, and LED indicators. 


The parts of the device. Source: Blue Star


To make a prototype that would be durable and able to fit all the internal electronics, the team at Imaginarium Rapid tried two methods. For the first method, the team used SLA as the aesthetic was as important as functionality. By working with a translucent resin in SLA, the team could laser etch the parts for light to pass through and easily paint the prototype based on the design. Although they achieved the desired result in terms of functionality, it was a challenge to get the look right as the paint kept smudging. For the second method, the device was CNC machined in ABS(Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and Polycarbonate to maintain the translucency and for laser etching. To get the colours just right, the prototype was screen printed. 


The second iteration (made using CNC machining) of the prototype was sent to Blue star for approval, they were happy with it and ordered a small batch production run of the prototype.


Small Batch Production

Done using soft tooling (injection moulding) in ABS, the batch was painted and laser etched. The small batch production was delivered and approved within 5 weeks.


The injection moulded batch. Source: Imaginarium


From prototyping to small batch production, Imaginarium Rapid was Blue Star’s partner. Incidentally, this device won Blue Star and Ticket Designs (the device’s designers) the CII Design Excellence award for Industrial Design in Electronics, Computers and Communication Products in 2017.


To prototype your product or to do a small batch manufacturing run, get in touch with Imaginarium Rapid - rapid@imaginarium.io or log on to the Rapid Online Factory to start your project today!

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