- Non-standard requirements for RIM process
- Collaboration critical to achieve crucial consistency
- Experience and expertise overcome manufacturing challenges
In all industries, product consistency is essential; from medical to medtec, to transport, inconsistent specifications for ‘identical’ parts can and do cost lives. When an initial attempt at transitioning a new electronic-control rebreather from prototype to production failed to achieve this crucial consistency, we were approached by Avon Protection to help breathe life into this product.
The MCM100 is a deep-diving air and mixed gas electronic control rebreather initially developed in collaboration with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Compatible with diving operations for the Explosives Ordinance Disposal, and Mine Countermeasures, the system was developed to deliver a new long-endurance, depth capable device.
With our thirty years’ experience in the medtec and medical markets, we have a solid understanding of control requirements, materials traceability, and consistent part production. This knowledge, along with our in-house facilities allowing control over both tooling manufacture and moulding, sealed the deal with the client, and we got straight to work.
From the start, there were several critical aspects that made manufacturing a challenge. With so many specific and non-standard requirements we had to work flexibly and collaboratively so production could achieve its full potential.
This product was classified as a low magnetic signature device so attention had to be paid to metallic content both in the parts and during the manufacturing phases; even the standard brass inserts had to be reassessed and sourced from a specifically tested batch to avoid any risks that would increase the magnetic signature.
CNC machining is extremely unusual on PU RIM mouldings. However, as this project required a blend of both standard and critically tight tolerances (deviations < +/- 0.25mm) the decision was made to combine these two processes. Heavy sectioned cast PU parts had to be produced consistently with perfect integrity to allow this post-machining of fine threads and bearing fit holes.
As well as traditional polyurethane, the design also incorporated a shore A 85 rubber moulding to protect the base of the outer casing from the 27kg weight of a fully operational unit. This two-stage moulding required consistency of shape and accuracy as each part is set in a secondary tool for the over-moulding phase.
Typically, we finish all RIM mouldings with high-quality two-pack paint systems. However, as the rebreather included a breathing loop system, we had to forgo paint on three of the five components. PU RIM mouldings are almost never supplied in a natural black finish without defects so achieving this on a consistent basis for three very complex mouldings is testimony to the collaborative efforts, design, and skill of each and every team member involved in the process.
By working in partnership with Avon, we successfully delivered a high-quality product and fulfilled a critical first-order supply that will set the standard for other agencies globally. It was only through this collaborative approach that this happened at all, which really speaks for the adaptability and range of our knowledge and processes.
Take a look at the product in action below:
If you have a challenging project that requires high-quality RIM enclosures, get in touch with us today on +44 (0) 1234 358694 and find out if Midas could be your next supply partner!