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Brief.

Detectronic approached npd to redesign an existing product and enable them to integrate some new, cutting edge sensor technology for a variety of use cases. This new unit would then be fitted flush to the wall of a sewer, whilst the sensors inside would accurately measure the water level. One key area for improvement was a shape that ensured debris did not get snagged or caught on the unit. It needed to be lightweight, compact and easy to install as well as being completely watertight and ATEX rated given the environment it would be placed. Although not part of the original brief, we proposed a modular design approach that would enable them to expand their product portfolio in the future.

Process.

To begin with, we conducted an intense, on-site design exercise over the space of a month. Being in the same offices as the wider team allowed us to quickly and efficiently digest their knowledge of the technology and then move onto creating the housing design. Using 3D modelling and rapid prototyping, we were able to iterate the design multiple times, each time testing, validating and then refining the design. Designed to mount directly to the wall of a sewer, the technology housed within can detect water levels with millimetre accuracy, and when connected into a wider network, the system can predict flood risks before they happen. The shape is deliberately contoured to discourage the collection of debris when in use, along with an intentional ‘skirt’ which protects the sensors on the underside of the unit.

Result.

The modular design for the housing serves a range of products that we have co-developed with Detectronic over a 3 year period. The launch of these products into market has allowed Detectronic to have 140% turnover growth in 2022, and enabled them to expand into international markets as well as nationally with all the major water utility companies. We continue to work with the Detectronic team with bringing their innovative technology to market.

Credits and other information

Completed: 2020
Client: Detectronic Ltd
Product Team: Nathan Partington & Alex Hardisty

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