Our projects with new or current customers are focused on identifying their needs or problems and finding solutions in the timeframe they require.
Connector Over Molding / Mold Development Project
The customer did not have the capability in house to develop a custom mold to encapsulate the connector with the rubberized potting compound. The customer tried outsourcing the job to several other vendors before contacting Praxis, but the results they were getting with the other vendors they tried were not satisfactory.
The encapsulated connector was coming back with lots of air bubbles and voids in the potting compound that were not within the tolerance of the customer’s design. There’s also a very small pad that sits on top of the connector that floats in the mold with the connector that requires precise alignment.
The customer originally gave us a timeline of 1 week for a quote. Due to the issues their other vendors were having, we explained that we wanted to do a little R&D first to present multiple options for them to choose from.
From the point of customer contact to quote to the customer was 3 weeks. We were able to take the customer from problem to design to prototype to finished product.
Our in-house team was able to identify issues in the original mold design and work with the customer to revise the customer’s drawing. We added more and larger vents in the mold to allow air to escape, virtually eliminating voids and air bubbles in the finished encapsulation. We also added alignment pins inside the mold to stabilize and properly align the connector and the pad.
We were able to iterate design changes rapidly in our CAD software and then create new functional prototypes within 24 hours using our in house additive manufacturing (3D Printing) capabilities.
In the end we presented two options. The first was a 3D printed mold using liquid resin photopolymer and stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing technology. This presented the customer with a cost-effective option that we could produce for them in a matter of hours and on an as needed basis.The second was a solid aluminum mold that we would machine out of billet 6061 aluminum, in-house, using our 3 axis CNC mill. This option would provide the customer with a stronger and much longer lasting mold.
Flexible RF Coax Cable R&D Project
Our customer requires a lot of flexible radio frequency (RF) coax cables in the assemblies that we build for them. Many of the cables are not standard off the shelf lengths, and they must perform to specific standards. There are not many vendors that supply these cables and the ones that do have incredibly long lead times (8-10 weeks on average and sometimes as long as 16). This greatly increases the overall lead time to our customer for a finished product.
This was a problem that we identified as an opportunity that could positively impact our customer’s experience.
Our team began the process of researching RF coax cable and connectors for that type of cable to assess what would meet our customer’s specifications as well as industry standards. We sourced and experimented with cable and connectors from different manufacturers learning what combinations gave us the best and most consistent performance. When we were satisfied that we had the best combination of materials to work with, we sourced assembly fixtures and jigs to ensure repeatable build results and the utmost in reliability and performance. We next developed quality standards to which every RF cable is built. We also designed and built a custom test fixture for testing the physical and electrical properties of each cable.
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