Case Studies

EWS Australia

Modernising the aesthetic of EWS remote monitoring sensors for international appeal.

The EWS revolutionary sensors boost safety and sustainability across a broad range of environmental infrastructure applications. With our sleek new designs, the products are also IP68-rated, have greater functionality and feature a more attractive modern, yet rugged aesthetic.

Services delivered

  • Requirements research
  • Concept sketches
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Materials testing
  • Component sourcing
  • Precision engineering
  • Product Engineering
  • Collaboration with electronics designers
  • Collaboration with plastics manufacturers

Project goals

EWS’ main goal was to upgrade the aesthetic of their Switch, Tilt and Well Cap products to appeal to an international market. The target look and feel needed to be modern, yet rugged. High-tech, yet practical for technicians to install.

  • Redesign the housing units for the Switch, Tilt and Well Cap products
  • Uplift the aesthetic to appeal to international markets
  • Ensure the redesign was economical and would avoid new injection moulds
  • Find a more economical and practical method to reach an IP68 rating
  • Create flexible lid sizes for batteries
  • Design versatile clip-based mounting brackets that are easy to install in indoor and outdoor environments

Features

In addition to the sleek new look, the new housings for the Switch, Tilt and Well Cap products bring a range of new benefits and features including:

  • IP68 rating
  • Cost-effective waterproofing 
  • Elegant condensation mitigation
  • Click-in, click-out mounting bracket for easy mounting
  • Over-moulded press button
  • Dark green colour option for discreet deployments
  • Rechargeable and non-rechargeable internal battery options
  • In-built cellular and satellite antennas
  • External contingency antenna for low reception installations
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Results

EWS achieved notable successes across various regions and applications:

Canada Deployment

  • Dispatched satellite-enabled telemetry devices and water level sensors to Summit Infrastructure.
  • Effective winter monitoring under flood-prone rail bridge.
  • Crucial data for spring snowmelt.

Geotechnical Monitoring Expansion

  • Introduced VWT device for up to 8 Vibrating Wire sensors.
  • Long-life batteries and optional solar bracket.
  • Data logging over cellular and Iridium networks.

Brazil Disaster Response

  • Deployed Telemetry Tiltmeters and EWS-Switch Devices
  • Monitored slope stability and water levels during severe flooding.
  • Maintained data visibility despite collapsed cellular infrastructure.

North American Market Entry

  • Showcased new product range in New York’s Times Square.

South American Mining Impact

  • Installed IoT-based monitoring solutions in Brazil and Colombia mines.
  • Ensured tailing dam safety and monitored rail link slips.
  • Secured distributors in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.
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About the project

Requirements Research

We worked closely with the client to identify their exact feature requirements. Once the must-have, potential and nice-to-have features were clarified, we then analysed their existing components and PCBs.

By taking the time to understand the existing product design deeply, we were able to identify flexible and economical design solutions to achieve EWS’ goals. We also identified new areas in the designs that could be adapted to meet the new aesthetic goals of each product line.

In particular, our process uncovered (and delivered) the following requirements:

  • 2x antenna options (cellular and satellite)
  • An external contingency antenna option for applications with poor reception
  • IP68 rating and waterproofing
  • Bluetooth pairing options
  • Rechargeable and replaceable battery options
  • Accounting for the sensitivity of the sensor mounting materials to ensure accurate readings
  • Practical PCB mounting designs that are easy for technicians to work with in the field

Concept Design

Once we clarified the essential requirements, our team delivered multiple rounds of concepts. We iterated the design, improving the concept through our collaboration with the three key stakeholders involved in the project: the client, the plastics manufacturer and the electronics designer.

Our renders helped the client visualise potential ways the new components could look and how we could blend their requirements with practical functionality.

We presented a range of renders to visualise the intended aesthetics along with renders of the rough concepts indicating placements of switches, cables, mounting solutions and more.

Engineering

There were many design challenges we needed to address through careful and deliberate engineering. In particular, our precision engineering approach solved the following challenges:

  • Tight space and design limitations, especially for the Well Cap design.
  •  Limiting the amount of plastic components used.
  • Ensuring our designs did not require new injection moulds, which can be costly.
  • Maximising commonality between parts and accessories across the entire product range.
  • Finding a more economical and elegant solution to ensure an IP68 waterproof rating.

To achieve an IP68 rating and make the design waterproof, the client’s initial design required each device to be filled with resin. This solution meant that parts could not be adjusted later on, not to mention it was rather costly!

Our expert team explored many alternative solutions to assist the client. Our final design is able to be waterproofed easily by technicians out in the field with minimal use of specialist tools and components.

Prototyping

The final design we created was easily prototyped and tested. Using two of our 3D printers, we tested and improved the prototypes in-house. 

We started by implementing our rapid prototyping process to test the designs for size and the key requirements in the client’s brief. Due to the tight fit we needed to achieve, we iterated our design in stages to ensure the optimal balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Our resin printer was then able to create high-quality, detailed prints that accurately reflected the final product. Due to the nature of the environments these products are installed in, we tested the strength and toughness of different materials.

In the end, we recommended glass-filled nylon for the plastic components to achieve a rugged and UV-resistant exterior. We also recommended a number of options for internal components, like SS316 marine-grade fasteners, to further enhance the product’s technical features in an elegant and economical way.

Manufacturing

The final step in our end-to-end process was to see the products through to manufacturing. We collaborated closely with the client’s Perth-based manufacturer to ensure all components were created exactly as the client envisioned. We also assisted with the design of rubber seal components ensuring a snug fit and maintaining the essential IP68 rating of the product range.

The new products have since been launched internationally. The first production run included over 500 units produced. And we’re proud to see EWS’ products earning recognition from Austrade for the safety and sustainability improvements they deliver!

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