Designing technology products for extreme environments is a Porticos specialty, and the Iridium Pilot ADE2 is a great example of this expertise. Iridium is a satellite communications company that offers global voice and data communications coverage. Porticos designed its Pilot Above Decks Equipment (ADE) unit, which is mounted on ocean-going vessels to provide broadband communications.
Design and Engineering for Extreme Conditions
Porticos was contracted to design the Pilot, applying our experience in engineering rugged products for temperature extremes, vibration, solar, water ingress, corrosion, and other critical considerations.
We chose Porticos because of their experience in designing consumer, industrial and military wireless products and their reputation for providing superior customer service. – Conrad Geibel, Iridium.
- Prior to proceeding with the design of the final product, Porticos conducted analysis and testing on a variety of sealing options to address water ingress. We identified a Buna-N O-ring seal as the best approach considering assembly and manufacturing tolerances.
- Corrosion was addressed through a combination of materials and coatings:
- A360 aluminum was chosen for the structural base plate because of its resistance to corrosion and suitability for die casting.
- Trivalent chromate conversion was performed by immersing the base plate in Metalast TCP-HF.
- PPG Amerlock 400 primer with PPG PSX700 top coat marine-grade paint was applied to the entire base plate.
- Porticos tested the final product to ensure resistance to corrosion and paint separation by subjecting the product to MIL-810G Method 509.5 salt spray.
Using a similar approach to design of the plastic radome, Porticos tested several materials in accordance with ASTM-G155. The final decision was to use Cycoloy C6600 PC/ ABS molded in white.
Porticos also conducted tests to ensure the product was within tolerance for vibration and thermal shock:
- Vibration, MIL-810G Method 528 Type I (mast-mounted equipment) and Type II (ship drive induced).
- Thermal Shock, MIL-810G Method 503.5, -40C to 60C.