Iridium is a global satellite communications company, providing access to voice and data services anywhere on Earth. With its constellation of satellites, Iridium’s network connects people and devices in the world’s most remote places — and close to home.
Iridium created the 9575A specifically for the U.S. Government. Porticos was contracted by Iridium to provide the entire mechanical design, mechanical supplier management, and commercialization for its Extreme Satellite Phone Handset. Iridium’s 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone Handset is a military-grade (MIL-STD 810G), durable satellite phone.
The Iridium 9575A satellite phone offers proven reliability and industrial-grade design for use throughout the world by U.S. Government customers. The phone features a diamond tread, tapered grip design for superior in-hand ergonomics for use in the toughest environments. Iridium’s original communication devices, satellite phones, continue to play a key role in our portfolio of connectivity solutions.
Designing for Military-Grade Durability and Ingress Protection
In addition to the major challenges associated with achieving military-grade durability ratings for vibration, shock, thermal profiles, and drop, the product was also required to meet an ingress protection rating of IP65. To meet this standard, a product must be totally protected against dust and capable of surviving low-pressure jets of water from all directions.
To achieve the desired IP rating, Porticos engineers designed housings that could take advantage of 2-shot molding. Specifically, the PC/ABS substrate was over-molded with a soft durometer TPE that created the sealing features needed.
Retractable Satellite Antenna
One of the more challenging design elements for the 9575 handset was the retractable satellite antenna—made more difficult by the IP65 rating requirement. Design considerations included the following:
- The antenna must extend and retract ≈ 100mm
- In the extended mode, the antenna should be able to rotate 45 degrees about the shaft axis
- The antenna should survive drop, shock, vibration, and pull tests in the stowed or extended positions
Selecting Decoration Technology for Design and Manufacturing Advantages
To create the highly cosmetic faceplate, we used in-mold decoration (IMD). Compared to pad printing, screen printing, and other conventional decoration methods, IMD offers distinct advantages:
- Higher hardness — In this specific application, a 2H hardness was possible while maintaining ductility sufficient to survive the 1.5M drop testing
- Flexibility for applying detailed decoration over complex 3D surfaces
- Elimination of secondary processes — The part is complete when it is ejected from the mold
Incorporating Leading-Edge Display Technology
Many of the products we design contain liquid crystal displays (LCDs) of various sizes and complexities. Our customers often need complex mechanical designs to achieve miniaturization, durability, and drop resistance, as well as sophisticated RF interference shielding.
With longstanding working relationships with Sony, Phillips, and other leaders in display manufacturing, we are able to successfully integrate customer requirements into our designs. As display technology rapidly evolves, we stay on the leading edge and are able to incorporate thin-film-transistor (TFT), organic LED backlighting, and other exciting new display technologies into product designs for our customers.
As a result of the design efforts of the Porticos team, the 9575 Extreme not only boasts military-grade durability (MIL-STD-810G) but is also Iridium’s smallest handset.
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||139mm x 60.9mm|
|Operating Temperature Range||-10 to 55 ℃|
|Durability Standard||MIL-STD 810G|
|Battery Life, Talk Time||5 hr|
|Battery Life, Standby||24 hr|
|Location Based Services||Yes|