A Troubled Start
WattIQ (formerly IBIS Networks) came to Porticos with a problem. One of their main products, the IntelliSocket (IS-301), was failing UL testing at its intended 15A load and had to be certified at 12A. To make matters worse, the device was overheating, causing softening and sometimes melting of the product’s plastic housing.
The IntelliSocket and WattIQ are part of the rapidly-expanding IoT, or Internet-of-Things industry. The IntelliSocket is used in large institutions and commercial spaces to control appliances and instruments that are plugged into it. The tool can also monitor and track power consumption and can be used to securely issue alerts when certain parameters are detected. The 15A certification was an important benchmark for WattIQ, and the overheating of the device was a major concern.
An Engineering Investigation
Porticos undertook an investigation of the product, focusing on heat generation. By studying CAD drawings of the device, reviewing the power path, and utilizing thermal imaging, Porticos engineers were able to verify the source of the issue. An assembly process issue was addressed and Porticos assisted in the development of updated specifications to avoid the occurrence in the future.
The Next Generation IntelliSocket
With this success, WattIQ engaged Porticos to design their next generation of the IntelliSocket product. Porticos undertook to improve the product to meet UL certification at 15A while reducing costs and improving the aesthetic appeal.
Porticos began by working on a single-board solution utilizing WattIQs own power circuit. This was an improvement over the previous solution which required a two-board architecture and off-the-shelf electrical contacts. These changes reduced heat generation and the single-board solution was cheaper to produce and assemble.
Porticos also worked with a regulatory consultant to ensure UL standards for 15A certification could be achieved by the new device. Thermal requirements and plug retention forces were tested through several iterations of prototypes before being passed on to WattIQ for final production.
The newly-created IntelliSocket, IS-401 was released into production and is now part of the WattIQ Asset Monitoring system. The new product is certified to operate at 15 amps and has more functionality while being smaller than its predecessor. Porticos is pleased to have contributed to the next phase in this product’s development.