Nautilus Micro-compressor

A rugged and transportable bench-top compressor.

Background

Vert Rotors asked i4pd to design a body kit (enclosure) and internal supporting structure (chassis) for their innovative new compressor, intended for light industrial applications. ‘Innovative’ in this case relating to the compactness of the product and its capability to output 20 bar with low noise – effectively a step change in the industry.

Vert were very well advanced with the compressor design by the time i4pd became involved, but were receptive to proposals to slightly adjust the internal architecture.

Challenges

The project was time critical, and benefited from an excellent level of interaction between the two companies. The key requirement set by the company's MD to create an exciting and futuristic exterior form that would complement the novelty of the technology within. Mobility was a key feature, and the compressor may be used in a laboratory or possibly even an office environment, so we needed to create an appearance design that would sit happily in these environments.

“The team at i4pd delivered great work, taking the visual design of the product to the next level. They also proposed a very smart internal design. Overall - a great company with excellent engineering and visual design capabilities. I will be happy to recommend i4pd to anyone, and I think they deserve the highest mark.”

Olly Dmitriev, MD of Vert Rotors Ltd.

Our Approach

Our initial work centred upon proposals for the internal arrangement, the outcome of which would have an effect on the overall enclosure size. i4pd’s senior mechanical engineer had experience of similar systems so was well placed to recommend adjustments to the layout, and propose certain components to meet Vert Rotors rigorous requirements.

We explored product architecture and construction options, including use of moulded panels, positioning of mobility wheels and retractable handle.

To compliment the product architecture ideas our senior product designer created a number of appearance design visuals for the team at Vert Rotors to review and identify a preference for further development.

The preferred design was then rendered further to illustrate difference colour and finish treatments, before an ‘A’ surface model was created. To support this work, i4pd developed our thinking for the internal structure to a very advanced level – the intention had always been to transfer the final design engineering to Vert Rotors, but we wanted to give the team as good a start as possible. Which we believe we did because, impressively, they managed to finalise the detail engineering and procure and build a unit for sale within two more months.

i4pd completed the design within 5 weeks.

The Design

The final design comprised a moulding that would form the top and front cover, mounted atop a fabricated sheet metal base and support chassis structure. A splash of orange, provided more than a nod towards Vert’s corporate colour scheme. The form was bold, intended to provide a futuristic faceted appearance. Attention to detail is shown through treatment of ventilation and filter access zones. Cleverly a retractable handle is secured to the underside of the unit such that when deployed the Nautilus sits back on two transport wheels.

We like to find new, better and efficient ways of doing things. Contact us to discover how i4 Product Design can solve your current design challenge and take your product to the next level.

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