[CASE STUDY] Design to Assembly Contract Manufacturing Solution

outsmart.pngSome manufacturing solutions require a great deal of development and production of component parts as well as assembly. This was true in this case study, where Mars International acted as a manufacturing partner providing both plastic and metal components.

Business Situation

Mars International client of Natick, MA was established by the venture engineering firm, Manifold Products, also based in Natick.

Outsmart has developed a unique, intelligent energy management system that “transforms a building’s existing electrical wiring infrastructure into a real-time power management network."

This system takes advantage of the infrastructure using OutSmart's proprietary powerline protocol turning it into a communication network for power consumption data. It can monitor how much electricity is being used at specific locations wherever an EnergyMate module is deployed, thus providing visibility into energy costs, equipment performance, and electrical infrastructure. Building owners and facility managers can remotely monitor the data through a web-based dashboard to make energy consumption decisions to lower the total cost of building ownership.

Technical Situation

For its new product introduction, OutSmart sought a manufacturing partner that could design the tooling and manufacture the entire set of products including several EnergyMate modules, the LoadRunner aggregator, and the LoadMaster modem. The initial criteria for OutSmart were to find a manufacturing partner with highly skilled design engineering talent such that the tooling could be designed and perfected for each metal and plastic component of each product according to their design specifications. The company wanted a partner with the flexibility to initially support low volumes and to deliver individual non-assembled components to OutSmart for their analysis and approval. At the same time, this partner had to have the ability to support a significant volume ramp with a low-cost solution once the product launch was successful. Ultimately, their manufacturing partner would manufacture and assemble the complete product. OutSmart’s engagement with Mars International initially focused on the heart of the system, the EnergyMate, which is a high volume low-cost sensor that turns existing electrical breakers into smart nodes in the system.

OutSmart delivered product requirements and 2D drawings for two EnergyMate versions: 1-up and 3-up. Each version required the design of many intricate plastic and metal components. Mars' electronics engineers were asked to design tooling for 9 injection molded plastic components and 5 metal stampings and castings, including the front and back housings, screw blocks, screws, latches, bushings, and clamps. Although the EnergyMate product was the primary focus of product development, Mars International designed tooling for several other products OutSmart has developed and plans to commercialize.

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Solution & Benefits

From the 2D drawings provided by OutSmart, Mars International designed the molds and dies for each individual component for the EnergyMate products. These designs took into consideration ease-of-manufacturing and assembly, and overall costs, so that the final product assembly would meet the product goals outlined by OutSmart. Manufacturing of each component commenced and were delivered unassembled to OutSmart for their analysis and product builds. Mars supplied assembly recommendations to OutSmart for their consideration in product assembly. After a thorough evaluation of each component and of the product assembly process, OutSmart approved all of the components. They have fully assembled their EnergyMate products and have begun initial product installations in various locations in North America. OutSmart and Mars International have prepared for full commercialization of the product as deployments of the OutSmart Power System continue to grow.

OutSmart was able to bring their product to market rapidly and cost-effectively by partnering with Mars International for their design, manufacturing, and assembly expertise. The advantage of working closely with a U.S.-based company, while still capturing the benefits of offshore manufacturing, allowed OutSmart to meet their product launch targets. Plans are currently underway to transition the complete product build to Mars International for volume production.

If you need help with your tooling design and build as well as the final manufacturing of the component parts, consider Mars International. With decades of experience in developing manufacturing solutions, we offer a turn-key approach to all of your production needs.

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