Model Solution (LRD: London) has created a one-of-a-kind manufacturing solution for a company trying to validate the mass production potential of its unique wearable device design. The Myo armband from Thalmic offers touch-free control of technology with hand gestures and motion. Via a wearable presentation remote, the Myo gesture control armband reads a user’s muscle activity and hand motion to control presentation software. Thalmic needed to prove the touch free controller could be manufactured at a reasonable cost, and turned to Model Solution for the answer.
To accomplish this task, Model Solution developed 14 new individual tools used to generate the production run, including a new method to hold flexible PCBs in place while molding around them.
The Myo device contained a long flexible PCB that was very difficult to work with because it did not have the restitution force necessary for efficient assembly or injection molding. Choosing suitable materials to be used in the injection molding process also proved difficult. The wearable device also needed to utilize a flexible, yet rugged material to provide a comfortable user experience with high reliability.
Model Solution worked with Thalmic’s design team to utilize insert molding and sub-overmolding techniques that enabled the creation of a thin flat FPCB that could be curved into a U-shape, increasing its force of restitution. After selecting a suitable material, Model Solution was able to draw upon its advanced quick-turn tooling capabilities utilizing a combination of semi-automatic and manual tooling to produce the production run.
“After Thalmic had contacted more than 20 companies for verification of the device’s final product design for mass production, Model Solution was able to draw upon our advanced quick-turn tooling capabilities for a successful solution,” said Danny Sung, Director of Sales at Model Solution. “Model Solution not only developed 14 new individual tools used to manufacture the Myo device, but we also established an innovative way to hold the flexible PCBs while molding around them. The Myo armband was the first device to be made from this type of tool. In the end, Model Solution helped prove out the Myo armband design while reducing Thalmic’s time to market.”