17 Jun How it’s Made: Watch Retail Display
Activity trackers, interactive watches, sport watches and digital time pieces are becoming increasingly popular, with 1 in 3 in our office sporting some sort of tech watch or activity tracking wristband. We’ve had the privilege of manufacturing some leading fitness tracker POS displays displays already for a client, and now we’ve been busy manufacturing another type of display, this time for a smart watch.
We follow the process of initial 3D render through to production ready unit.
Step One – Drawings and Renders
Our client, a leading merchandising and retail display designer, got in touch with us to help prototype and manufacture a display unit. They provided a set of 3D renders, to which we developed our manufacturing drawings and processes from. This stage involves close discussion and collaboration between us and the client to help achieve the desired design in the most cost effective and timely way.
Step Two – Mild Steel
A large sheet of CR4, mild steel to you and I, is taken and loaded onto our TruLaser 3030 machine for cutting.
Step Three – Laser Cutting
The laser cutter got to work cutting out the various parts for the unit. The laser cutter is able to cut radius corners, holes for the machine screws and fixtures as well as efficiently marking any serial numbers. Laser cutting is a quick and effective method of producing retail POS units such as this one due to its flexibility and accuracy.
Step Four and Five – Press Brakes and Fittings
Like an array of projects at Constant, sometimes our press brake team have to work hand-in-hand with our Pemsertter team to bend the metal work and insert clinch studs and nuts.
On occasion only so many bends can be processed before fasteners have to be inserted because of difficult access issues.
For example; in this project the back piece of metal had to be bent, then have two flush head studs pre-inserted, and then bent for the second time. If we didn’t do it in a staged process, the fully bent metal work wouldn’t allow for studs to be inserted as a piece of metal would be obstructing the location. A good working relationship between the teams allows for this process to happen seamlessly.
Reading and analysing the drawings is essential. Good manufacturing drawings allow for our Pemsertter team to accurately place studs and nuts into the metalwork with ease, removing any guess work.
Step Six – Welding
Firstly, the welder MIG stitch welds the back panel to the main body. He then stitch welds a fixing bracket to the main body. To save time, and cost, he then rivets the rest of the parts together, as they’re not seen by the general public and do not effect the security of the devices on the POS display.
Once the main body has taken shape he TIG welds the rest of the parts together to complete the unit’s main body.
Step Seven – Linishing
The finishing and linishing team got to work on the weld joints and polished them off smoothly to create a soft polished corner and base unit. Even though the unit is going to be powder coated, this quality finish gives the powder coating a better base to adhere to, and also prevents any blemishes caused by welding being seen or felt through the painted finish.
Step Eight – Powder Coating the Rainbow!
The prototype retail display units were first hung up and passed through the cleaning phases of the powder coating processes. In the photograph it shows the back panel and base interior, where you can see the large cut outs to help facilitate the integration of the smartwatches and their respective chargers and cables.
First the black back panels were coated, and then the green, red and yellow watch display sections were powder coated.
Having so many parts to paint in various colours, it’s important the team have reference sheets and visuals to keep them on track. Even a simple render with hand notes on RAL colours prevents mistakes. Again, another part of the Q&A process at Constant.
Step Nine – Assembly
The parts are transferred to the assembly department, where the rubber feet are inserted to the base unit.
Cables and securing nuts are fixed into place.
And LED strips are tested out for design and practicality.
Step Ten – Finishing Touches
Vinyl graphics were applied to the colour blocks, and the plastic back panel was inserted to cover the LED strips and ultimately illuminate the magnetic graphics the customer will be installing onto it. The colour blocks are secured into the unit with M4 bolts. The smart watches, when in place, are secured with special anti-theft brackets under the coloured panels.
Finished Smart Watch Display
We took this prototype to the next stage with the customer, adapting the drawings and design to their customer’s end requirements. This resulted in us swapping out the coloured metal blocks for plastic, making the unit lighter. The back panel was swapped out for a solid colour graphic display verses illuminated display. We incorporated a wealth of holes in the base of the unit, to accommodate future wiring and changes to the display, to help future-proof the design and give it more possibilities.