Who are FMC Technologies?
FMC Technologies is a global market leader in subsea systems and a leading provider of technologies and services to the oil and gas industry.
The Business Need
This project arose from FMC’s Destination Zero initiative: a safety initiative with the goal of ‘zero safety incidents, worldwide, every day’. FMC’s Optoelectronics team identified an opportunity to improve the safety of their pressure testing procedures. They approached 4c Design for support with the development of a remote pressure sensing tool that would provide ‘belt and braces’ back-up to their existing test procedures.
Our Activities and Deliverables
The proposed solution required two separate components: firstly, a pressure sensor and wireless transmitter and secondly, a wireless receiver both packaged together for the end user. FMC’s engineers designed the internal electronics and asked 4c to design bespoke housing for both of the components. In addition to component design, we were also asked to develop product branding and packaging to support adoption of the new tool by other business units within FMC Technologies.
“My favorite part is the blue chassis. Not only is it an attractive piece of design, but it holds components down and PCBs attach from above!”
Mark Penver industrial designer
Our first action was to work with FMC Optoelectronics to develop a detailed user scenario. This enabled us to identify and discuss a number of issues with the original assumptions made for the use of the tool. We developed a range of design concepts for the two components and built cardboard models to inform the design selection process. Our design included features to accurately locate and lock key components in position and to integrate the connections between them. We also considered and tested the ergonomics of our design in order to optimise the user experience. FMC only required a small number of tools and therefore asked 4c to supply the final products. Selection of an appropriate manufacturing process was difficult due to the conflicting requirements placed on the tool. Injection moulding would have been ideal to meet the professional quality and finish required, however, this method is prohibitively expensive for small volumes. Instead, we chose vacuum casting and carried out extensive tests on a vacuum cast prototype to ensure that both the design and the manufacturing method met FMC’s requirements for quality and functionality.
In addition to designing and supplying the tool itself, we also designed and assembled robust cases for the new tools.
The new tool has been well received and additional units have been requested in order to meet demand from other business units within FMC Technologies.