The basic design of an analogue pressure gauge has not changed for many years and is immediately understandable even to the untrained eye. These gauges are used worldwide by firefighters for air pressure monitoring and are well-regarded for their simplicity and reliability. Therefore, any product intended as a replacement or substitute would need to be both intuitive and robust while offering a tangible improvement over the existing gauges.
The client's brief was to develop a digital pressure gauge (DPG) that could match and surpass the current levels of performance, while providing the user with additional information on consumption rate and time remaining until critical pressure levels are reached. This data can then be integrated into a broader Telemetry system used to monitor multiple firefighters from a safe location outside of the incident.
Throughout the development process, multiple visual and working representations of the product were produced, ranging from hand-drawn sketches to rendered CAD geometry and vacuum-cast polyurethane parts. These representations were used for communication within the internal project team and for showcasing the product to potential customers at trade shows. Additionally, we produced working prototypes and jigs to test various aspects of the design, from the IP68 sealed enclosure to the fit and function of the protective rubber boot.
Another essential aspect of the design was ensuring that the product met stringent intrinsic safety standards that would allow the product to be used safely within potentially explosive atmospheres. This was achieved through close collaboration with the electrical engineers producing prototypes for potting tests, documentation, internal layout for the accrediting body.