General Technics Guides Concept and Product Design of Early Custom Drive Duplicator
Project: Custom drive duplicator
Challenge: Creating a product would allow user to quickly clone a hard drive onto four, eight, or twelve target drives simultaneously
Solution: Concept and design for a complete drive duplicator
Arco approached General Technics looking to create a product would that allow a user to quickly clone a hard drive onto four, eight, or twelve target drives simultaneously. While products like this are now widespread, General Technics led Arco through this project when the concept was an innovation for the market – working simultaneously through the mechanical and electrical design, market demands, and overall product viability.
Part of involving General Technics early in the process meant there was a fluid concept and design phase where Arco continued to evolve requirements as the project moved forward, leading to a more iterative design process than what takes place when clients have firm requirements and specifications up front. Because the General Technics team is experienced and equipped to concept and design a project from scratch, they could evolve the concept over time and design to meet the demands of modified requirements.
The Arco team began by presenting a rough sketch and design requirements, including:
- 5” or 2.5” SATA drives that could plug in to the product without a mounting carrier
- Serial, USB, and Ethernet ports
- LCD and keypad for controls
Because the Arco team didn’t have a specific design in mind but rather the goal of a final product, General Technics took the Arco team through a concept and design phase before product development could begin. Starting early in the design process allowed General Technics to prioritize the mechanical design of the overall product to meet the technical requirements, and then work through the electrical design of the control and interface board.
Prioritizing Key Functionality
Through discussions, the General Technics and Arco teams decided the overall product was flexible in final size, and that they could meet all the technical requirements with a tradeoff of specific footprint.
With ongoing feedback from the Arco team on the models and drawings during the design process, General Technics reworked the design with new criteria, expanding support to include PATA drives, and a larger LCD. The General Technics team developed a PATA-to-SATA bridge to function as a plug-in adapter to increase data transfer speeds.
General Technics developed 3D models of all necessary components to meet system requirements.
The second design iteration was communicated through renderings that showed critical and specific design elements and their corresponding functions. The final, proposed design included a more space-efficient design that would bring increased cooling to the system overall.
The design included:
- Vertical SATA connectors to interface with drives of either size
- Nylon-guided nests to align drives as they are inserted
- Hinged doors that double as dust covers and guides for smaller drives
- Scooped air inlet and plenum to ensure that cool airflow is routed over and around each hard drive
In addition to 3D models, General Technics included a physical design of the interface board with suggested connectors and their placements to meet the overall performance requirements. The final product design was delivered to Arco, ready for complete production.