A global industry leader in residential and commercial copper-finned Heaters and Boilers seeking to innovate and improve on their legendary 74-year market dominance.
The heart of the boiler consists of the heat exchanger. Water to be heated flows through the heat exchanger, any type of internal corrosion or build-up lowers efficiency and reduces life expectancy of the exchanger.
Through the years, the client has come up with many industry firsts including a polymer Header and Return that cap the ends of the copper-finned elements. These components originally developed as a cost reduction effort, work amazingly well for residential use.
In the quest for continuous improvement, the client developed a consumable, replaceable Anode Cap concept that allows a zinc anode to naturally erode and take the brunt of the corrosion inside the unit extending the life of the system.
Unlike many product development efforts today, additive manufacturing was not a viable option for this product. The client needed a fast-track solution using actual production materials for testing and certification that could then be used to meet an almost impossible production launch schedule.
Working with the client’s internal resources as well as an outside 3rd party engineering firm and Zinc casting supplier, Craftech helped develop this new-to-industry concept, which required a completely new plastic Header as well as being adaptable to a new bronze cast unit.
After Craftech’s input and DFM efforts, Craftech directed the design and construction of the new Header and insert-molded Cap housing the Anode. Tooling was constructed in Asia and initial samples were supplied in an extremely aggressive 8-week schedule.
The molds required almost no grooming and were immediately air-freighted to Craftech’s Anaheim facility to be married up with advanced automation developed in-house during tool constriction.
Utilizing a unique two-armed robot, Craftech was able to remove the molded part while loading the threaded cores further reducing cycle. The end-of-arm tooling for the robot was designed and constructed internally at Craftech in- concert with the tool build.
Within 14 weeks from engagement, Craftech was producing production parts for this client. Since launching early 2020 the client has an installed base of over 200,000 of these next generation units. It is estimated that this consumable Anode could double the life of the heater and allow the homeowner years of trouble-free operation.