Simple Design Carries Weight in Electronics Packaging

DN Staff

September 10, 2009

2 Min Read
Simple Design Carries Weight in Electronics Packaging

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Sometimes the simplicity of a design can mask its benefits and applicability for the intended audience. That's the case with IBM's Hinged Platform Tool, a patented technology that helps packaging engineers more effectively configure heavy electrical components.

Many heavy electrical components - forexample, the processor and memory nodes for a mainframe computer - are shippedto sites in horizontal packaging so that the longest side of the component canrest flat on a shipping pallet, ensuring optimal stability. The problem comeswhen it's time to install that component, which typically needs to bereoriented to a vertical position. A single design engineer in charge of theconfiguration may not be able to switch the position of the component withoutexposing himself or herself to injury or without causing damage to theelectronics. IBM's Hinged Platform tool is designed so a single individual canmanually upright a very heavy component easily, without the use of electricity,hydraulics or excessive manpower.

"We took a combination of packagingspecialists, human factors ergonomics specialists, development guys and servicepeople and came together to figure out a design that, for the least amount ofmoney and with no special hydraulics or equipment person, could perform the uprightingprocess," says Sharon Spaulding,packaging engineer at IBM. "It looks very simple when you look at
it, but to get to the actual design was very complex."

The IBM Hinged Platform Tool, made outof high density polyethylene, has a unique frame and hinged base design thatallows the heavy electrical component to be easily slid into place within thetooling and reoriented to the proper position by a single individual. Thedesign incorporates spacing to accommodate an individual's foot to ensure optimalstability during the process. The choice of the light, high-densitypolyethylene material also contributes to its high functionality as it'sallowable in data centers - unlike wood or other plastic materials, Spauldingsays, and the Hinged Platform Tool design supports the transport of multiplecomponents, not just those affiliated with one specific IBM mainframe.

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