AC Navy Contactor
A multidisciplinary team of students from Product Realization Course was commissioned by DRS Technologies to create a Rugged Contactor for Naval applications. A contactor is an electromechanical switch and our specific contactor is provided to the Navy to operate motors for use on battleships and submarines. In the event of disruption or turbulence, the contactor should be able to keep its state, and continue operating as expected. The market opportunity for the Rugged Contactor is unique in that the concept is being developed for DRS Technologies which will then be sold to the Navy. Beyond both DRS Technologies and the Navy, there are several opportunities for the Rugged Contactor to be used. There are very few other contactors that utilize a latching bar concept or being “smart”, let alone both. Utilization of readily available commercial components helps to keep the new contactor cost-effective.
The design and evolution of the product went through many iterations.The first phase consisted of making sure all group members understood the current contactor operations. The initial concepts were very basic versions of single components of the contactor. These early steps led to more complicated designs and concepts and at the end of the brainstorming phase we were left with 14 designs. Using a Concept Screening Matrix and a Concept Scoring Matrix we were able to narrow down all of the designs to two strong concepts. The two strongest components were the accelerometer and the latching mechanism, and it made the most sense to put these two together to make the most efficient and rugged concept that met the most requirements.