A fully automated drone hatch for Arctic and desert environments. The hangar was designed and manufactured from scratch. The hangar is equipped with the advanced drone positioning system, custom drone chargers and smart HVAC system.
Despite the exponential growth of the drone fleet and their varieties, there are very few ‘hangar’-like solutions on the market which are intended to keep, charge and transport drones.
The customer contacted EnCata with just a preliminary concept for the drone hatch, which was acknowledged as TRL-2. The customer, however, had very clear requirements for the future product and we determined that there was no similarly complex design or automated hangar system available on the market back in 2017.
EnCata took the leading role in engineering the concept, which led us to the development of several important subsystems:
- battery charger (IC design from scratch),
- commanding electronics with wireless interface
- precision mechanics system for automated hatch opening and closing
- automated landing ‘table’ for positioning drone for charging after landing
- HVAC system that sustains a wide range of temperatures: from -50 deg. C to +60 deg. C
Precision mechanics for hangar opening/closing, drone positioning table subsystems and a custom 200 A charger were the particular engineering challenges we faced in achieving the TRL-5 development phase. The assembled and tested prototype (TRL-6) then successfully passed field tests with the customer’s drone system and telecommunication software to achieve TRL-7. The system was thus ready for. further batch production and TRL-8 technology.
Very little DFM work was done after the field tests, as the initial engineering concept and design engineering practices of EnCata concerned manufacturability and cost-efficiency of the manufacturing process.
The startup successfully demonstrated his system to the customers and subsequently went into low-volume production of his hangars and drones.