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Vibe-killer helps drive towards design award

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article image Pre-cut Soundpad mounted into the headbox during assembly (inset).

Local soundproofing know-how has contributed to the innovations claimed for a powered window roller shutter drive by its South Australian maker, OZRoll, whose revolutionary development might well earn it an Australian Design Award later in the year.

OZRoll's conceptual masterstroke of powering the Smartdrive by rechargeable cells instead of 240 volts ac had overwhelming benefits with only one apparent drawback, which thankfully was easily solved by Sydney-based Pyrotek Soundguard .

The drawback sprang from the need to develop, from the relatively low voltage available from nickel-metal-hydride batteries, quite high torque to open and close window roller shutters reliably. The torque boost needed is achieved by using a high-speed DC motor geared down from 17,000 to 16 rpm, and these dynamics induced vibration noise in the headbox housing the drive.

Soundguard's solution involved mounting, onto the end-plate of the headbox, a noise-pad of Soundpad V2SC vibration-damping material. Soundguard provides this to OZRoll die-cut to shape for easy installation by means of the product's peel-and-stick layer.

Extensively used in air-conditioners, white goods, vehicles, sinks, generator enclosures and metal deck roofs, Soundpad V2SC is designed to stop tinning and ringing noise in light-gauge metal, timber and plastic.

Its use has enabled OZRoll to confidently answer the Australian Design Award submission's "innovation" judging criterion with: "innovation in the motor and gearbox has provided highly effective and quiet operation in a compact package with far fewer parts than conventional tube motors."

OZRoll's Andrew Churchett admits that electric drives for window roller shutters have been around for some time "but are expensive and typically require 240 volt power to each window. And they don't operate when the power fails, which might be critical in an emergency situation such as a house fire or bushfire."

The Smartdrive costs little more than manual systems and far less than AC systems and is less obtrusive than either.

"The compact soundproofed controller snaps into a wall-plate wired to the headbox. The neat 180 x 75 x 30 mm controller houses the efficient day-rechargeable power cells plus all the smart electronics needed to operate the gear drive, including self-adjusting electrical end-stop sensing in place of complex and unreliable mechanical sensors," says Andrew.

"You simply connect the unit to the wall plate at any window and press a button to quietly open or close the shutter."

A month after Smartdrive was launched in mid 2004, it was reportedly already accounting for 80 per cent of national sales of the Modern Group of retail shutter companies.

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