Lime Microsystems: Software defined radio technology for wireless networks
Monday 9th March 2020
The Lime Microsystem's Company Mission is to enable Universal Wireless and Affordable Connectivity
65% of the world’s population remains without access to cellular and wireless broadband connectivity. Traditional solutions supplied by a closed group of vendors using expensive hardware are uneconomic for operators to deploy. Lime’s approach based on an open source hardware platform using readily available semiconductors and Lime’s transceiver is establishing itself as the way forward.
Open source platforms offer unprecedented levels of configurability. They allow system designers to create wireless networking equipment for any mobile or wireless communication standard and provide operators with end to end programmable networks.
Lime is the driving force behind key initiatives to democratise wireless innovation, revolutionise the way that radio access networks are built, bring transparency to spectrum utilisation, and encourage the next generation of wireless engineers.
Lime Microsystems Production Requirements
Lime came to Complete Fabrication with a completed product design intended for traditional injection moulding. Although this design was appropriate for large volume manufacture the costs associated with the setup of the injection moulding process were not attractive. As well as the set up cost the need to hold large volumes of stock also was not practical, so Complete Fabrication’s Carbon 3D process was a natural fit, the challenge being to develop the design to work with the Carbon process.
Lime’s design team could instantly see the advantages of Carbon’s toolless offering, saving on the large initial tooling cost. Pairing this saving with an understanding of how the team at Complete Fabrication could accommodate a responsive approach to their just-in-time ordering, the need to develop Lime’s design for Carbon was established.
Complete Fabrication and Lime’s design teams got together to develop a way forward. Splitting the design down to a dovetailed assembly, slotting the case walls together with the top and bottom case capping the product, with the internal electronic assembly inside. The final fix was four Posidrive fixings tapped directly into the bosses built in the chosen Carbon production material, RPU70. This approach to the product design drove the production cost down by enabling clever clustering of multiple parts onto single builds shortening the overall build program, making use of Carbon’s super-fast build method, and allowing us to complete the oven cure overnight during the build programme. Oven curing is the process which gives the RPU70 material its production strength by taking on its crossed linked characteristic.
Although the surface finish achieved directly from the print process is very good, Lime wanted something a little more. We looked at printing various textures onto the surface but developed our own finish, which was relatively quick to apply and gave a rubberised tactile feel to each component, leaving the end user completely unaware that this product was produced without a tool!
Carbon has opened up a new way of thinking and today we are able to offer versatile and practical methods of production which have not been seen before, pairing Carbon’s 3D printing technology with the expertise of Complete Fabrication’s design team.