From 3D drawings to plastic parts: Manufacturing the components of your Gradient
You’ve reserved your Gradient, and now the fun begins. It’s time for our California team to bring to life your planet-friendly heating and cooling system.
First up: Component manufacturing
Does that sound boring? Did we lose you right away?
Well come on back. Because this stage is one of the most captivating parts of the production process.
It’s when your Gradient transforms from 3D drawings to physical parts you can actually hold.
At this stage, we work with dozens of suppliers to fabricate all the components of your Gradient, like sheet metal and printed circuit boards.
Here you can see Kylie, our Senior Mechanical Engineer, working with one of those circuit boards. The semiconductors used to create these boards have been in short supply across all industries due to the pandemic and an unexpected increase in demand for new hardware. In response, we've partnered with several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) at the design level to improve product availability.
Note: This photo was taken for a photoshoot. When working with a PCB you should always wear gloves and a grounding strap.
During the component manufacturing stage we also make your Gradient’s highly customized plastic parts – including its moving parts, structural parts, and even the purely cosmetic ones.
These parts are created through injection molding, which is a high-volume production process.
How does injection molding work?
First, large pieces of steel are cut to shape using wire electrical discharge machine (EDM) and milling processes, making the inverse shape of your Gradient’s plastic parts.
Below (left) you can see the core side of the back cover tool, which we’re using to make (you guessed it) the back cover of your indoor unit.
Plastic is melted and injected at high pressures into the space between the steel molds.
After the plastic cools, the steel mold opens, and pins eject your Gradient’s finished plastic part.
In the photo on the right above, you can see what the back cover looks like when it’s ready for assembly. Below you’ll find a preview of what this curved piece looks like by the time it reaches your home:
Next, we'll assemble your Gradient's heat pump
OK, so now that you know what it takes to make some of the outer components of the Gradient, we're ready take a look at what’s inside.
Stay tuned for our next update, where we’ll walk you through the assembly of your Gradient’s mighty heat pump.
Cheers to a cooler world,
The Gradient Team