OTM has designed and manufactured a screen wiper system for use on fighting vehicles, such as the Warrior, for many years. This design has been through several iterations of product improvement over time from single screen to multi screen applications for the Warrior and also finding a home in sight wiping applications.
By showcasing our unique brand of engineering expertise we won funding from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) to develop the wiper mechanism. This was required to conform to exacting specifications – in particular with regard to positional accuracy and protection against failure in hazardous or extreme conditions.
To meet the required levels of reliability a wiper has to be able to operate at peak performance in extreme conditions; it must continue to be fully functional in snow, sand, mud or ice. The problem is that, in extreme conditions, when the wiper becomes over laden, waste can build up on the blade and cause the motor to burn out as it struggles to work under increased pressure conditions. OTM’s unique solution to this problem was to employ a brushless DC motor with variable power capability. This enables the actuator to take on extra current to maintain consistent power without overworking the unit where there is accumulation of matter on the blades.
Equally as important, we developed the control of the wiper blade to a level of accuracy of position to within 0.5 degrees. Put simply, the operator can have total confidence that the blade is returning exactly where it is supposed to be. There are vital infra-red and optical sensors either side of the wiper unit that will send back blank or distorted images if the blade is not returned to its exact position. In a military situation, naturally, that can be fairly critical. In addition, the actuator is flexible in its design to allow sweep angles, rates, patterns and speeds that are infinitely variable and programmable.
OTM is a progressive and forward-thinking company packed full of incredibly talented and creative engineering brains. Therefore, having solved the problem, it’s not in our make-up to stand still and admire our work. In this instance, we saw the opportunity to make the wiper unit even more effective. Consequently, we have embarked on the next phase of development for the wiper blade actuator to a duplex system. Two blades will operate from the actuator to include a scraper on one side and the blade on the other – still meeting the required levels of positional accuracy.
The lesson we have learned from this project is that while we have created the perfect solution to meet the needs of equipment operating in extreme conditions, at the same time we now have a unit that is flexible and adaptable enough to be used successfully in many other applications. Wherever there is a need to return a moving unit back to an accurate position this actuator from OTM has the potential to meet that need.