One of Europe’s largest engineering companies entrusted us to help them update their smart gas meter offering. By taking a fresh approach we designed an energy efficient, future proof unit optimised for mass manufacture and ease of installation.

Brief


Modern smart meters operate within a highly regulated, standards-based industry. They therefore must be easy and cost effective to manufacture, simple and quick to install, future-proof, easy to update and last 30 years – outdoors in all weathers.

The device required a low-cost battery solution guaranteed for 15 years – maintenance-free, ultra-low power electronics and software as well as support for frequent use of low-power radio communications such as Zigbee. 

Approach


The smart card module is the feature that ‘future proofs’ a smart gas meter – allowing it to be updated with the latest technology without having to replace the whole meter.

We developed the smart card electronics module and the mechanical meter interface, as well as a tamper-proof, injection-moulded plastic housing for the circuit board and card reader.

With low-cost, high-volume manufacture in mind, the meter design was optimised for the manufacturing partner’s processes and design rules. 

Benefit


The redesigned Q-Smart gas meter cut the number of batteries needed from five to just one, dramatically reducing unit cost, whilst the new ultra-low-power electronics doubled the battery life – all within applicable regulatory constraints.

Q-Smart illustrates how good product design starts with a concept, moves to the drawing board, runs through the design process and continues all the way through to transfer to manufacturing.