Back in February 2022, we at Evolution were approached by Prolab Digital, a branding production company, to construct a large-automated flower, planned to be placed inside a mall situated in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This enormous metal flower had to open its petals to expose a mannequin within, before closing them again.
The design of the concept was first completed within 2 weeks, after which the team went ahead and started bringing the project to life within 2 months. The flower's fundamental mechanism was designed in such a manner that the petals remained in equilibrium by employing dummy weights. The mechanism was actuated by a Linak DK-6430, a medical grade actuator capable of delivering 1200N force. This actuator was linked to the petals by a few links, allowing it to readily reproduce the motion of a flower.
To serve as the brain of this device, a customized microcontroller circuit was fabricated from scratch utilizing an Atmega328p. Two limit switches were installed on the actuator's extreme ends to notify the microcontroller when to halt and reverse its motion.
The flower's operation was essentially straightforward. To start/pause and halt its motion, a wired remote with two buttons and built-in LEDs was employed. When the start button was hit, the flower would open and retain its position for roughly two and a half minutes before closing for 30 seconds. This entire process continues until the stop button is manually hit, causing the flower to collapse. Holding the start/pause button for 3 seconds brought the bloom to a standstill. This function was implemented to make it easier for artists to work and to ensure that nothing interferes with or prevents the flower from operating in the long run.
Knowing that it would be difficult to access and troubleshoot the control box after everything was in place, a mini 128x64 pixel OLED display was installed on the side of the box to display the current state of the actuator as well as other information. In addition, numerous aviation connectors with different pins were employed to connect everything. This made shipping and installation easier all while ensuring that no connections were made incorrectly.
There was a lot to be learnt and improved about the design once the project was live. As we enter the era of automation, Evolution takes satisfaction in creating something that will be exhibited for a particular market. We want to embrace and surpass all problems with our committed Automation & Electronic experts and all the best skills.