Fully automated drone hatch

A fully automated drone hatch for Arctic and desert environment. The hangar was designed and manufactured from scratch. The hangar equipped with the advanced drone positioning system, custom drone chargers and smart HVAC system.

Despite the exponential growth of the drone fleet and their varieties, there are very few ‘hangar’-like solutions on the market, intended to keep, charge and transport drones.

The customer contacted EnCata with just a preliminary concept for the dene hatch, which was acknowledged as TRL-2. The customer, however, had very clear requirements for the future product. No similar complexity design or automated hangar system was available on the market back in 2017.

EnCata took the leading role in engineering the concept, which led us to the development of several important subsystems:

  • battery charger,
  • commanding electronics with wireless interface
  • precision mechanics system for automated hatch opening and closing
  • automated landing ‘table’ for positioning drone for charging after it landed in
  • HVAC system that sustains a wide range of temperatures: from -50 deg. C to +60 deg. C

Precision mechanics for hangar opening/closure, drone positioning table sub-systems and a custom 200 A charger were the particular engineering challenge while TRL-5 development phase. The assembled and tested prototype (TRL-6) then went for field tests with customer’s drone system and telecommunication software and successfully passed tests (qualified as TRL-7), which qualified the prototype for further batch production and TRL-8 technology.

Very little DFM work was done passed field tests, as the initial engineering concept and design engineering practices of EnCata always concerned manufacturability and cost-efficiency of the future manufacturing.