Design & Engineering

Industrial Design – Rugged, Strong, and Secure

17 January 2017 | Team EACPDS


Industrial Design has always been an important element of successful product development. Aesthetically and functionally pleasing products are important to customer perception and ultimately may add to increased acceptance and improved sales.

The Engineering Services Group at EAC Product Solutions solved such an industrial design challenge for a valued customer, Bob Barker Company, Inc. Bob Barker is America’s leading detention supplier and maker of the Vancell, which is a prisoner transport unit that is installed in commercial vans. They approached EAC to create a successor, which ultimately became the Vancell Elite.

Figure 1: Original Vancell by Bob Barker Company, Inc.

Bob Barker wanted the new version of the Vancell to fit newer, redesigned van models. At the same time, they requested upgrades to several user features. They wanted to incorporate design elements to differentiate the redesign of the Vancell from its competitors. The redesign was required to invoke feelings of ruggedness, strength, and security.

Figure 2: Vancell Elite Cut-Away View

With those challenging requirements, the Designers in the Engineering Services Group started by selecting diamond plate panels for the exterior of the access doors to elude to the element of ruggedness. The diamond shaped patterns were then carried through to the ventilation cutouts in wall panels for continuity of theme. A new logo, designed by Bob Barker Company, was added to the access doors as well as laser cut sheet metal brackets. The bracket was painted black with another bracket behind painted orange for a bold, three-dimensional look. A small Bob Barker decal was placed nearby to increase brand awareness. The Designers also added chrome paddle latches and bright screw heads to accent the diamond patterns and create a sense of security.

Figure 3: Vancell Elite Rear Access Doors

Next, a new base color was needed for the exterior of the unit. The competitor’s prisoner transport unit was painted a sterile white that easily showed dirt and wear. The old Vancell was painted a dull gray. Bob Barker Company wanted to set themselves apart from both of these units with a bold and dynamic color. Using CAD models created in PTC Creo, the Designers rendered images in different colors to help the company determine which color was best. A medium matte blue was selected.

Upon agreement of design features and colors, manufacturing drawings were released to a third-party fabrication shop. The prototype of the first transport unit was completed in time for display and demonstration at a large trade show. The Marketing and Sales team at Bob Barker Company were excited about the appearance and function of the completed Vancell Elite and confirmed that it met their requirements — rugged, strong, and secure. They also received many positive comments from prospective customers at the trade show.

Figure 4: Vancell Elite prototype, Rear View

The VanCell Elite difference is not only through its new and improved design, but it’s features as well. The VanCell Elite provides improved visibility for greater officer security through controlled viewing, PREA compliant segregation compartments, and an enhanced 4 Camera Viewing System and optional DVR upgrade.

Learn more about the VanCell Elite here.

If you have industrial design or engineering project, the Engineering Services Group can step in and mentor you throughout your design process or act as your engineering team. The innovative engineers and designs can help realize your ideas and transform the way you design your products. For more information, contact us here or learn more about our Design and Engineering services here.