The present invention relates to a method of producing
a remote control device, and to a remote control device produced using such a method.
As is known, shower stalls, saunas, hydromassage baths,
etc., in which the main functions (e.g. water flow and temperature, etc.) and/or
other functions (e.g. audio, etc.) are controlled by means of a remote control device,
are becoming increasingly popular.
Moreover, the primary function of such a device is to protect
the delicate electronic components inside from direct or indirect contact with water
or, at any rate, damp, which could impair operation of the device.
Various solutions have been proposed for remote control
devices and relative manufacturing methods designed to ensure perfect sealing of
Remote control devices manufactured according to the teachings
of prior art, however, have been found not only to be unsatisfactory in terms of
sealing, but also to involve long, high-cost production processes.
A remote control device of such kind has been described
EP-A-0 615 265
(MARQUARDT GMBH). This remote control device comprises a first half-shell
formed by means of two successive hot stamping operations of a first and a second
plastic material; wherein the main body of the first half-shell is made of a rigid
first material, and comprises a number of through openings eventually filled with
an elastic second material, so as to form a keyboard having a number of buttons
at the through openings. However, such a remote control device doesn't provide a
reliable protection of the delicate electronic components inside from a direct or
indirect contact with water.
It is therefore a main object of the present invention
to provide a method of producing an innovative remote control device.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide
a relative innovative remote control device.
The objects of the present invention are defined by the
characteristics in the independent Claims.
The present invention will be described with reference
to the accompanying drawings, which show a nonlimiting embodiment of a remote control
device produced using the method which is the main object of the present invention,
and in which:
- Figure 1 shows an overall view of a remote control device in accordance with
the present invention;
- Figure 2 shows a first half-shell of the Figure 1 remote control device;
- Figure 3 shows a second half-shell of the Figure 1 remote control device;
- Figure 4 shows an exploded view of the Figure 1 remote control device.
It should be pointed out that only the details indispensable
for a clear understanding of the present invention are numbered in Figures 1-4 and
described with reference to such Figures 1-4.
Number 10 in Figure 1 indicates a remote control device
in accordance with the present invention.
Remote control device 10 comprises a first half-shell 20
(see also Figure 2) and a second half-shell 30 (see also Figure 3).
First half-shell 20 (Figure 2) comprises a substantially
cup-shaped main body 21.
As shown in Figure 2, on the concave side, main body 21
comprises four plugs 22 and four pins 23 (only two pins 23 visible in Figure 2)
to which an electronic board 40 is fixed by means of four screws 41 (Figure 4);
and members 24, 25 shaped to house electronic board 40.
More specifically, main body 21 comprises a substantially
flat portion 21a surrounded by an edge 21b (Figure 2); and plugs 22, pins 23, and
members 24, 25 project from substantially flat portion 21a on the concave side of
main body 21.
Edge 21b is shaped to comprise a seat 26 at one end, for
the purpose explained in detail later on.
Substantially flat portion 21a comprises a number of through
openings 28 equal in number, as will be seen, to the members for imparting commands
to electronic board 40 (see below).
Main body 21 of half-shell 20 is formed by means of a first
stamping operation of a first plastic material, which is advantageously, though
not necessarily, polypropylene.
By means of a second hot stamping operation, a layer 50
(Figures 1, 2, 4) of a second plastic material is then deposited on substantially
flat portion 21a, on the convex side of main body 21.
Layer 50 is made of plastic material which, once set, has
a high degree of elasticity to deformation induced mechanically by a user's finger
Layer 50 is advantageously, though not necessarily, made
of silicone-based rubber.
Layer 50 is stamped onto substantially flat portion 21a
when half-shell 20 is still hot, so as to achieve firm bonding between the molecules
of the material of layer 50 (advantageously silicone-based rubber) and the material
of half-shell 20 (advantageously polypropylene).
The above stamping operations may be advantageously implemented
using the solutions described in
EP-B1-1 060 868
To form a substantially smooth outer surface of half-shell
20, substantially flat portion 21a has a recess 21c for housing layer 50 (Figure
As shown in Figures 1, 2, 4, layer 50 comprises a portion
50a attached to the outer surface of substantially flat portion 21a; and a number
of portions 50b at through openings 28 formed, as stated, in substantially flat
Layer 50 represents an actual control keyboard integrated
in half-shell 20.
Each portion 50b in turn comprises a corresponding button
50c (Figure 2) projecting from substantially flat portion 21a, on the concave side
of main body 21.
In actual use, buttons 50c rest on electronic board 40,
which is gripped between the two half-shells 20, 30.
In actual use, exploiting the elasticity of keyboard 50,
the user (not shown) presses on portions 50b of layer 50 to move buttons 50c in
the direction of arrow F (Figures 1, 4), so that each button 50c acts on a corresponding
switch on electronic board 40.
Figure 3 shows second half-shell 30 in more detail.
Half-shell 30 comprises a substantially cup-shaped main
body 31, in turn comprising a substantially flat portion 31a surrounded by an edge
Like half-shell 20, on the concave side, main body 31 comprises
seats 32, each for receiving a respective plug 22 of half-shell 20 (Figure 2); and
pins 33 which, in use, rest on electronic board 40 (Figure 4).
Edge 31b is shaped to comprise a seat 36 (Figure 3) at
one end, and a recess 37 at the other end, for the purpose explained in detail later
As shown in Figures 3 and 4, substantially flat portion
31a comprises a housing 38, which opens on the convex side of main body 31 to house
two batteries 47 held in place by a spring 42.
As shown in Figure 4, housing 38 is closed by a cover 43
fixed to main body 31 by a number of screws 44; and a seal 46 provides for sealing
between the edge of cover 43 and a respective seat 45 formed on substantially flat
Like half-shell 20, half-shell 30 may also be advantageously
formed using the solutions described in Patent
EP-B1-1 060 868
More specifically, main body 31 of half-shell 30 is formed
by means of a first stamping operation of a first plastic material.
By means of a second hot stamping operation, recess 37
(Figure 3) is then filled with a second plastic material 81 permeable to the electromagnetic
waves generated by board 40 in response to the commands entered by the user using
Once electronic board 40 is fixed to half-shell 20, the
two half-shells 20, 30 are joined mechanically by plugs 22 engaging seats 32, and
the peripheral edges 83, 84 of respective half-shells 20, 30 are designed to form
a cavity 80 running along the whole mating perimeter of half-shells 20, 30.
At this point, by means of a further hot stamping operation,
peripheral cavity 80 is filled with the same or similar plastic material to that
of main bodies 21 and 31, so as to form a perfectly sealed joint 60 (Figure 1) between
half-shells 20 and 30.
Moreover, seat 26 of half-shell 20 mates with seat 36 of
half-shell 30 to form a cavity 70 (Figure 1) shaped to house, in use, a supporting
member (not shown) for supporting the whole of device 10.
The main object of the present invention is therefore a
remote control device 10 produced in the following steps:
- (a) forming a first half-shell 20 by means of two successive hot stamping operations
of a first and a second plastic material; the main body 21 of half-shell 20 being
made of a first (rigid) material, and comprising a number of through openings 28
eventually filled with a second (elastic) material to form buttons 50c at through
- (b) forming a second half-shell 30 by means of two successive hot stamping operations
of a first and a second plastic material; the main body 31 of half-shell 30 being
made of a first material; and the recess 37 in main body 31 being filled with a
second plastic material 81 permeable to electromagnetic waves;
- (c) assembling electronic board 40 inside half-shell 20, and fitting first half-shell
20 and second half-shell 30 together mechanically; and
- (d) forming, by means of a further hot stamping operation, a perfectly sealed
joint 60 between first half-shell 20 and second half-shell 30.