What’s That?: Rotomolded Upper Section of Parking Meter

It’s a sickness, I know it is…

I’m walking down the street with some friends in Portland, OR. I’m there attending the IDSA International Conference and I notice the parking meters… Nothing really out of the ordinary. “Nice, clean design” I think as my eye traces the lines of the human-statue-sized meter that line the streets. I ‘m draw to how everything fits together to make up a complete product. I notice where the parts meet, how they match up, the radii, the different materials… What a minute: that upper section’s rotomolded

While the bulk of the meter is constructed of painted metal castings, the upper section–the one that holds the solar panel (of course this thing is solar-powered, this is Portland), is rotationally molded plastic. There are several styles of these meters throughout the city and it’s difficult to tell if these are retrofits or part of the original design to use rotomolding for this upper section. I suspect that perhaps it was easier to bolt in the relatively light solar panel and run the wires through the hollow part and doing something more complex out if metal. Also (this is pure conjecture), rotomolding might have provided a way to add some visual interest to the meter where to part cost and tooling was less expensive using this process. But, again, that’s just a guess…

I’d love to hear the story behind the design of this thing.  I actually found some information about it here, in the form of a “Green Purchasing Case Study.” According to the study, these SmartMeters have a 10-watt solar panel and cost about $7500 each.  Parkeon and Cale manufacturers the SmartMeter, but I can;t find any additional information about them. If anyone has the inside scoop, I’d love to hear about it.

I told you it was a sickness…

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1 Response to “What’s That?: Rotomolded Upper Section of Parking Meter”


  1. 1 Andrew Polich January 14, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    This is great information on the parking meters. I’m doing some research for my solar blog and couldn’t find a damn thing on them!


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