From the beginning we soak ourselves in knowledge of the specific category the product is placed. We investigate competitors, technologies, customers, and whatever is necessary to help add value and cement the idea. Research is a never-ending phase, we’ll see it in material and manufacture selection, user centred research, focus groups, product testing etc. A part crucial to keeping the product/system relevant to the current/future world
Over the years we have helped a range of companies and people develop products of all sorts. Being an industrial design company, we must have an open mind and the ability to adapt to each project. Because we are specialists in the process of design and not necessarily the industry the product belongs to, we rely on a few things;
We have been involved in multiple consumer products, many retail projects, commercial fishing, medical, consumer electronics, manufacture design, alcohol industry, engineering projects including small and large mechanical parts to name a few. We have created jigs and moulds for several clients that wanted to streamline their production process. We have also been involved with producing one-off items. No industry is off limits and we pride ourselves in the ability to adapt, learn and apply. Research is one of the skills we don’t take for granted and is what helps create great products.
We must be so in-tune with the current materials and manufacture techniques, so we spend a large portion of our time learning about all the new and current technologies. For this reason and because of the range of products we have been involved in, we have been fortunate enough to have worked with a huge range of materials and processes.
Some of the common metals are: Steel, aluminium, copper, brass, lead, white metal and pewter.
Sheetmetal has been the most common way to use these metals. It starts out with as the name suggests, a large sheet of metal ranging from 0.2mm to 10mm thickness. This is then cut, bent or formed to create the part required. The other most common manufacture method is starting with a block of metal and removing material to form the shape, this is normally done via methods of CNC. These two methods of producing metal parts can be great for low volume parts as generally no tools are required to make the parts. Some of the other methods for creating metal parts are called casting, forming, joining and welding.
Let’s move onto plastics; Nylon, ABS, Polyurethane, Acetyl, Polyethylene and more. Plastics have a range of different manufacture methods, these include but are not limited to: injection moulding, rotational moulding, vacuum forming, vacuum casting, extruding, bending and many more.
Wood is the last of the big three common materials used in developing products. Wood can be used in final production through to making moulds. Fibreglass, concrete, glass, cardboard, speciality boards are not to be forgotten and very often used in thousands of products.
It really does all depend on what the product requires, who knows, maybe we need to develop our own material, which we have done before.
Oh yes we do! It’s a great way to prototype parts super-fast! We have a great in-house FDM 3D printer which prints in a range of rigid and flexible plastics. This allows us to prototype faster and cheaper letting our clients see their ideas come to life in a few days. When prototyping via 3D printing, not only does the design studio and client get to visualize and test the idea fast, but it can turn out more affordable than traditional manufacture methods. Besides our trusty printer, we have partners with larger machines and partners with 3D printers using laser technology. These are really handy when the parts need to be incredibly accurate (0.05mm) and/or are functioning, engineering parts. These printers produce parts so close to the final production part you won’t know the difference. It really does depend on what we’re trying to achieve from using 3D printing and we’ll help explain everything so you can make the best choice.
Also something to consider, using 3D printing as parts in the final product. We are super excited about the potential in this space. This sort of thinking going into the future allows customer and factories to customise parts on the go, stock control and minimal setup costs. This is still a very niche option and for most products, this won’t be an option, still fun to think about for the future.
This is a tough question to answer. In product development there are so many variables which time depends on, our main goal is to move forward consistently. We believe consistency is the key to keeping the project moving forward and allowing the creative process to be successful. If you’re new to product development and design, it’s probably going to take much longer than you think. These processes can take from a few months to a few years, and it depends on so many variables:
This is important part to mention, product development is a process and I’m sure by now you understand things will change along the way. S**t happens and we understand this. Sometimes the client wants to change the direction of the product to help suit the feedback we are getting or wants to add a feature or forgot to tell us an important consideration. It’s totally natural, the only difference from our side is it will add more time which sometimes means more cost. In this case we will listen to what is required and then provide an estimate including the pros and cons to whatever additional change is required. This will help the client make an informed decision.
Each project is unique with different costs associated. The client usually has two costs from us, the design fee and the consumables fee. The design fee is based on using our time/expertise and comes in the form of an hourly rate and/or project fee with the deliverable being research, sketches, designs, drawings etc.. Consumables are anything to do with what we use to manufacture the product, with the deliverables being a prototype, product, production run etc. Let’s expand, as there are a few ways we can setup payments to suit the project:
Using NDA’s, Patent, Design registrations, Copyrights and Contracts. We will expand on this more in the future, any questions give us a shout!