The steps for a winning product design
The first step in starting a new project is always the collection of specifications; it is an indispensable phase to align our work with the needs of the customer and the product to be developed.
Before starting the design development we shared these key points:
- Internal dimensions of the machine.
- List of components with relative operating specifications and any housing preferences.
- Main system requirements:
- Touch and orientable display.
- Smooth surfaces to facilitate cleaning operations as much as possible.
- Visible signaling elements for displaying the status of the machine.
- Production materials resistant to sanitizer.
- Insertion of two nozzles for dispensing the sanitizer.
- Easy to carry
- Compatibility for use in industrial environments.
After collecting these specifications, our product designer Giovanni Annese began the study of the aesthetic proposals.
This step generally involves the study of 3 aesthetic proposals in which different materials and production technologies are taken into consideration in compliance with the operating specifications and the hypothesized productions.
This step usually takes three weeks.
Each aesthetic proposal is accompanied by photorealistic renderings to better share the choices made by the designer and focus on the details of operation.
Among the 3 proposals, the choice was dictated first of all by simple shapes.
In the conception and development of the design we have given maximum care and attention to the shared needs and objectives:
- linear shapes to facilitate cleaning operations.
- maximum ergonomic expression in relation to use and transport.
- forms designed for predictive maintenance.
Immediately after the presentation of the proposals, we accepted some changes and additions to the main choice, taking inspiration from the other solutions.
The introduction of a top light element on the machine and optimization of the display and handle area.
Design validation with a working prototype
Our experience teaches us that to validate a project and move on to the next engineering phase it is always useful, very often even necessary, to create a prototype to have a real vision of the product.
Thanks to rapid prototyping and milling operations, we have created a working prototype used to present Zherox® to the sales force and analyze all the details of the developed system in real life.
Our workshop is equipped with the best 3D printing technologies and conventional workshop processing.
This aspect is a resource in terms of optimizing prototyping times and choosing the most suitable processes and materials for the tests to be carried out.
In particular, on this project we have made several prototypes to validate the ergonomics, size, operation of the entire instrument in the central body and some details on the accessory parts of the display, handles, diffusers and light body.
- central body: for the first prototype it was made in ureol by CNC machining to ensure the tightness of the structure; subsequently in polystyrene and for the third prototype in stereolithography;
- display and handles: on these parts we have chosen stereolithography to have smooth surfaces to be painted;
- retractable diffusers and light body: in stereolithography also transparent to simulate the area as per final production;
Thanks to the tests carried out on the prototypes, important decisions were made for the development of the product such as the resizing of the central body and the correct positioning and housing of the accessory parts on the body.
This phase consists in the 3D CAD design of the individual parts that make up the machine starting from the aesthetic surfaces defined in the previous steps.
3D files are released in STEP format suitable for the management, even independently, of the prototyping phases and the subsequent design of production equipment.
Also at this stage we have created a prototype to validate the choices shared during the development of the design and start the engineering of the final proposal.
For this project we also followed the design and production of the definitive production equipment for plastic molding.
We have made 8 plastic injection molds for ABS or PC; on some molds we have chosen submarine injection and hot nozzle to ensure the high standard of quality of the pieces in terms of aesthetic finish and molding quality.
Some parts are made of milling and sheet metal.
A really interesting and challenging project also and above all for the nature of the product, innovative and very successful.