Furnishings case study - Baby mug
Eric explains the process of designing a baby mug for a well-known brand as Tous, as well as for a target as special as children: what are the phases that followed, what must be taken into account to respect the corporate identity of the brand and above all, the design changes arising from the needs of babies.
Eric Conejo LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericconejotejada/
Product designer and industrial engineer
Product design and industrial engineering at Elisava Escuela Universitaria de Diseño e Ingeniería de Barcelona (Elisava School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona).
Interest in digital modelling and additive technologies
The need to make prototypes, especially in the professional field. For large scale production, you have to run a test first and see how it will look.
Use of digital technologies
Almost 100% of projects.
Julia Koerner: an award-winning Austrian designer who works on the convergence of architecture, product, and fashion design. She is recognised internationally for innovation in 3D printing design. Julia’s work is on the cutting edge of these disciplines.
Initial goal and problem
In this case study Eric explains the process of designing a product externally for an internationally known brand, Tous.
There were several challenges and to solve them we used 3D printing. One of them was these baby cups. Before producing them we made a 3D print.
Our target was babies six months and older.
Problem to solve
The problem we wanted to solve was the baby's transition learning to drink from a bottle to a cup.
The solution we expected was to make that transition as easy as possible and that the product was light, ergonomic, soft...
One of the biggest limitations was material for babies. You have to be especially careful and on your toes since you have to be very careful with your target.
Another of the limitations you always have to take into account is time. Lots of customers give you very tight deadlines and they're very hard to meet.
When you work with another brand, you have to keep their rules in mind, you have to follow those rules, their branding, colours, etc.
You also have to think that this product has to sell and you have to set the product’s final price: if it isn't affordable, the end customer won't buy it from you.
Sources of inspiration
You always have to analyse the competition a bit, see what they’re manufacturing and, once you've seen what they do, bring something new to the table.
First we did a 3D print with filaments, then we did a sintered print, and then we produced the final mould, testing with other materials.
Tools and materials
The tools used were a 3D printer and the materials were PLA and ABS filaments - ABS is more rigid than PLA. Then we used polyamide for the sintered print and polypropylene and silicone for the final product.
Problems when prototyping
One of the basic problems we had with the project was the ergonomics, and that the baby couldn't hurt itself. We saw that if the handles were open they could hurt themselves so in the end we ended up connecting the tab. Since they were six months or a bit older, their hand might not fit but they could stick a finger in and it’d be easier to hold the cup.
The use of 3D resources was pretty simple. We had resources in the company to make some simple prints and then when we made more complex prototypes, we brought in outside companies to make those prints or sintered versions.
In the company we had machines like the one in the picture that really limit you when you're making prototypes of a certain size. They allow you to make miniatures to see the project physically but the size and material just isn’t the same. For the final project, you sent it out to other companies that work with another kind of filament or even resins, sintered with powders, and that have a bunch of different printers.
The technique used for the end solution was a mould, in the video you can see the parting line and the three points of injection of the material.
Initially, the cup was transparent, but you could see the points of injection. For the end solution, we decided the cup would be white and we used different colours for the lids.
We didn’t continue with the 3D printing for the end product since industrial production with injection moulds and a lid with silicone moulds was more profitable because it was a large scale order.
The assembly of the final production was 100% automated, both to join the lid to the cup and to produce the packaging. Putting the cup in the packaging was 100% manual.
We did reach our product goal and the customer was satisfied. If the customer isn't satisfied in the end, that means the product is no good.
The project was advertised by the brand on its website and at its brick and mortar shops.
Distribution and sales
The product has been sold at the shops the brand has and on its website. It can also be purchased at other shops that distribute the Tous brand or shops with products for young children.
Impact on the market
It had a positive impact on the brand's loyal customers because even though Tous is a well-known brand of jewellery these mothers are loyal to the brand and want their children to have the products from an early age.