Five teams, market researchers, industrial designers, product development engineers, toolmakers and production blow moulders, worked on this investigation. The client wanted to reduce their one-year product development period to ten days. The product was a new detergent. Our involvement was the development of the bottle containing this detergent.
Market researchers determined the needs and expectations of a certain market group. It was presented to the industrial designers who made five conceptual designs. Three of these designs were finalized and the industrial designer groups produced 3D CAD models. The data was send with the aid of FTP from the industrial designer’s office, 90 km away.
Two of the most popular designs were selected and I was involved in producing one prototype using FDM rapid prototyping technology. The other prototype was produced by SLA rapid prototyping technology. Prototypes were hand finished and painted according to the market requirements. Prototypes were presented to the market for feedback and approval.
The next step was to design the blow moulding tooling for the bottle and the injection moulded tooling for the cap. Once completed, I was responsible to produce the CNC tool paths for the bottle blow moulds. Tool paths or CNC programs were transferred to the toolmaker via FTP as well. Tool path files were huge and took time to process and transfer.
Initial downloading was not successful due to the CNC high-speed milling
machine not being connected to the LAN. The first program had to
be zipped onto several microfloppies and then unzipped onto the PC drip
feeding the CNC milling machine. Once edited the tool path was used
to cut the first bottle cavity.
Several CNC tool paths or programs were made to complete this project. Once completed, everybody assisted in hand polishing the moulds.
The project was completed in 11 days, from conceptual design to 1st-off tooling samples.