Folding and Locking Mechanisms for Graco-Teutonia
When it comes to child safety, engineering really cannot take a back seat.
Teutonia is a leading high-end brand and a European cousin of Newell's brand Graco. Playing at such a high level means their products must perform better than any competitor, and that’s no easy claim.
Durability is paramount. It directly affects users’ perception of value and is also the key to safety. Neither of which can be compromised. But far from being Uber-engineered, these products also need to be incredibly lightweight. Therein lies the challenge, how do we create something so durable and safe but still weigh-in like a featherweight?
Agile, Iterative Process
Doing a comprehensive teardown of existing products is a great place to start, particularly as they already pass the safety tests. Capturing observations on production methods, assembly and materials, we map it out against potential issues and ideas. Our engineers then roll up their sleeves and create multiple sketched solutions for each area before zooming out to look at the entire assembly holistically. Having this macro-micro perspective within agile scrums is an excellent method to find the less obvious ideas.
CAD sketches lead to prototypes, which in turn lead to further CAD models. This iterative process continues until we meet all the goals we set out in the initial review, and address those new ones that came up along the way.
Cherry-picking Talent around the world.
Our engineering team is dispersed across all five studios, but that doesn’t stop them from closely collaborating. This is an important function for us. We have a huge advantage in that we can cherry-pick the best engineers and designers for each project from all our five studios. Our engineers keep constant contact with each other using online screen-sharing and simple video capture, and often the time difference gives us a 24-hour workday.
Soft Goods Design
Designing soft goods is a specialist area, one that we’ve come to know and love through the years. Teutonia uses very durable but comfortable materials, and the key to their longevity is to reduce seams and folds to a minimum and avoid areas of friction or unnecessary tension where fabric could wear down over time. Designing the right synergy between hard, lightweight substrates and durable fabrics is an art in itself, and an engineering challenge we always welcome.