One Touch Can Opener. International Design Excellence Awards Gold Winner Case Study

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1 One Touch Can Opener International Design Excellence Awards 2007 Gold Winner Case Study

2 PAGE

3 One Touch Can Opener With sales of over 125 million units each year, the can opener is perhaps the quintessential everyday tool. Since its invention in 1858 many different types of can opener varying in design and operating mechanism have been brought to market leaving what seemed to be limited space for any significant innovation. With no real change in the concept for many years and yet nearly half a representative sample of test users reporting that the strength needed to grip a manual can opener s levers while simultaneously turning the handle was beyond their comfort level, DAKA set out to design a cordless, hands-free can opener that could be easily used by anyone to open a can with the simple touch of a button. The result was a multi award-winning, international best selling product. The Problem For a can opener to cut through a can, it firstly needs to grip the can with a force of approximately 50Kg (100 lbs) and then requires an additional burst of power to actually pierce the can lid. When a person uses a manual can opener, the application of appropriate force is instinctively adjusted until it is sufficient to successfully open the can. To reproduce this in an automatic mechanism is not easy as evidenced by the many electric can openers that still require human force to pierce the lid and start the cutting action. What was needed was a mechanism that could not only walk the cutting blade around the can automatically as many existing automatic can openers do, but one that could also initiate the cutting action without manual intervention. Additionally, for the can opener to be truly automated from start to finish, either a sensor circuit or a timer needed to be included in order to bring the opener to a stop when a full cycle around the can was complete and the can fully opened. Furthermore, the internal mechanism, the motor, power source, gearing, cutting mechanism and timer/sensor circuit needed to be packaged into a user friendly, hand sized unit that would fit neatly into an average kitchen drawer. And finally in order to meet size, efficiency and requisite force criteria, sufficient power needed to be obtained from just two small AA batteries. PAGE 2

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5 The Solution To meet such strict size criteria, maximum function and efficiency was required from a minimum number of parts. To achieve the necessary reduction in parts, value engineering and intense optimization was called for, central to which was the injection moulding process which would enable multiple features and functions to be integrated into each part. Using injection moulding conveniently afforded the creative team together with lead design consultant Mark Sanders of MAS Design Products Ltd., the almost total creative freedom that a project such as this called for. Most of the design goals were indeed met when it was realised that the drive gearing for the powerful cutter could be combined with a geneva mechanism for the timing function using the same parts Through the use of injection molded polymers and high quality multi-cavity molds, the complexity and precision required for each part was achieved. For the internal mechanism, Acetal (plastic polyoxymethylene) was chosen for its rigidity and durability as well as its ability to reduce friction. Choosing Acetal also eliminated the necessity for separate bearings, allowing the part count to be reduced even further. The result was a unique (and patented) mechanism, made of just 3 parts. Several functions being integrated into each part which can generate the necessary 50 Kg force, provide the timing function and still be efficient enough to open over 100 cans with just one set of AA batteries. PAGE

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7 The Design In the early stages of design, several concepts were developed and full size mock-ups were tested and compared to a variety of existing can openers. A test panel of people representing various different user groups and consumer segments was created specifically to assess and refine each concept. Including fit and young people, left handed people, senior citizens, and people with limited manual dexterity. The test panel was an invaluable source of real life insights from real people. The testers found that almost all existing can openers had unwanted features stemming from a focus on ease of manufacture, rather than ease of use. They highlighted elements of early mockups that made the shape more unattractive or introduced dirt traps. They also highlighted just how surprisingly influential aesthetics are. At first, mock-ups whose physical appearance suggested the can opener functioned better were chosen over those prototype openers that actually did function better - a clear signal that the key to creating the ultimate can opener lay in the combination of superior functionality and attractive design. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leonardo Da Vinci In understanding the significance of this combination, the internal mechanism was actually developed alongside the product s overall shape. In fact, bearing in mind the importance that design would clearly play in the product s success, even the appearance of the internal details was carefully considered so that a semi-transparent version of the final can opener could made that would be attractive. With the number of parts down to a bare minimum and with the comments of the test panel in mind, unsightly features were then eliminated from the design; the can opener s cutter and drive wheels were made to retract when not in use which also meant the potential for any user injury was minimised, and access to the batteries and cutting mechanism for cleaning was simplified and streamlined by splitting the unit into two halves which could be easily slid apart. The final shape was one inspired by the natural form of a water-smoothed pebble which compared to the sharp edges and even sharper blades of traditional can openers proved altogether more inviting to the touch. PAGE

8 Conclusion Good design neither needs to be nor should be exclusive and whilst it is often harder to simplify design yet at the same time achieve affordability, the resulting product benefits many more people as evidenced by the One Touch Can Opener s success. Although obviously offering greater real life benefit to some users than others, the One Touch Can Opener has proven highly popular with all audiences. Household buyers like its sleek design and the convenience of a small, battery-operated but powerful opener. Parents praise its safety consciousness. Left handed people find the One Touch Can Opener indispensable, as do those without the manual strength to initiate an opener s cutting action. The runaway success of the One Touch can opener - over 7 million units have been sold to date - pointed to the overwhelming market potential for simple, smart, handheld kitchen appliances that address practical needs with style. From this core concept and following the same philosophy, a whole family of products has been developed under a new One Touch brand including a jar opener and a wine bottle opener amongst others. PAGE 7

9 One Touch Automatic Can Opener Simply place the Can Opener on top of the can and press the button. The opener walks around the can and switches itself off. Remove the can s lid. PAGE 8

10 ABOUT THE AUTHORS Pat Mah The brains behind One Touch, Daka founder and executive chairman Pat Mah is fueled by a passion for innovation and a personal mission to produce high-quality products. There have been attempts to develop a better can opener, but never a completely No-Hands operation like One Touch. Mark Sanders Mark Sanders is a mechanical engineer who saw the light (that style does matter!) so retrained as a designer at the RCA in London. Now working as Designer and Inventor he specialises in combining structural and mechanical engineering with industrial design, and especially elegant, affordable, folding and dynamic products. ABOUT DAKA Founded in 1993, Daka is an award-winning design and development company from Hong Kong. Daka designs, develops and markets innovative products for the global consumer market via established and well-know brands. Daka is a leader in applying technology to consumer products and has developed a strong intellectual property portfolio, which the company leverages to develop and plan its product roadmap of next generation, innovative consumer products. ABOUT IDEA The International Design Excellence Awards are dedicated to fostering business and public understanding of the importance of industrial design excellence to the quality of life and the economy. Winning the IDEA is a distinction like no other that brands a design as the very best in the business, among peers, among clients and among consumers around the world. IDSA is the voice of industrial design, committed to advancing the profession through education, information, community and advocacy. For more information about IDEA, please refer to PAGE

11 Disclaimer and Notice With respect to the wordings, graphics, drawings, information and data provided in the Case Study ( Information and Data ), all reasonable efforts are made to ensure that the Information and Data provided are correct. However, Daka Research Inc. disclaims all implied and/or express warranties and makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of the Information and Data. The Daka Research Inc. takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for the content of Information and Data, including without limitation any mistake, error, omission, infringement, defamation, falsehood, or other material or omission that might offend or otherwise give rise to any claim or complaint. The Daka Research Inc. will in no circumstances be liable to any user of the Information and Data for any loss or damage caused by a user s reliance on the Information and Data or in any way connected with access to or use of the Information and Data. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the accuracy or completeness of the Information and Data. The user hereby acknowledges that the Information and Data are protected by copyright. Any user is prohibited from copying, extracting, adopting, modifying or distributing any content on the Information and Data ( Disposal ) unless (i) a duly notification of Disposal by the user is communicated to the Daka Research Inc.; and (ii) the user agrees and undertakes to the Daka Research Inc. that a sufficient acknowledgement of Daka Research Inc. s copyright of Information, including but not limited to an explicit and clear citation or indication of Daka Research Inc. s copyright on or at any time of Disposal. Daka Research Inc. shall have an absolute discretion on the decision of the satisfaction as stipulated in (ii). The Information and Data are protected by Copyright Ordinance (Cap 528) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and remains the property of the Daka Research Inc. The use of the Information and Data is subject to our Disclaimer. PAGE 10

12 CONTACTS Giovanni Zangrande Marketing Director Tel: Fax: / 2007 Daka Research Inc. All Right Reserved.

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