After many years of market success with their original mini plunge saw, Westfalia engaged Whistle to help develop the new version from concept sketch through to production-ready CAD. With many new feature requests including a digital display, digital speed settings, and ambidextrous control locations, Whistle worked closely with Westfalia and their manufacturing partners to successfully achieve their desired feature list with cost effective design solutions.
The outcome is an innovative, modern adaptation of the product that is visually appropriate for the Westfalia brand and German market.
See more at Westfalia. Photos: Westfalia.net.
Product testing, user feedback, a market review and our experience within the power tool industry enabled us to identify a number opportunities for design improvement. Grip size and feel, location of controls, guard use and safety, number of parts, aesthetic design and branding were some important areas identified for improvement. Whistle facilitated a ‘Cloud-based’ Product Design Specification (PDS) that was easily accessible for key stakeholders in Germany, Hong Kong, China and Australia. This PDS became a collaborative, working document to set the key requirements throughout project.
In this stage we considered all the product requirements, opportunities for improvements, new ideas and brought them together visually through many sketch concepts and eventually a refined concept presentation. The final concept offered improved product ergonomics through – reduced grip diameter, over-moulded grip area, easy read & quick adjust depth gauge, and a live tool indication light. Importantly, Whistle illustrated a new design language that was to be an evolution of the existing Westfalia saw. The proposed design language offered a conservative form, with dynamic colour breakup and improved branding areas that could form part of Westfalia’s product DNA for future projects.
Detail design begun with an initial focus on ergonomics around the grip area. Block prototypes were used early on to test and verify geometry around the grip and control area. Whistle encouraged the sourcing of a new drive motor which led to significant reduction in overall grip diameter.
Whistle worked with Wesfalia’s suppliers to complete the 3D detail design in Solidworks for:
1 Key mechanical components – including: Flip down guard for easy blade change, actuation of electronic interlock to disable power during blade change, guard plunge guide lock release, On/off trigger, mounting method for parallel cutting guide, separate pipe cutting guide.
2 Plastic housings and over-mould with a particular focus on the quality of all exterior surfaces.
3 Arrangement of PCB to ensure compact size (in discussion with Westfalia’s German-based electronic design team).
Evaluation of grip forms and display angles.
External surface development and internal feature detailing in Solidworks.
Whistle supplied a complete set of 3D design files for handover to the manufacturer and 2D drawings documenting colour and finish specifications.
Westfalia commissioned a number of pre-production prototypes, and Whistle provided design support and feedback to ensure the design was optimised prior to commencement of tooling.
To assist with protection of Westfalia’s intellectual property, Whistle supplied images for use in international design registration & patent documents. Whistle also provided photo-realistic, computer-generated imagery to support Westfalia’s marketing efforts.
PRODUCT ON SALE OCTOBER 2015. Congratulations to Westfalia on the release of their latest innovative new product!
Photos: westfalia.net. More here.