Technology Blog!

As part of the technology class this morning, were in small group we did a practical exercise that contained assembling and disassembling the crocodile clip. Which allowed us to see the components in detail and master the process of assembly process in factories.

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Video link of assembling and disassembling the clip-

Comments as a group were made of:

  • Spring being to tough
  • Plastic pin cracking
  • Difficult to slide out the teeth
  • Hooking the spring rod
  • Fitting the female part
  • Terminal being further inside
  • Dent at the back as a locking system
  • Couple mints of assembly each way

Cost price of the current clip

Unit price- 55 cent

Part in china

Spring –US 6cent/ NZ 73 cent

Stainless steal – US 6 cent /NZ 73 cent

Plastic part- NZ 10-15 cent each

Axel – NZ 2 cent

Total parts – 3.91 -4.91

Add on labour cost- THE MOST CRITICAL FACTOR

Week two back at university: Investigate/ Generate

This weeks been the generate phase of the active component project, were Monday was a morning spent going through different methods of media used to communicate arrange of ideas through medias. That was followed by an insightful power point presentation by Oliver.

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To narrow down the ideation phase an opportunity statement had raised to help condense towards the more detail areas of the crocodile clip.

Where I see an opportunity for the crocodile clip, for active components to mass produce the clip, particularly in the phase of the handle area grip and the teeth of the clips that wrap around the battery leads and fence wires, for the agriculture environment and end users.

Manufacturing of the energiser clips

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Consideration of manufacturing methods

Electric fence and battery energiser clips

This booklet below of Gallagher’s animal management, demonstrates a diagram and a few examples of the environments of how the electrical fence and energiser clips that it would be used for.

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Competitors and company’s

Researching into the companies and competitors which Active Components is contributed with, which came across with the first question of why farmers firstly use electrical fencing.

The companies below provide equipment for energisers, management equipment, permanent and temporary fencing equipment.

Tru-Test group is supplied by-

  • Stafix
  • Pel
  • Speedrite
  • Pel
  • Patriot
  • Hayes

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Gallagher

Active Components

Retail suppliers

  • RD1
  • Farmsland
  • PGG Wrightson

To further understand the end users clearly I did a back ground research online to see what the NZ farmers are all about and do, I gathered that:

-It’s a dirty and muddy environment- which means clips are preferred to be large and easy to handle

-The farmers also wear gloves often when working out on the farm- therefore the hand sizes are quite large

-Colours of the equipment need to be visible n the farm

-Clips need to maintain there shape when stomped by animals

– Hours that farmers work around are early mornings and late afternoon

-Job contains to move around from job to job, therefore needs to access the clip easily to transfer between fences.

-Rough usage of equipment by the end users

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After the trip I also further analysed the conditions I will have to design for, which involved-

Extreme weather conditions

Muddy

Wet conditions

Hot weather

Sun and rain

Tru-Test Trip and active Components visit

On the Wednesday morning a trip was made to the Tru-test centre, were insights were gathered about the products and but for so focused on the crocodile clip that I am redesigning for this project that are linked to the electrical fencing system and the energizers.

As a small part of the role play exercise the centre had a mini farm set up with their product range. Which I felt was a great way to communicate in terms of the way and how there end usage of the product.

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A difficulty faced as part of the current clip is the assembly in the lead is difficult and time consuming to connect to metal male part is located further deep of the clip. That requires a specific tool to fit the lead. Were Time is consumed that add up more towards the money in labour and could be simplified.

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Over the week I’ve managed to do some rough sketches just to get those initial ideas down while on the research investigate phase and can see the possibility to expand this concepts further down the track. Something I have faced during the week is trying to generate an idea that is much rather linked out from the more so traditional peg like concept. This has been a challenge as the early part of the idea generating cycle, but I’m willing to expand and go beyond to look for further possibilities.

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The images collected at the bottom are simple aspect that can be incorporated into my designs. After some simple hunting around the house to inspire me. Even though these products aren’t energiser clip but enhance the similar idea and function as the energiser clip.

concept clips

The following week needs to be more focused towards the idea of generating more ideas and exploring the materials and process investigation.

Week two: Investigate (mid semester break)

Spending time based on some initial analysis based of the brief, to gain further understanding about the project. The mid semester break has been basically the start of the investigate phase of the project. Were I could utilise the spare time due to no class during the week allowing me to get around place to do a field trip and market research, that is already available to the consumers.

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Rob from Active Components had brought along the same crocodile clips as examples to see visually, but also the different type of use of material used to manufacture the them, where the lower grade from chine at a cheap rate, costing around 12c each, with the use of lower quality materials, such as PVC plastic with no UV protection (plastic colour fades) and a brittle grade steel.

Were as the higher quality clip (that are manufactured by Active Components), made from ABS with UV protection and stainless steel.

Although these crocodile clip have an issue with the insertion for the wire into the clip itself is further down in the terminal are deep inside the clip, which requires a special tool to insert the part, which increases the labour expense of the product.

Other key aspects to consider:

-Teeth on the terminals and hold in place with the battery

-Ergonomics

-Function (still consider aesthetics)

-Strain relief for the clips (20kg)

-Assembly time

The product that will be designed is to be used in conjunction with electrical fencing. As part of the investigation aspect to gain a better understanding I made a trip towards Pukekohe. Where I got the opportunity to speak to couple of local farmers and visit their farm area and see how and where exactly these electrical fences are used. Were I was exposed to the environment the product will be used around and the conditions.But before the trip to the farm I had done some research to see why farmers use the product in the first place.

Because these pulses are commonly referred to as a ‘shock’ felt by the animal, that is a psychological barrier that the animals learn to respect the fence. Along with the benefits of animal safety, lower cost, ease of construction, flexibility and long life.

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These electrical fences can be permanent and portable, however they work all the same and functions the same. The farm that I had access to was a permanent-fencing farm. This electrical fencing tool is appropriate aspect for farmers to control their livestock and fencing them off with their feeding grounds and area.

My trip to Pukekohe where I was able to get a hold of a local farmer John in Pukekohe town and was able to go with John back to his farm, and see how the electrical fences are used in real life. John had one of the permanent fences on his farm either ruined by the battery or through his mains.The way john clipped the crocodile clips were facing down, so it was an easily movement and had more contact of the lead with the teeth.

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During my time in Pukekohe I had also decided to visit the farm supply stores, since these stores would have the correct farming equipment and there was a possibility of running into a local farmer in the store, were I was able to inquire general aspects of the pegs and gather some insights of the end users. The stores I ended up visiting in the town were farmlands, RD1 and PGG Wrightson.

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In order to come up with new idea I had decided to visit stores such as Briscos, Super cheap and Repco for inspiration to help think out side of the peg principal concept of the crocodile clips. So I did a little brainstorm with all the pieces I collected from the trip to help me generate ideas for the crocodile clip.

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One concept of the spring that stood out for me was the tea strainer aspect of a simple wire that was loped at the end. What my design needs to contains after gathering knowledge and insights:

  • Product needs to be weather proof
  • Light weight
  • Easy to operate
  • Must be ergonomically design
  • Consider aesthetics

Going back into university next week, I want to continue with research but forces more towards the material characteristics. Also do a bit of a general practical thinking of the hand ergonomic before I generate ideas, which will be helpful to apply to the clips designed for farmers.

Design for Mass production- initiate.

This week we were exposed to a new brief, which was presented differently compared to the other structured assignments. I’ve slightly felt this huge workload based on the manufacturing designed concept of industrial design.

As part of this project for studio, I will be working and designing for a new Zealand company called ‘Active Components’, who are a distributor and manufacturer of a electrical components, the supply domestically and internationally. As the active components also supplies components to Trutest and Gallagher, that are there main clients. As part of mass production of Activive components, manufactured international but assembly happens locally in Manukau and Invercargill, which is the most costly part of manufacturing.

The brief for the next six-week for the project requires to design a electrical component for outdoor farming product that Active Components would be distributing to the clients, such as Trutest and Gallagher.

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Assumption mapping exercise as a class.

Notes collected during the exercise based on issues and criteria marked for the project.

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The criteria to cover during the project is to mass manufacturing with the most minimal cost. But to produce quality products to there clients.
The task is to design a connecter for outdoor products, an energiser with standard 12 volt car battery source together
Able to connect to two lead poles
A 3mm standard cable with a ring socket soldered
Connection distance has to overcome a distance of 1.8m making the product flexible
Outdoor environment usage
Easy assembly, with a leas amount of time using the appropriate mass production method.

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This might me the most challenging projects I would of possibly come across as a industrial design student. But the next phase of the project my aim is to start investigating and looking into the market, looking at the exiting product in its environment and insights from user interviews. To gain better understanding to design the product.