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.

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