The client is a well-known UK designer and manufacturer of lightweight exhibition systems. The design brief was to create a new product that could hold large, rigid graphic display panels, to be used within the client’s well established lightweight frame system. The product needed to be easy to use for those setting up the display and it needed to be retro fitted and removed from the frame system quickly and without taking apart any of the frame itself.
Communication with the client including use of sketching enabled both sides to fully understand the parameters affecting the project. It was particularly important to understand implications of physically fitting and removing the panel. This meant that the design would require a removable piece to allow the panel to fit in. The parts of the panel clamp would be assembled and disassembled many times and needed to be solid and robust. To achieve the strength required from a part which simply pushed and clicked together HPDL had to utilize expertise in mouldings to create “shut off” features on one part which the other could slide into and click in place. The click helped to provide the user with tactile feedback. To hold the graphics panel a thumbscrew was used. The client requested that this was captive, and that it could not become separate from the product. This prevented users from misplacing parts and was achieved by using a specialised fastener in such a way that permanently retained the part without immobilizing it. Therefore, the thumbscrew was still able to rotate and to function as a clamp.
HPDL used the design to arrange for a batch of prototypes that could be tested. These were assembled and delivered to the client. Once feedback had been incorporated HPDL completed the design, so it was suitable for production. This provided the Clients preferred manufacturer with all the information that they would need to understand and manufacture the product. Because communication was also maintained with the manufacturer during the project this helped to ensure that the design could be handed over with relative ease.
A few weeks later HPDL and the client were able to review initial samples of production parts from the manufacturer. Continuous communication and a clear specification had allowed the first sample to achieve nearly all the requirements needed for a fully realised production product. Together with the client advice for making improvements such as surface finish and texture was compiled and discussed with the manufacturer to complete the project.