How we integrated custom aesthetics for 3 great flex arm product designs
A custom aesthetic is something every designer has to consider when developing a product. While functionality and durability will always be the most important parts of a design, it’s important to remember that an end-user is going to care about how a product looks and feels. This is doubly true when you consider that many products exist within the established ecosystem of a brand — they will often have to adhere to criteria to make it look and feel like other devices in their product line.
Established brands have different needs than startups, but the general idea is the same — custom aesthetics are important, and we need to find solutions so that their products look and feel the way they want them to. We thought it might be fun to take a closer look at some products we’ve developed with clients, giving you an inside sneak peek into how we collaborate with designers and engineers.
SproutsIO: A sleek and clean custom aesthetic
Restaurants and consumers often want to grow their own herbs and vegetables from seedbeds under controlled conditions. This creates more vibrant flavors and helps them control freshness. The problem is that hydroculture technology uses lamps that need to be able to work in a small space and maintain the ability to be precisely placed. SproutsIO solved this problem with a dual section arm that is able to be adjusted with precision to exact points that lead to the best outcomes for those plants
Sprouts IO needed their product to look great, but they also needed the device to be cleaned easily and effectively because it would be used in the foodservice industry. That meant finding a covering material that helped facilitate could meet some pretty strenuous demands. This meant they also needed the gooseneck to meet intense length and size dimensions for their overmolding process to work correctly. We helped them create a fitting design that could handle the extreme high-pressure overmolding process without any overmold material seepage. The end result was a beautiful product that functioned the way they needed it to AND wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end kitchen.
Creating the custom aesthetic for the G.E. Carestation 620 Anesthesia Delivery System
GE is a worldwide multinational billion-dollar corporation with segments in the aviation, power, and healthcare industries (among a ton of others). They needed help designing the GE Carestation 620 Anesthesia Delivery System for an open architecture device that would provide an optimized system for low and minimal flow anesthesia. We provided a flex arm that held the anesthesia reservoir bag wherever it was most comfortable and accessible for the anesthesiologist.
GE had several criteria to make sure that the look of each component adhered to their aesthetic guidelines. They needed a custom color and finish that matched the color scheme of their machine. They also needed some pretty sophisticated CNC fittings. Additionally, there were some challenges as it was also important to GE that the diameter of the flex arm component appear robust, but still have an easy-to-flex component so it could be adjusted with one hand.
We’re really proud of how this one turned out. The CNC fittings required revisions, but getting it exactly right meant that no hardware would be exposed in the surgical suite. We matched a PANTONE color card with a matte finish on the outer covering material to ensure that the 620 would look like one device, not a bunch of separate components. Finally, the flex arm was supple enough for easy adjustments but strong enough to stay exactly where it needed to. We were able to accomplish all of these goals while making sure that this product could adhere to the aesthetic demands that GE had laid out for us. That was crucial so that it could exist seamlessly within the ecosystem of other GE medical devices.
Working with Wieland Furniture to create an entirely new type of product
Hillrom, who we work with often, referred one of their furniture developers to us. Wieland Healthcare Furniture had a concept of a new patient room sleeper sofa/couch that had a reading light attached to us. When they contacted us, they had a series of lights that they had already been looking at, but needed a more dependable quality — and wanted US manufacturing if possible. This was important to Wieland because they didn’t want to source a product that wouldn’t be available in just a few short years.
This was a big project for us. We’d never done a custom LED light like this before. The product had to hold up to thorough cleaning procedures AND be durable enough to handle abuse from the general public. We developed a custom mounting base that interfaced with basic furniture construction materials like wood, vinyl, or fabric. That required using our 3D printer to create several different designs to get the form, fit, and function right before we purchased tooling for injection molded parts.
We also developed a bulb retainer that would keep the bulb in place, but still would look great and adhere to the aesthetic standard which was represented in their concept artwork. That meant incorporating specific color and surface finishes into the tooling fixtures for those molded parts. The results were fantastic. We met Wieland’s goals and expanded our skillset at the same time — a win-win! That’s the power of great engineering.
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We’re here to provide you the expertise and flex arm options that you’ll need to make sure that your device becomes the best possible version of itself. That doesn’t stop after production. We’re here for the lifetime of your device.