Design For Manufacture User Centred Design FDA Food Rating
Sector: Consumer products
The Design Challenge
Design a versatile home/cafe barista tool to shake up the hot chocolate market!
Al Garnsworthy of The Chocolate Society discovered that by shaking up quality chocolate and not just stirring it, you can create an ultra smooth and exceptionally tasty hot chocolate drink. The only problem with this method is the spray of hot liquid when you open your container.
Not to be deterred and identifying a great opportunity to expand his existing product line, Al asked us to join him in his onsite kitchen in Somerset where we very willingly tried his experimental new hot chocolate drinks.
Think cocktail shakers! Think theatre! Think of the best hot chocolate ever! Seeking an easy to use, easy to clean and most importantly fun container that was more James Bond than the local corner shop, Al had found it and he wanted to bring it to his customers.
As exceptional Chocolatiers based in rural countryside, the company had already established itself with an enviable reputation as producers of fresh chocolate truffles, caramels and chocolate bars. Taking the next steps in their business with a physical product would help elevate their market position further.
Recognising a key challenge for designing a vessel to contain hot drinks was the necessity of overcoming the expansion of hot air and increased pressure, especially during shaking and Al sought the expertise of the Realise Team.
Our Design Solutions
Several design routes were explored on paper, thinking through the various mechanisms that could be used to combat the main issue of increased pressure within the vessel, as well as many aesthetic directions to find the perfect fit for The Chocolate Society’s brand.
Exploring a cap that would automatically ‘pop’ to accommodate the expansion of air when shaking hot liquid, the team calculated the increase in air volume required (driven by guideline fill levels) to ensure that all designs were feasible from the outset. Coupled with identifying a suitable silicon material, Santoprene TPR, offered the required flexibility, repeatability and thermal resistance properties early on in the development process to ensure performance risks were minimised quickly.
Seeking a modern and premium looking product that was also safe to use was also high on requirements list.
Replicating double-walled glass in food-grade Tritan plastic the team created a design that utilises a natural air gap that prevents the container getting too hot or cold. This also allows the user to still see the contents internally without the obstruction of a silicon grip or heat shield, and minimise the number of parts to be assembled.
Producing a number of prototypes internally proved critical, allowing the team to continuously test the performance of the product throughout its development, looking specifically at pouring, expansion of the vessel, heat transfer and thread performance. Keeping an eye on manufacture costs was essential to The Chocolate Society to ensure that it was not only a viable product to manufacture, but also cost sensitive to the end customer.
These iterative prototypes also enabled the opportunity to have early conversations with manufacturing partners to address costs and design improvements. Ensuring that the product functioned as expected before the customer invested in higher cost visual aids and high end prototypes for investor pitches and user testing also reduces project risk.
As with all of our projects, Al and the team at The Chocolate Society were kept in close collaboration throughout the whole product development cycle.
This was to ensure that they remained in control of the direction of the end product, whilst at the same time we were able to share our own knowledge to ensure the best outcome for their business. This also included advice for their Kickstarter campaign which ultimately gained the backing of over 1600 people.
On completion of all final prototype testing and agreeing the correct material selection in accordance with FDA Approvals, Realise generated all required technical documentation for the shakers two part enclosure, ready for handover to the selected manufacturer.
It was very important to The Chocolate Society to keep manufacture within the UK. Although this comes at an increased price point, it meant that Al and the Team were much more involved in the manufacturing process and could therefore personally inspect first-off parts much more easily than with an overseas manufacturer.
Initially, final production involves a lot of process optimisation to begin producing parts of an ideal quality. Sometimes tooling modifications are also required to reach a perfect functional/aesthetic blend, an area that Realise is an expert in.
Realise have the ability to introduce customers to manufacturing partners and oversee production runs and in this case the product was ultimately injection moulded by a company in the South of England.
The Hot Chocolate Shaker has gone on to become a big success at The Chocolate Society, winning rave reviews in the media and online.
So what are you waiting for, head on over to their website and then throw in your favourite chocolate bar, and maybe a cheeky tipple and give it a shake!