QJS is an independent British manufacturer of systems and equipment that help food processors attain and sustain exceptional levels of hygiene, protect their brands and achieve compliance with confidence. Based in Lincolnshire they are ideally placed to supply the vibrant UK food production and processing industries and have developed a wide range of innovative and user centered products, which are widely regarded as market leading in their field.
Optima was invited by QJS to develop a replacement for the phenomenally successful 1st generation Technifoamer 110 plant washdown system. A range of core issues needed to be considered when approaching the redevelopment of the unit.
Although the previous system had been highly respected within the food industry, a number of improvements had been highlighted through extensive use in the demanding food processing environment. The improvements centred around robustness and user interaction, which included the manipulation of the product in a factory environment and the ease in which the product could be correctly filled and drained. Other considerations included the satisfactory stowing of pipework for storage and improvement of both volume and centre of gravity, whilst maintaining an minimal product footprint. The project also required broader consideration of manufacturing and assembly cost and suitability for service and maintenance when in the field.
Alongside functional characteristics, aesthetic considerations were paramount, with the previous product looking dated and utilitarian in relation to the heightened brand expectations of both QJS and their valued customers. The importance of robustness without compromising aesthetic considerations was supported by the use of FEA Analysis software to careful assess the resilience of the proposed designs, against predicted usage conditions.
A range of styling concepts were produced and refined using CAD and rendering software, alongside exploratory sketches and integration of existing pump and control systems. The designs were refined to two variants which were developed to full ‘A Surface’ suitable for rotational-molding.
With the utilisation of FEA it was concluded that a fully integrated moulded handle could be developed, as apposed to the previous ‘bolt-on’ stainless steel arrangement. This approach not only reduced part count and assembly complexity but also allowed for the whole product body to be created using one rotational-mould tool. The result was an enclosure which was more robust than it’s predecessor, whilst appearing more formally resolved. It also facilitated pipe stowage, integral to the molded handle, improving usability and ease of storage.
The product was trialed for resilience by QJS who confirmed it had met and exceed both intentional misuse and drop testing requirement by some margin. The product development was completed in the summer of 2019 and was successfully launched to market in the latter part of that year.