Thursday, 10 October 2013

Premier's Design Awards - CobaltNiche

Blue Monkey wall plate jig designed by CobaltNiche

A tedious task facing Electricians during project fit-out is the creation of numerous holes in wall linings for connection of power outlets and light switches.  The opening must be rectangular, accurately positioned and not vary too far from optimum dimensions.  Marking out can be taxing and time consuming and often suffers from being delegated to an apprentice.  The Blue Monkey wall plate jig has a positive impact on the performance of this task saving time (which, on site, means money).  It speeds up mark out operations, improves accuracy and reduces rework on a task that may be repeated hundreds of times on a project.

Mark out jigs for this application have existed in the past but despite strong demand, have not been marketed for many years. Design analysis showed that these had suffered from a high cost in manufacturing, poor ergonomics and have been left behind in the development of the ‘tools of the trade’ aesthetic that is today considered essential for products in this category. Cobalt Niche was engaged to bring a professional design approach to bear on these problems with the result being an up-to-the-minute, easy-to-use product designed to reduce cost of manufacturing and assembly.

An innovative approach was required to address problems with the traditional centre grip, which placed fingertips close to the mark-out edges, so that they often interfered with the path of the pencil. Rethinking the grip completely (realising that an edge would provide a better grip for finger tips than a surface) led to a new ‘floating’ grip that provides a finger position well clear of the pencil path, without increasing overall size. The separation of the grip delivered a further bonus in allowing the application of contemporary styling and signature colour not possible on the functional mark-out plane.

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