Simply Designed Better

"Simply designed better"

A deliberately ambiguous statement!

 

Designed better

Graham BantockApart from asking if the design of a component part meets the basic requirement (does it work properly) there are many other important aspects of design. For example: How will the part be made? Can it be made economically? Can it be made lighter? Stronger? With lower drag? To a more aesthetically pleasing design? Can it be fitted and used easily? Does it have multiple applications?

What at first may seem an effective design solution can usually be developed as we explore all these aspects of design evaluation. Probably the first ideas will have been sketched out and modified many times before a 'prototype' is drawn. Strength and stiffness calculations may be carried out leading to an appropriate choice of material and/or dimensions. The prototype may reveal manufacturing problems and weaknesses both literally and in its application. If so it will lead to further prototypes.

The components we supply are often part of an integrated range of parts. Each one should match and complement the others effectively.

Eventually, when we are happy that we have the best solution, we will approach potential manufacturers and get their quotations for the order quantity we anticipate. Sometimes this will lead to further refinement of the design to enable more efficient and cost effective production. Sometimes, if costs are too high, we have to return to the 'drawing board' and re-think the overall design to achieve the same effect but using a different manufacturing method or material. 

Occasionally, even after we have gone into production, the item does not function as it should - the real test is that it works for our customers. It may take time to learn this as we each have different skills and requirements. However we usually get the message quickly if our customers don't like something we make. Then, if there remains a need for the item, we need to go through the design process again.

Most of our products have been well and truly tested in competition and come out with honours, often at the highest level. Many are standards by which others are judged and many are copied elsewhere by others, sometimes illegally.

We feel designed better is indeed an appropriate description of our range of goods.

 

Simply designed and better

We have found that the best designs, from the performance and production point of view, are often deceptively simple. Two examples

Round masts in the Marblehead and Ten Rater classes may not appear the best solution from an aerodynamic point of view but they have a big advantage in terms of stiffness and strength and can be rigidly supported in the hull as there is no need for them to rotate. This can lead to weight and cost savings and improved ease of use which all add up to equal or better overall performance.

In comparison round tubes for booms in the One Metre class pose a problem. It is difficult to add fittings to a round tube so that they align properly. Designing a boom section which is non-round and a suite of co-ordinated fittings, avoiding wherever possible the use of other materials which enhance corrosion of the basic spar, has made rigging this class a quick, simple and enjoyable process.

Although we have found that the best products are simply designed AND better, it does not follow that this can be arrived at without expending much time and effort at the design stage. Our mast head fittings, 23-110 and 23-127, are exceptions!

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