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13 Mar 2024

Bluefrog Design and AW Technology: Innovating Safety Technology in Fire Detection

Bluefrog Design and AW Technology: Innovating Safety Technology in Fire Detection
Bluefrog Design and AW Technology Ltd collaborated to broaden AW Technology's product range, resulting in the design and development of The 9200 Series. This innovative equipment is engineered to rigorously test and calibrate carbon monoxide detectors. The product is a crucial tool for developers and manufacturers, to help significantly improve the quality, performance, and efficiency of CO detectors before their integration into essential fire and safety devices.

Introduction to the Design Agency

Based in the UK, Bluefrog Design is a product design consultancy that specialises in assisting companies and brands in overcoming obstacles and gaining a competitive advantage in the real world. They are an award-winning team with over 500 projects completed, including 38 distinct patents. They were founded in 2000 and have their headquarters in Leicester. Bluefrog Design is accredited by BIDA, Medilink UK, and The Chartered Society of Designers and is committed to promoting cost-effective, user-focused, and ROI-driven products that embody their Better by Design strategy.


Client Background
AW Technology, a leader in safety technology, specialises in high-performance test and calibration equipment for smoke, fire, and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detection. Their products are world-renowned for combining technical innovation with precise engineering and practicality, which have propelled significant breakthroughs in this industry.

Project Need
Recognising a market opportunity, AW Technology identified the need for a brand-new product that could enhance the calibration and effectiveness of CO detectors. The envisioned machine had to be compact, safe, reliable, user-friendly and communicate these qualities through a considered aesthetic appropriate for the marketplace. The goal of this project was to design a brand-new machine from the ground up and deliver a fully engineered piece of equipment suitable for manufacture. And to define a new visual design language to create the foundations for guiding the future development of a cohesive range of products. To meet this need, AW Technology looked to Bluefrog Design's well-known industrial design and design for manufacturing expertise to deliver on these project requirements.


Project Process
The project started with Bluefrog Design providing a variety of preliminary concepts exploring potential solutions for the machine's overall form-factor, manufacturing methodology, ergonomics, safety, and usability, to enable the best combination of options to be identified early in the project. Additionally, the concepts proposed alternative solutions for the visual design language and CMF treatments of the equipment. Once a specific design direction and design language was agreed, Bluefrog Design undertook the detailed design and engineering work essential for creating a functional prototype for testing. Subsequently, Bluefrog Design compiled all the necessary manufacturing information for machine production, identifying suppliers and delivering manufacturing support throughout the development process. The project was methodically managed by Bluefrog Design, overseeing its progression from the initial prototype to manufacture including assistance in building the first machines.

Challenges and Solutions
The engineering challenge was to align with stringent EN50291-1 and EN54 standards whilst developing a user-friendly, high-performance product with a compact footprint. This was crucial in space-sensitive environments like laboratories and factories where safety is paramount. AW Technology and Bluefrog Design merged technical skills with engineering and aesthetic principles to meet these rigorous demands.

Another significant hurdle was engineering a stand-alone product that could be manufactured reliably and repeatedly. Bluefrog Design developed a secure system for housing gas bottles and controlling gas flow, integrating multiple CO sensor modules and fail-safe mechanisms. This ensured precision and operator safety from gas exposure.


AW Technology on Bluefrog Design:
Reflecting on the collaboration, David Haigh of AW Technology remarked, "The partnership with Bluefrog Design has been instrumental in creating such a professional and successful product. Their blend of technical expertise and design acumen has resulted in a product that we're proud to offer to our clients."


Bluefrog Design on AW Technology:
Considering our joint efforts, Chris Samwell of Bluefrog Design said “AW Technology have been a pleasure to work with. Their proactive approach to cooperation set the stage for a fruitful collaboration. Their openness and our mutual appreciation of each other's skill sets, fostered the right environment where ideas could grow and consequently, the process has delivered an outstanding machine"


Conclusion: The Project Outcome
The result was the innovative 9200 series: a state-of-the-art calibration tool for CO detectors, featuring controlled calibration, sophisticated software for managing test sequences, and a user-centric design. It boasts safety interlocks, adaptable chamber interfaces, an integrated PC, and a strategically placed touchscreen. The design prioritises human-centred principles, focusing on every phase from manufacturing to end-user experience.

The partnership between AW Technology and Bluefrog Design was built on a mutual understanding of design's role in adding value and ensuring product success. This collective approach to creating better products by design led to the development of the resource-efficient 9200 series. This new addition to AW Technology's product line is now in high demand, spurring new investments and opening avenues for further growth and innovation for the company.

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