The Yale Window Handle was the main NPI project I worked on throughout my time at Yale Door and Window Solutions. It encompassed the entire design process, taking a brief all the way from a design specification to a fully finished, tested, manufactured, marketed and saleable product.
As a project engineer at Yale, I was not only responsible for the design and implementation of the product, but also as the project manager coordinating all other departments required to assist on the project throughout. Everybody from marketing and engineering to quality and testing.
The project lasted around 16 months from the initial team briefing to receiving landed saleable product all the way from our factory suppliers in China. At each and every stage I was accountable for progressing the project throughout the Yale project gateway system, designed to ensure products are meeting the initial product design specification and to the necessary capital expenditure.
The initial phase of the project was to establish the market requirement of the product, including a desired landed cost per unit in different finishes, as well as extensive research of competitor products.
A thorough piece of research was undertaken across many different brands; looking at price, performance, design, finishes, warranty and various design patents.
Product specification, current market trends, competitor products and early performance testing.
Early concepts took the form of really quick post-it level sketches to commicate the principal of the idea. It became clear early on that the design would consist of 2 main areas: the button mechanism and the exterior form.
Each were initially developed seperately and then their interaction was considered after. Some concepts were developed and rendered to a presentation level to communicate the ideas to managers and directors for feedback.
and early prototyping
One of the most important elements of the design was the moulding for the button latching mechanism. I went through extensive rounds of development and testing of the component, including 3D printed and machined acetal variations.
Key developments were made within this phase and helped produce a component that would meet standards and cyclic testing.
Design development - focusing
on the plastic button component
As the development process evolved, it was imperative to validate the design against various analysis including FMEA and VAVE, especially when the success of the product would be measured in cost vs performance.
Also there were initial conversations with the supplier regarding evolving the design to suit manufacture - especially evident on the split line of an organic shaped handle.
Further design development including design for manufacture and analysis methodology.
Testing was the single most important phase of the design process for this product and others. Testing, in one form or another, began as soon as there was a physical concept to interact with. For this project, initial testing of the button concept involved fit and function with some basic endurance tests.
Next, a cross-functional team came together to independently assess the ergonomic feel of some external grip concepts. Further down the line, like-for-like material prototypes, of the whole design, were produced to do as many tests as possible.
Just prior to approving the design and releasing it for tooling, a full set of CAD data (including components, sub-assemblies and top-level assemblies) and engineering drawings were created and integrated into our PDM (product data management) system.
At this point the design becomes issue controlled so that we can be certain everybody is working to the correct revision of component and assembly.
Creating CAD data and technical drawings to produce product tooling
Once tooling had been completed, I was fortunate enough to travel and meet with the Far Eastern supplier of the product, in Ningbo China. The experience was a bit daunting as I went alone with the responsability of representing Yale and to utilise the short time I had to progress the project as quickly and efficiently as possible. The experience was a quick learning curve but at the end of the week we had agreed upon of series of changes based on appearance, fit and function and some performance testing.
Visiting the factory in China to assess first-off samples, testing and negotiating improvements.
Towards the end of the project, I was able to achieve final gateway sign off meaning the design was approved and met all design specification requirements ahead of an initial production order.
The final aspects of the project included: creating renders, photography and specification documentation for customers and also liaising with the Yale Retail sub-division to provide the product in retail-ready blister packaging.
Final design sign-off, promotional and specification documentation and retail packaging design.
The Final Product
Disclaimer: All work shown on this page was undertaken whilst under the contractual employment of Yale DWS (Assa Abloy Group). All work shown, at the time of release on this portfolio website, had been launched and was within the public domain. All work shown is the property and copyright of Yale DWS. The work is shown for personal portfolio presentation purposes only and must not be shared by any third parties. All opinions expressed are by the owner of the website and do not necessarily reflect those of Yale DWS (Assa Abloy Group).