Cutting-edge design sharpens competitive advantage
Building on a long-term relationship with PDD’s Hong Kong studio, kitchen utensils brand Zyliss asked the team to help develop two new products. In both cases, the design team’s expertise, experience and location helped Zyliss gain an advantage over its competitors in Europe and the US.
When designing a foldable grater, the key challenge is to overcome negative consumer perceptions because the market is full of inferior products. Zyliss wanted to buck this trend with a premium product: a high-end, multi-sided, foldable grater with acid-etched blades. However, this raised a number of issues for PDD’s designers.
With European Union regulations banning the use of polycarbonate (the ideal choice for this product’s non-cutting elements), the team had to settle for materials that did not convey the same high-end perceptions as polycarbonate would have done. However, the ultra-sharp blades are hard to incorporate within such a setting and besides, very few suppliers in China can manage the technology of acid-etching. In addition, since the blades account for a huge proportion of the production costs, there was little room for investment in the injection parts of the assembly.
PDD also had to create a clear design language for users, to ensure they were able to fold the box grater when opening the pack for the first time. In addition, even if the folding was intuitive, the team needed to know that users could complete the task without cutting themselves. In tackling these issues successfully, PDD created a premium product that set new standards of quality and value in a tainted market.
PDD’s task in designing a new herb cutter centred on a fundamental issue: how could the team find a new angle on the age-old tradition of using a knife for food preparation? The team came up with a novel solution, designing an ergonomically pleasing “cutting ball” that also answered the brief in terms of strict budget guidelines. Thanks to advanced mechanical engineering the team minimised the number of parts needed and accommodated the fact that the blades would be the most expensive element. PDD also ensured that the product was dishwasher-proof and simple to take apart and reassemble securely.
The final design allows users to hold the cutter comfortably and move it around in multiple directions easily and safely. The combination of this unique design and the user’s movement means that the tool cuts herbs faster and more efficiently than a knife.
The designers working on the foldable grater and herb cutter were able to find the balance between performance and user safety, and take account of production budgets and other considerations. What’s more, PDD’s base in Hong Kong allowed the team to spend time with local suppliers and ensure the production quality of the blades and plastic components used for both products.