A feature for 'New Design' magazine

Our new headforms designed to test a new global standard in respiratory equipment. Managing Director, Troy Baker explains why it was important to undertake such a project. You can read the full article below:

In response to the proposed introduction of ISO 16900, which creates a new global standard for the methods of testing respiratory protective devices, Design Reality saw a need in the market and created a range of customisable headforms designed to test respiratory equipment. Using Design Reality’s in-house expertise in human factors, this new range concentrates on standardisation ensuring that the heads are not only anatomically correct but that they also encompass multi-ethnic facial features.

Following a process of design, testing and 3D printing, five different head forms have been created, which can be further customised by clients. With control over the tooling and a variety of inserts, a full range of breathing, field of view and noise testing headforms can be produced.

Our experience in the respiratory market and understanding of testing requirements led us to identify an important need for a product such as this in response to the upcoming legislative change. We had the capabilities to design the headforms and the facilities required to produce bespoke, high-quality end products, this led us to create the heads as a self-initiated project.

It seems a natural step that consultancies are increasingly partaking in self-initiated work. As design consultancies develop their expertise in given areas, they gain the ability to understand potential gaps and future market developments. When you combine this expertise with the knowledge and capabilities of experienced agencies to take products from concept to marketable product, it makes sense that they are adapting to have more diverse revenue streams within their businesses.

As an established consultancy we have a tried and tested design process that is used for projects regardless of whether it is self-initiated work or for an external client. The differences in the process are much more related to other business considerations such as finance, time-scale and go- to-market strategies.

With self- initiated projects we take a flexible approach to our timescale to ensure that client work always takes priority. This means our internal projects may be slower at peak times, however we find that this is offset by a quicker decision process as we work through the development stages. We also have the benefit of direct control over the brief, milestones and finance. Saying that, self- initiated projects do not come without risk as ultimately the consultancy is financing the project from start to finish.

Our project management process schedules our resources to ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget regardless of whether this is for internal or external clients. We have found it important to define the budget, time-scales and full scope of the project on self-initiated projects so that we can work with the project in exactly the same way as an external client. To ensure balance we build additional flexibility into our internal plan to ensure the needs of our clients are met as a priority.

In order to commercialise this design and take the headforms to market, we were able to utilise our existing networks formed through relevant organisations and existing clients.

Posted: 17 May, 2019