An Interview with Florin Traila of Lineo Engineering
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Professional Engineering Services
Here, at Lineo Engineering, we are always open to change and improvement of the mechanical design and product development services which we are providing. There is no other way to do this than through transparency, open communication and continuous learning.
We will start with a brief presentation of one of our most recent projects which we developed - The Disinfection Tower. Find out more about its story - it's foundation, challenges, lessons learned and the impact it had on the European market.
Disinfection Tower - a premium disinfection stand with sensors, drip trays and batteries
The customer is a German product design company developing premium disinfectant dispensers. It represents the highest standards of quality, aesthetics and functionality. As a product in a category that has so far been forgotten by the design community, the team uses good design to solve established problems such as the relevance of functional hygiene for facilities with high standards.
To understand more about the Disinfection Towers, we planned an interview with Florin Traila, managing partner at Lineo Engineering. We hope the insights we share today will find ways to stick and gain your interest.
1. Let’s start by describing the context that led to these products’ development - was it all connected to the Covid-19 pandemic?
The first product versions were designed, manufactured and sold five years earlier. In 2020, the founders re-activated the product - so we might say the pandemic situation had the final push in starting the new product development. Together with the Lineo team the product was developed and manufactured, becoming a perfectly shaped free-standing disinfectant dispenser .
Let’s get into some details: The customer had a few years back this idea of making a disinfectant dispenser and vision related to a new standard of hygiene in public places. He even made a few prototypes with off the shelf components. But he stopped due to lack of experience in product development and financing.
Few years later, Covid-19 came - it seemed like the perfect moment for him to reactivate his old disinfectant dispenser idea and vision, using the know-how he gained designing/building and selling the first prototypes.
This time he decided to search for a specialized Product Development company to quickly develop the Disinfectant Tower - and this is how we finally joined arms.
2. How and where does your Client target consumers currently use this product?
Currently products can be purchased online and are available only for Germany. These disinfection dispensers have a broad consumer target, from residential buildings to public institutions, industrial buildings, medical clinics, offices, public spaces, shopping malls, hotels, sport clubs and so on.
3. Undoubtedly, there has to be a “secret sauce” in your product recipe! For example, what makes this Disinfectant Tower so attractive to your customers/users? Is it esthetics, the way the electronics work, the fact that it’s almost maintenance free?
Actually, it’s all of the above - its esthetics, the way it operates, and the overall user experience! From the early moments we saw the first design draft, all the Mechanical Design team had the same thought in mind: this product is so simple and looks so good, having nice proportions and great finishing.
Moreover, this Disinfection Tower was engineered having in mind all the details and instead using a cheap electronic device hidden behind a beautiful shape, Lineo developed the dispensing technology using smart sensors and pumps for an unique experience of dosing the perfect dose of atomized disinfectant.
4. Were there any specific issues the client or the users disliked in the early phases of the Disinfection Tower development? How were they solved?
During the product development work, in the design freeze and design validation phases, we had moments when we re-evaluated the product from the user’s perspective. That was when we decided to add new requirements, harden some of the existing product requirements and change some of the key manufacturing suppliers. These decisions and attention to detail resulted in shaping a premium product.
Choosing the proper packaging concept and packaging materials also was a big challenge, due to the size and weight of the Tower (almost 30 kg). We tested many packaging concepts and different materials, to find the right mix, which offers a good protection during transportation. But we nailed it and learned a lot from this experience!
Attention to detail imposed by the development of a premium product was reflected also in choosing the packaging materials. The majority of the chosen materials are recyclable, plastic free and environment friendly.
5. Very often, clients need time to offer useful feedback. By using a specific product, on a regular basis, people seem to discover all sorts of aspects. Did you receive such insights to improve your product since last December?
In this industry, most of the time the feedback consists of issues related to the user experience (for example the setup of the sensors’ responsiveness).
For the Disinfection Tower, we mainly received three types of constructive feedback:
● A frequent response we got was from users (mainly institutions) that needed to track how many times the dispenser is used, how much disinfectant is used and many other pieces of information. Currently the electronic module is full Hardware. To be able to receive and store the kind of data mentioned above, we need to make an update to the electronic module which will include a controller and Software architecture. This is also included in the implementations for the next generation.
● Feedback related to new ideas for the placement. For example, a version with similar design to be placed on the desk, to be mounted on a wall - in fact, this is how Mini version of the Tower was born!
6. Rules, strategies and protocols are useful, without doubt. However, it’s the creativity, the ingenuity or the innovation of the people that often lead to “aha moments” or amazing new perspectives. Can you provide an example of when you thought outside of the box, as a company or as a development team?
Lineo builds products by following a development process with strict rules and with focus on product requirements and quality. During the development process the product evolves from an idea, to a concept and finally to a finished product packed and delivered to the end customers.
Nevertheless, during all of these phases you find new challenges and new problems to be solved.
Specific for this product, one of the biggest problems to solve was discovered a few weeks after the first deliveries and it was related to some damages to the electronic unit done by the end user trying to use a larger screwdriver for adjusting the settings.
The problem was solved after an “aha moment” answering the question, “Is it absolutely mandatory for the end user to do fine adjustments?” The solution for the problem was to reconsider the requirements from a new perspective, the end user perspective and to limit the number of adjustments available for the end user.
7. What holds the future in store for the Disinfectant products? Any new series, maybe updates or a 2022 modern twist?
In 2022 we will ramp-up the Mini version of the Tower, a premium disinfectant dispenser that can be mounted on a wall or placed on a desk.
8. Tell us more about some other projects you are currently working on or recently delivered.
This year we teamed-up on some projects with the STUCK industrial design team from Singapore.
We are also involved in the development of Simply Bread - a modern electric brick oven and MOX 2 - a wireless drinks container that can warm breast milk or coffee, on the go.
Lineo Engineering - a reliable partner for professional mechanical engineering and product development services.
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