Ingenious new product for motorcyclists entered production in Summer 2012 after an order was placed for 8000. Orders of around 50,000 were placed during Summer 2013.
Ventz was designed, prototyped and protected through D2M Innovation. If you have a new idea why not contact us to make it a reality.
ORIGINS - Ventz provides a simple, efficient method of ventilation for motorcyclists. In hot weather, riders often experience uncomfortably high temperatures beneath their protective leather clothing. When client Martin Warren witnessed the unzipped jacket of a fellow motorcyclist flap up, obscuring the rider’s vision, he decided there must be a better, safer way to cool riders down. He brought his idea for a wearable ventilation system to D2M, and Ventz has proved so successful that the initial number produced quickly sold out and Warren now faces the challenge of fulfilling rapidly increasing order numbers.
CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Warren met with D2M to discuss the design, patenting and prototyping of his idea: a lightweight, easy-to-assemble vent that clips onto the inside of a rider’s sleeve and forces a stream of cool air to circulate beneath his or her jacket. D2M produced a visualization that took cost-effective manufacturing into consideration, differing slightly from the client’s original sketches in terms of shape and the type of mesh used at the front of the product to repel insects. A collaboration on how Ventz would look, taking the client’s desires into account, followed and D2M was able to take the concept of Ventz to the next stage in its development: CAD design.
CAD - Computer Aided Design enables a designer to build a virtual 3D model of a product in order to consider the requirements of building a prototype of that product. Using industry-standard software, D2M’s expert team of designers were able to examine the initial Ventz design from every perspective and decide on the dimensions of the product, anticipate how it would function and select materials to use in building samples and prototypes. CAD would also provide D2M with data and specifications necessary to the eventual manufacturing of the product.
PROOF OF CONCEPT PROTOTYPE - With the specifications developed using CAD, D2M was then able to build a proof of concept prototype. This is a prototype that proves that a concept and its design function as intended. To produce a proof of concept prototype for Ventz, D2M employed a technique called rapid prototyping: a process by which layers of nylon powder are arranged by a 3D printer, resulting in the solidified shape of the product. This method of prototyping is both quick and cost-effective but the models produced by it are not durable; in order to select materials with which to produce further prototypes and samples, D2M’s designers continued to develop Ventz with CAD.
PATENTING - During the design and prototyping processes, D2M found an appropriate Chartered Patent Attorney who applied for and filed several patents, trademarks and design applications on the client’s behalf. A UK Patent for Ventz was filed with the UK Intellectual Property Office, giving Warren a monopoly on his invention in the UK for up to twenty years. The attorney also filed a European Design Application, protecting the appearance of Ventz within Europe and granting Warren a monopoly on its manufacture, use, distribution and sale for up to twenty-five years. A corresponding US Design Application was filed within the six-month priority period that followed. A Trademark Application was also filed in the UK, as well as a European Trademark Application for the word Ventz, which protects its use and brand image in all twenty-seven EU member states.
PRESENTATION PROTOTYPE - Presentation prototypes are produced so that a client is able to demonstrate his or her product to retailers or potential buyers. They differ from proof of concept prototypes in that they are created with materials similar to those used to produce the final product, more closely resemble what that product will look like and include branding. Another function of a presentation prototype is to highlight any problems with design or materials so that final tooling changes can be made to the manufacturing specification.
The two component parts of the Ventz presentation prototype were made with polypropylene plastic and TPU plastic respectively. These parts did not easily assemble and dissemble, however, and it was discovered that the TPU plastic had a surehardness of 80 and was not malleable enough. This problem was addressed and the surehardness of the plastic lowered to 75 in the final manufacturing specification. It was also discovered that, when bent (as around a rider’s arm), the TPU component came away too easily from the polypropylene. This was rectified with CAD by extending the length of the plastic pads designed to hold the two components together.
Having found solutions to these problems, D2M was then able to produce a manufacturing specification, including 3D data and information on everything from materials and surehardness to the finish to be used for the plastic, enabling the start of production tooling.
MANUFACTURING - D2M offers an expert service in approaching suppliers and acquiring and comparing quotes with clients but on this occasion Warren was very proactive in sourcing manufacturing himself, as well as branding and packaging design. With the manufacturing specification produced by D2M’s designers, he was able to find a Chinese company to create the production tooling necessary to manufacture Ventz, which consists of moulds into which the appropriate plastics are injected. This tooling was then transferred to UK company Opus Plastics, which manufactures and assembles the component parts of Ventz entirely within its Devon-based site, receiving the insect-repelling metal mesh at the front of the product from another UK manufacturer.
LAUNCH - Since launching Ventz onto the market, demand has been such that Warren has found fulfilling the number of orders he is receiving to be a challenge. An initial order of 12,000 units, based on pre-orders of 8,000 from retailers and customers, quickly sold out. Warren sells Ventz directly online at a rate of around 20 per day and through UK motorcycle retailer Fowlers, and is currently discussing his product with Essex Police and European companies. In a recent interview, he spoke of interest developing even further afield: ‘There have been calls from Germany, South Africa, the U.S. and Australia, along with a skiing company who are interested in adapting the technology. It’s literally going worldwide.’ Ventz has featured on BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo Drive-Time Show and Warren has approached Charley Boorman on the subject of using Ventz in the filming of his next television programme.
D2M Innovation was involved in: drafting a patent application
; developing the CAD model of the wristband; producing a range of different coloured presentation prototypes
; sourcing a manufacturer; refinement of the design for production and sourced an attorney for filing EU registered designs.