The Flexco XP Staple Fastener is a product used to repair conveyor belts in the mining industry. Mining is a demanding job which requires tools that can withstand abuse and perform efficiently in extreme working conditions. Flexco, an industry leader in belt conveyor productivity manufacturing, wanted to update their line of portable belt fastening tools with an improved look and user experience for their manual and automatic staple fastener products. The resulting product uses a fresh, unified visual brand language to stand out in a market of indistinguishable products while also addressing functional considerations to reduce weight and keep out debris.For this competition, CHOi Design is submitting the manual Flexco XP Staple Fastener.
The Flexco XP Staple Fastener, has manual levers that force staples through the belt, requires three rotating workers to prevent injury and fatigue. Our design process included gaining empathy for current difficulties and discovering opportunities for improvement; in both ease of use and worker safety.
The new design has superior ergonomics. The more robust handle includes reinforced plastic to make transporting more comfortable and increase the footprint of the workers grip. The updated lever utilizes a softer touch material to improve traction, while it's shape provides better leverage and therefore less strain for the workers.
Flexco, an industry leader providing belt transportation solutions for over 100 years, recognized the need to distinguish them in a relatively homogeneous belt fastener product landscape. This led to a collaboration with CHOi Design to craft a new Flexco XP Staple Fastener system, possessing distinguished brand identity with an improved user experience.
Beyond surface aesthetics, the manual Flexco XP Staple Fastener needed to be designed specifically for on-site use in mining operations. The manual staple fastener is used with a base guide for applying staples to the ends of a belt, joining it around rollers for material transport. A dirty unforgiving work environment and required portability of the products presented many design challenges for CHOi. Much consideration went into developing a product that was lightweight, comfortable to carry, easy to operate, extremely rugged, enclosed from debris, and with clear touch points.
To address these issues, we thoroughly educated ourselves on the process of using similar devices and the experience of a user. Analyzing interactions, gaining an understanding for opportunities to alleviate fatigue, and understanding the construction of the device was critical for development.
The new aesthetic has a much more refined appearance. There are no longer clunky industrial components bolted together. The system has a unified appearance with a strong emphasis on touchpoints that were designed to be more intuitive and ergonomic.
Impact resistant plastic used on the enclosure is the most radical of many "first of its kind" elements. This material, as opposed to traditional metal construction allows for many benefits. Plastic provides a lighter material to reduce weight, making transporting easier. The molded handle provides more purchase for the worker's grip, as compared to the traditional metal rod. This plastic provides a rugged way to add color to the product, a big departure from the industry-standard of painted metal, which tends to chip.
Sheet metal accents on the device provide a nice contrast for prominent branding compared to competitors. These metal components also serve as a key functional component of the enclosure, protecting the side panel seam from the ingress of debris.
A unified and distinguished brand identity was an important focus for Flexco. Metal accents anchor the case and allow for integrated branding that sticks out. Large, flowing chamfers frame the product's profile and convey an industrial and robust aesthetic. The black molded plastic used for the enclosure and handle distinguishes Flexco's product appearance from conventions of competitor belt staplers, while being practical for an abrasive work environment.
The manual Flexco XP Staple Fastener marries the highly industrial belt conveyor lacing mechanisms with a more user friendly design with ergonomic features and a lighter body. The integrated branding and color treatments bring brand differentiation in an industry of carbon copy competitor products that not only heightens the Flexco brand during product selection, but ensures the product maintains the identity for its entire lifecycle. The success of the manual Flexco XP Staple Fastener is a testament to the need for beautiful, intelligent designs for all products in all industries.