The CTR9 is the next generation, fully automatic spot welder for the automotive repair shop industry. The takeoff of the project was Car-O-liner's semi-automatic spot welder CTR7. The CTR9 is equipped with a completely new and revolutionary transformer gun. The advanced gun is designed with focus on improved ergonomics and user experiences. The flexible support arm together with the easy-to-use control unit, makes the CTR9 the most user friendly and innovative spot welder on the market. The superior handling and freedom of movement pushes the performance, reliability and workshop efficiency to a new level.
ERGONOMICS FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THE PRODUCT
Lightweight transformer gun - the transformer gun is made of reinforced fiberglass and designed for fast-paced activity, while at the same time reducing strain on the body of the user.
355 degrees swivel handle with quick-release - the ergonomic advanced handle swivels on two axes. Just press the quick-release button and turn the handle, up to 355 degrees to an optimum working position for superior handling.
Ergo-grip - the design of the handle with a fully-closed handle fastens at both ends combined with the product designed shape enhancing maneuverability and allowing the technician to hold the gun in a relaxed manner in every working position. Furthermore, the grip is designed for both for right- and left-handed users.
Telescopic support arm - the support arm is designed to ensure maximum freedom of movement (from 1.9 to 2.4m). It is made of robust yet lightweight extruded aluminum and is easy to adjust both vertically and horizontally for an optimum working position.
Power unit body with easy-to-use user interface - features a low center of gravity for superior stability, agile transportation around the workshop and ergonomic storage holder of the transformer gun.
All new fully automatic software - measures thickness and combinations of different metal panels used and adjust time, current and clamping force so that even less experienced welders will achieve perfect result every time.
Car-O-Liner was struggling to find the right design for their revolutionary idea, an ergonomic and at the same time more powerful spot welder, which with its new components increased mass and volume. A lot of internal time and effort had been put into the project, but unfortunately, the design did not come out as expected.
This was when Yovinn AB got the opportunity to make a retake of the project from a design perspective. It was important to maintain the design DNA of Car-O-Liner, meanwhile defining shapes of a new product generation with distinct ergonomic features.
The main goal of the project was to create a modern product expression that would place Car-O-Liner as a brand in a new position. Another objective was that the shape of the product also should communicate powerfulness, flexibility, smoothness and an easy to work with expression.
The project started off with a rigid user study. Ergonomic specialists were observing the existing handling of the spot welding to identify the non-spoken needs. The result of the user study was analyzed and used as a foundation in the development of a better user experience.
A big ergonomic challenge was to design a well-balanced product regardless of the size of the spot welder's different electrode yokes. Since the yoke must be changed to fit in different welding situations inside the car body, the center of gravity of the product varies depending on size of yoke that is used. This challenge was solved by designing a shape of the body that could provide the user a range of different holding positions while welding, combined with the telescopic support arm that reduce weight and a handle with a swivel function. The handles swivels round the spot welder body through the two circular attaching tracks. One in the front and one in the back of the tool. These circular tracks also caused an important design restriction since the diameter of the circles needed to have a specific size for getting the right swivel function and feeling. The challenge from a design perspective was to create the shape of the body part between the circle tracks that both would provide a range of holding positions and would be perceived more slim and smaller than it is. The welders surface structure was also made with a high friction grain that provide a safer grip.
During the prototyping phase a lot of user studies and tests were performed. Great effort was put into finding the right shape, measurements and angle of the swivel handle for optimal balance. The advantage of the swivel handle function was remarkable. It makes the flexibility and the handling ergonomically unique and it enables a personal holding position depending on the user's needs.
One other important demand was that the product should be solid enough to resist a drop from a height of one meter, this should be achieved without sacrificing the size and the smoothness of the product. This was solved by the idea of a merged bumper with a surface totally flush with the rest of the body. In case someone would drop the product on the floor, this would enable the outer surfaces, which are enfolded with the bumpers, to protect the product. The material of the bumper part is made from a soft resilient material with thick edges which are supported by a built-in framework, all to maximize the dampening effect.
The reason for the ergonomic focus of the project had to do with the very high amount of people's sick leave due to work related issues in this industry. This combined with an over-representation of men within the workshop environment made it even more important and interesting. Our perspective of the development of the tool was set to include all people – Design for all, which is a common design method used in Scandinavia. With this experience in mind, one of the project goals was set to develop a product that anyone, working or wanting to work, in the car workshop environment, would be able to use. This goal was accomplished by introducing a zero-gravity product.
The result, working with the ergonomic and with a Design for all focus, made it possible to create a product with a lot of improvements. It welds faster, safer, and with more accurate result. It also gives the technicians better health, less sick leave and thereby better profitability. This is a result of taking the body shop efficiency to a new level. During the development of the spot welder two ideas came up that Car-O-liner currently have patent pending.