Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
The world of industrial grade parts washing has historically been the realm of large commercial equipment and toxic, environmentally hazardous solvents. For pros-umers, small business owners and at-home mechanics, this barrier represented a fundamentally unmet user need. The CRC SmartWasher Benchtop PRO is a first-in-its industry product, transforming a dirty, dangerous, large industrial appliance into a safe, easy, environmentally friendly retail consumer product.
By intersecting novel technologies with thoughtful design, this award-winning product is already proving itself as the emergent solution for cleaning greasy car, bike and motorcycle parts at home.
Through the use of bio-remediating technology to break down oil, grease and gas into C02 and water, the product produces no harmful byproducts, while being just as effective as solvent based cleaners. The design itself represents a totally new category of product in the home garage, allowing hobbyists and DIYers to access commercial grade cleaning power that is thoughtfully made, easy to use, simple to store and safe in the household.
Innovation Creates New Product Category for Consumers
The Benchtop PRO represents a new category and a new experience altogether for a consumer product. For the first time, commercial grade parts washing is available in the consumer retail arena as a smaller, stow-able, self-contained package.
When is use, the product opens to reveal a deep washing sink with an electrical, pump operated brush wand to scrub, apply and circulate detergent. The circulating fluid detergent itself is reusable and internally contained so the only “top offs” needed are due to evaporation or dripping.
Several components in the design serve two purposes, making the product efficient and clever.The lid cover folds out to form a convenient self-draining drying rack, that pours back into the main sink area. The door for the power cord storage zone doubles as a secure kickstand for the drying rack, snapping in place with a re-assuring detent.
All the fluid is securely held inside the device’s hollow blow mold, meaning there is no need to drain or opportunity created for unwanted spills. The basin’s drain offers clear fill lines and when the unit is turned 90 degrees, no fluid is spilled or lost. The unit also is designed to stand on end when not in use and can be stored in the garage in any small space, immediately ready for the next job.
By solving for the dirtiness, large space cost, material waste and deadly chemicals associated with parts washing today, the Benchtop PRO is poised to change the game for the home user.
The Benchtop PRO makes cleaning car, bike, motorcycle and other grimy machine parts safe and easy at home or in any small shop. The detergent fluid used is water based, non-toxic, non-flammable and non-environmentally hazardous meaning the user does not have to take any of the typical precautions associated with parts washing, like wearing chemical safe gloves or protection from inhaled fumes.
In the instance where the user has to dispose of the fluid, it can be safely and responsibly poured down any water drain without environmental impact. This eliminates the need for users to have to handle hazardous material or dispose of hazardous material in ways that are costly or complicated.
The ergonomics on the product were of chief importance in the design. The asymmetric handles mean easy carrying when moving from a shelf or vehicle and guarantees that the user can’t accidentally place the unit down in the upright position on the wrong side, potentially causing a spill. The upright position affords easy, suitcase -like carrying for transport or is excellent for storing with a minimal footprint in the garage or shop.
Most importantly however, this product gives the user their first ever sensible option for safely doing parts washing operations outside a professionals-only commercial shop or garage. As an entirely new consumer offering, the user is awarded a new DIY super-power, without resorting to toxic aerosol cans of brake cleaner or being forced to craft their own work-around with a bucket of chemicals and a rag.
As a chemical company, CRC is best known for producing and distributing spray cans of various professional chemicals. The company’s investment in the new opportunity introduced by the Benchtop PRO represents a powerful commitment and future stance on sustainability and environmentally conscious practices.
This product provides the first foothold in shaping CRC’s brand for the first time as a consumer product company, expanding beyond their existing commercial offerings. This product has recently unlocked big box retailers to their overall business plan and has introduced CRC to an entirely new market of consumers.
By using this product design to effectively create an entirely new product category, the Benchtop PRO has given CRC a powerful asset that will set the pace in their industry and give their competitors a new standard to aspire to.
Today’s expected norm in the home garage is to rely on using harsh and dangerous chemicals to get the job done. Disposing of these volatile compounds is often an afterthought at best. Responsibly storing and disposing these chemicals is rarely done and, in the cases, where consumers go out of their way to do the right thing, mistakes can still be made.
Additionally, the solvents normally relied upon represent a category that is commonly carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting and neurologically impairing from exposure.
In drastic and dramatic comparison, the Benchtop PRO makes it easy and convenient to be both environmentally conscious and personally safe by eliminating all of the risk factors at once.
The specially formulated plastics, housings, hoses and components are designed to last and will not break down from exposure to the detergent. At the same time, the users themselves don’t even have to wear gloves except to stay dry. The detergent can be used and reused time after time, only needing an occasional boost from a packet of inert microbes that come alive to consume the oily refuse that is shed off of the work pieces.
If the detergent ever needs to be disposed of, it can be poured anywhere water can, including down the driveway, without harm to plants, animals or water ways.
The product brings bio-remediating technology into the home for the first time, making it usable for hobbyists and professionals alike.
The aesthetic design of the Benchtop PRO had to hold its own in a world of tough tools and rugged, job ready equipment. The design delivers. From every angle, the product looks, feels and performs like a tough tool with an armored, layered look that speaks to an aggressive, job-ready role. By marrying together blow molded and injection molded parts, the design achieved the feel of being overbuilt everywhere. The geometric “cut triangle” visual element repeated on the corner vertices and used as a pattern elsewhere, establishes a new signature VBL feature that CRC can now use in other products to update packaging or include in future product designs.
Inside the basin, the angular motif continues, with the user accessible pump cover and a clever molded skimmer basket in the drain that signals correct fill levels to the operator. The hinge kinematic on the lid is exceptionally special, forming a drain spout that returns drip-off from the drying rack to the basin without spills or waste. When closed, the unique sculpting in this area still allows a tight fit and a finished, resolved look.
The color selections stay compliant with existing brand standards but have been selectively applied to give the product a sliced look. Differing textures were specified between the blow molded and injection molded parts to leverage the differences in effective texture depth of the two processes, resulting in texturing that feels intentionally uniform across the differently molded parts.