The Design Process
Case Study: The Complexity that goes into Simplicity
Some products just work. They are easy to use and understand and are simply constructed and manufactured. Often it is hard to imagine the industrial design consultancy working away for hours on end only to result in something quite simple. But the research, design, testing and iterations that go into making something simple, can be surprisingly complex.
A great example of the complex process of making something simple is the Waratah fencing range. Bayly has been working with Waratah for many years on their fencing product design projects. Waratah approached us more than five years ago to build on and develop the Waratah brand as a premium fencing product. They wanted a patent protected system that would offer easy installation and increase the service life of the fencing posts and attachments. And thus began the complex journey of designing a product that farmers would usually set and forget.
Concept Development - Brainstorming, Details and Analysis
The concept development stage began with brainstorming ways of attaching a wire to a fence post. There are many ways to attach a wire to a post and each great concept was explored and prototyped. New ideas were recorded during the design process and continue to this day. Any new and innovative methods were recorded and protected as IP. This was important to the client and added value to the final outcome.
The Post: A key component of the fencing system was the development of the posts. The Waratah JIO posts are a traditional star picket design, but changing the size, shape and spacing of the holes made for a more flexible fence design. The posts were also subject to engineering and FEA analysis to improve the strength performance of the posts. Greater ductility allows the posts the be re-straightened, a great point of difference between the JIO post and existing posts on the market.
The Clip: We had to think outside of the box (or the paddock!) to come up with a simple clip that would work with the fence posts. The shape of the holes lead us towards the final design for the JIO post clip. After many iterations and prototypes of cast clips and bent sheet metal clips, the most simple and effective clip was a bent wire design. The JIO wire clip we designed requires no tools and has two “legs” that twist, spring and lock into the oval post holes.
Even after we had the basic design of the wire JIO clip and JIO post, the design was not complete. To ensure that this simple product fulfilled its complex performance requirements, prototyping and testing needed to be completed.
Waratah conducts extensive prototyping, testing and fencing trials with farmers around Australia. There are test fences in many rural areas that are set and visited days, months and even years later to test the durability of new fencing technology. Clips are pull tested and posts are bent over and re-straightened many times to ensure that the final fence will not break, even if your cows decide to go through it.
Demonstrations to groups of farmers help to observe how easily the new designs will be adopted and how intuitive the new products are to use. The fencing clips must be quicker and easier to assemble when compared to other traditional fence building methods otherwise there is very little chance the new clips will be adopted.
More simple solutions
The fun didn’t stop with the post and clip designs. As you can see, we don’t take these tasks on lightly. Some farmers incorporate electric wire into their fences, so the JIO clip was redesigned to fit a porcelain insulator. Simply clip onto the JIO post in the same holes that you would the JIO clip.
The posts also needed to be packed together for ease of transport and the “quick release pack” was born. The options are endless and the development continues.
So next time you are driving out in rural Australia or even closer to the major cities and you see a beautifully fenced property, stop and appreciate the complexity that goes into the Product Design and Development of fences that keep homes and stock safe and makes the job of the farmer easier, quicker and more simple.
The unique, patented, simple clipping system
An insulator integrated into the Jio clipping system