The Development of chit chatTM
LarktaleTM, Australia’s newest stroller brand, has launched it’s flagship product, chit chatTM. Developed in conjunction with Bayly Group, chit chatTM is the outcome of 3 years hard work and perseverance but the outcome speaks for itself. chit chatTM excels at everything it set out to achieve; it is ultra-light, ultra-portable, simple to use, easy to manoeuvre and super stylish. So what did it take to make chit chatTM so good?
chit chatTM started out life as an idea to create the world’s first all nylon stroller produced via a (non-gas) injection process application. Until now most strollers have utilized a combination of metal hollow sections and plastic mouldings to achieve the look and strength required of a stroller, yet this has it’s own set of limitations. By removing the metal hollow sections it was envisaged the design could not only lend itself to become more streamlined and seamless but also offer a supremely lightweight solution to make life a little easier for parents here in Melbourne, Australia and around the world.
Little could we have predicted the challenges that would come with developing an all plastic stroller and it soon became apparent why others have not achieved it with any level of success. The major hurdle was in the prototyping. The intended material to be used on chit chatTM was fibre-filled nylon, chosen for it’s superior strength and rigidity, but this material is impossible to prototype due to the nature of the fibre infusing. This meant that all prototyping was completed in an inferior material resulting in samples that were neither strong nor stiff enough to give a reliable indication that the product would pass testing.
FEA and Material Simulation
Due to this prototyping issue and to assist with mitigating the risk before moving to tooling, the major components were put through extensive FEA analysis in ANSYS, Bayly’s digital simulation tool. Firstly the scenario in which the parts would see the highest loads and stress were identified in order to define the load cases in ANSYS. The parts were then subjected to extreme loads (up to 200kg in some cases) to see how they would perform, both in regards to deformation and material stress, in order to determine whether they would withstand the perils of daily life.
chit chatTM set out to redefine the portable stroller; it needed to be beautiful, ultra-light, ultra-portable and most importantly easy to use. The design intent was to have a simple operation that would easily fold the stroller away in a single action, but achieving this was another matter. To achieve such a simple operation for the user required the development of a complex and refined mechanism that worked harmoniously within itself. We wanted the handle and legs to fold simultaneously meaning we needed to introduce a gearing system with the right ratios to get them to fold together at the same time. The one locking mechanism had to hold the stroller both open and folded and was required to hold all 3 major components together at the same time. To achieve the single action fold the lock also needed to automatically engage once the lock was released, requiring the design of a clever spring-lock mechanism. The result is a patented fold/lock mechanism that is activated with a single action and folds the stroller down in seconds. Not only that, but once folded, it stands up on it’s own waiting to the picked up and loaded ready for the next adventure.
The Birth of chit chatTM
The development of a stroller is not an easy task. From the extensive standards (AS/NZ, EN and ASTM) and compliance requirements to the torturous rolling road test, a stroller has to go to hell and back to prove it’s up for the task. Not only that but it then needs to meet the high standards parents expect for themselves and their children, and we believe chit chatTM does it in style. Speaking as a new parent myself and a recent owner and user of chit chatTM, I can honestly say it does everything it sets out to do. It is so light and sooo easy to use. Especially where children are involved, any product that makes your life that little bit easier is a welcome addition to the family.