New tools by UWE designers win Dremel seal of approval

Issue date: 27 January 2011

The University of the West of England and Dremel (Bosch) have linked up to give Creative Product Design (CPD) and Product Design Technology (PDT) students opportunities to showcase their talents. So impressed were Dremel senior management with the professionalism of the students that they are keen to develop this new partnership further.

The live projects involved second and third year students in a competitive brief that related to real challenges faced by the Dremel product design team.

Third year students were set a six week research, concept and design project to design a new tool for the arts and craft market, a new market sector that Dremel plans to tap into.

Hywel Vaughan was on the overall winning team. He said, “Dremel products have a tendency to be very accurate whereas hobby tools tend to be fun and arty. Our challenge was to combine the precision of Dremel with the fun of hobbies. We decided to look at the hobby of painting where at one end of the market you have expensive kit like airbrushes and at the other end low tech tools like paintbrushes. We wanted to bridge the gap between the two so we designed a paint stylus and paint station that we named 'Dremel Air'.

“The features include a refillable paint pot, drip tray and 'pen' holder integrated into a compressor unit mirroring the appearance of an old fashioned pen and ink pot. The 'Dremel Air' can also be wall mounted – the idea was to keep it simple to use so that people can plug and paint without having to spend time cleaning.”

Second year students were set a promotional task to develop a new way of packaging Dremel products for the Christmas market. This was a fast turnaround project that the students were given just one week to complete.

Grant Deans, second year Creative Product Design student, was on the winning team, he explains, “We were set a task to find a new way of packaging the 300 series rotary tool. We came up with the idea of a Christmas Dremel starter set with a range of tools that carry out different functions like sanding, engraving and other odd jobs – a something for everyone package. Packaging now is all about product presentation so rather than simply stuffing the product into a nicely designed box – we designed a 'toblerone' shaped box, with the view that this would trick people by its distinctive shape – a bit of fun on Christmas day.

“The added value here permeates other important considerations like transport and storage as the tessellated shape has huge advantages. We took the project as far as we could, and designed the box, the point of sale stand and we upgraded the instruction manual. We devised a colour coding system that gets rid of the need to translate user instructions into different languages. We also made subtle adjustments to the colour to broaden the product appeal for the female market.”

Dremel Brand Manager Nick Longford was impressed with the quality of the work. “As a global market leader with a premium brand we are always looking to improve how we present our products and also looking to branch out into new areas. I have been quite simply astounded at the professionalism of the students at UWE – I'm not sure what my expectations were but the students have produced work that would stand proudly alongside work that is carried out in our product design studios.

“Some went as far as joining craft groups to gain insight into the tools used for different crafts as part of the research. The winning 'Dremel Air' tool designed by the third year team very neatly fits the Dremel concept 'big on detail'. We are well known for versatile tool systems and the winning idea recognised this core branding value by introducing multi function elements.

“We are going to be looking at broadening our relationship with the product design programme at UWE – this might include the introduction of placement and internship opportunities as well as providing real life brief challenge competitions like this very successful first enterprise.”

Kurt Guass, Programme Leader for Product Design at UWE, said, “Dremel is a brand within the Bosch brand which makes everything from white goods to sports car components. We are pleased that our collaborations have impressed Dremel and we are excited at the potential of this relationship. Our students need real experiences so that they can test their design talents against proper industry standards, demands and deadlines. ”

“Dremel, as a live project sponsor, has been great to work with – they have been open about their new market ambitions and given our students very challenging projects. They have done this project alongside usual course work so we have placed tough demands on them but we know that this will pay dividends when they come to look for work on graduation.”

The students from both year groups unanimously agreed that working on live projects is a brilliant way of learning. Hyvel sums up, “It's really exciting having live projects to work on – we all pushed ourselves much harder to achieve the best possible design. It was also really good to work as part of a team; alot of the course work is done independently so this provided an opportunity to learn how to employ each person's strengths and well as being great fun.”

Professor Steve West, UWE Vice Chancellor, said, “This fledgling partnership is extremely valuable to the University. A global enterprise like Dremel (Bosch) can teach us so much about what is needed to help us develop programmes that give our students development opportunities to hone their professional skills.”

FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers


Tel: 0117 32 82208


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