Smart Sparky's Tool

Blue Monkey; a curious name for a handy new electrician's tool that demonstrates how product development can quickly transform an idea into a manufacturable and marketable product as well as kickstart a viable new business.

Whilst we seldom think about all the power outlets (GPOs) and light switches we have around us, each one of these ubiquitous devices must be accurately marked out by electricians so that they are positioned as specified and level. Manual marking and levelling inevitably leads to either a loss of quality or additional time spent on this otherwise tedious task.

Blue Monkey reduces the time, cost and rework of marking out while also improving quality and accuracy routine task that may be repeated hundreds of times on a project.

Although similar devices have existed for some time, our client Spears Pacific saw an opportunity for a new product that fixed the poor ergonomics of these older products. Cobalt brought a professional design approach with the result having:

  • Improved use via an innovative, central floating finger grip (allowing the user to hold the product securely and clear of the pencil marking edge).
  • Robust construction and distinctive ‘tools of the trade’ aesthetic
  • Reduced manufacturing costs

Design for Manufacture and Assembly

Blue Monkey fully exploits the injection moulding process; eliminating the need for secondary manufacturing operations and minimising assembly time. Using integral moulded assembly features, it avoids screws and eliminates a gluing operation typically employed on competitor products.

The separate grip interface part, not only performs integral assembly functions, but allowed for a solid signature colour not possible on the functional mark-out plane. In addition, assembly can be performed top-down so that each component is only handled once.

Cracking the market

Blue Monkey has provided a spring board for Spears Pacific to enter the professional trade tools market. As the seed venture for a number of other products aimed at making the job of an electrician easier and safer, this small project has established a high level of interest from the electrical wholesale sector, with its fresh approach helping it to secure distribution through Cabac, a major electrical channel. In addition to the product’s commercial success, it was recently acknowledged as a finalist in the Product Design category at the Victorian, 2013 Premier’s Design Awards.
This project is a timely example of how unmet user needs can be turned into successful products by using professional design and engineering.