advatek

Advatek - Build It Better

Building it Better with Advatek Lighting and AM Hub

Lighting company Advatek wanted a new generation of their PixLite controller, and partnered with Cobalt to rapidly embody their unique technology in a rugged, configurable and compact body. Cobalt developed the industrial design and production engineering of the range working in close collaboration resulting in an accelerated 4-month timeline to market entry.

The DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) process fast tracked the engineering stages due to product testing and functional reviews being able to be applied to additive manufactured assemblies.  This accelerated program was made possible by Advatek contracting Cobalt as a registered Service provider under the ‘Build It Better’ Voucher program, established by the AMTIL AM Hub.

The ‘Build It Better’ voucher program involves a grant for small to medium manufacturing businesses in Victoria looking to increase their integration of additive manufacturing. The grant provides up to $20,000 in matched funding for these businesses looking to redesign or re-engineer an existing product or create a new one. The funding can be applied toward design expertise, engineering support, business case development, materials selection and/or prototyping support.

In any fast-paced product development, rapid prototyping and iterative sketching are critical validation tools. The exceptionally compressed time frame demands of our project for Advatek were made possible by Cobalt utilising a Design for Additive Manufacture (DfAM) workflow throughout our engineering programme, while facilitating standard injection moulding constraints, such as draft and wall thickness. The Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) process was used for product trials and pilot volume market entry, and seamlessly transitioned to injection moulding for high volume production.

The result significantly upgrades Advatek Lighting’s product design presence and will underpin its global expansion within this specialised, but growing field of large-format LED lighting installation. View our case study here.

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Product Design and Sustainability TB

Cobalt’s work for KeepCup case studied in international textbook

At Cobalt we believe design should improve the world we live in. Following sustainable practices, engaging in socially responsible design and using our technical know-how helps us solve these practical design problems.

Sharing our experience and helping to educate in design and sustainability are some of the ways we can make a positive impact.

Recently, UK-based author Jane Penty invited Cobalt Principal Steve Martinuzzo to contribute to her new textbook Product Design and Sustainability (Strategies, Tools and Practice, 1st Edition), aimed at design students, practitioners and educators. In the textbook, Penty writes on the principles of sustainability, the integration of sustainable strategies in design practices and introduces a diverse range of social, economic and environmental design tools.

According to Steve “it was an honour to be involved in this book, especially as Jane wanted to use real projects as case studies, and practical educational resources for sustainable design are still quite uncommon”.

Topics covered in include how our research and insights guided the final design, and what techniques were used to overcome obstacles for changing consumer behaviours; from disposable to reusable. “Changing behaviours was our biggest challenge and in the end, our greatest sense of achievement”. Focussing on deeper user empathy, barista experience and adding unique value to the reusable coffee cup experience ultimately led us to a design that not only allows KeepCup owners to express themselves through their choice of colours and materials, but also use a reusable cup that is as functional as it is beautiful.

As a final takeaway, in the book Steve says he believes “more and more clients will genuinely care about products that reduce – rather than add – to the problems of waste, excess and social exclusion.”

Product Design and Sustainability by Jane Penty is now a globally prescribed text book across a number of Architecture and Product Design tertiary subjects. It is available for purchase here.

Information sourced from © Routledge 2019. Product Design and Sustainability (Strategies, Tools and Practice, 1st Edition) by Jane Penty.

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Cobalt Fire Initiative

The Cobalt Fire Initiative

Cobalt stands with Australia. Cobalt stands for innovation.

Like people everywhere, we’ve been watching in dismay as Australian communities, lives and wildlife have been consumed by the on going fires. We extend our sympathy and thoughts to all those personally affected. And we want to help.

Coming together as a team after our Christmas leave, we’ve thought of how we can best contribute to rebuilding what we can, and better protecting ourselves from future fire emergencies. Our team agreed that we could offer more than a purely financial contribution; we wanted to help by doing what we do best. So here’s our response; the Cobalt Fire Initiative.

Details

Cobalt and our staff will contribute up to $50,000 in pro bono fees on a dollar-for-dollar basis of an agreed new product development project/s related to:

  • Bushfire detection
  • Fire fighting
  • Rural community rebuilding

So we are calling for innovative companies, be they established or start-ups (local or multinational), to partner with us and combine their technology with our user centred design and production engineering know how to create tangible products that will make a real difference to people. We have no pre-conceptions about the technologies or product idea as our only measure will be the project’s ability to make a positive difference.

Therefore, the idea could be low or high tech; conceptual or near-production ready. The following are just some examples, and we remain open to all suitable ideas from genuine clients:

  • IoT deployable smoke sensing pods
  • Adaptions to fire vehicles or fittings that improve operational effectiveness or safety
  • Products or systems that increase the ability of homes or buildings to withstand fire

We’d love to hear more ideas. For more information or to confidentially discuss your idea, please contact us at Cobalt on +61 3 9320 2200, or email sales@cobaltdesign.co

Image courtesy of: https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/image/10646

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Green and Clean

Cobalt Goes Green and Clean in 2019

2019 brought along a myriad of upgrades within Cobalt; enabling us to better respond to our clients, increase work efficiency and freshen up our studio’s design. From solar panels to new software, we head into into 2020 full tuned.

Our upgrades began earlier in the year with a major eco overhaul. Sparked by our belief that design should be socially responsible, we had long wanted our building to have as small an environmental footprint as possible. Our North Melbourne office now proudly sports a 12kw, 39 panel array of solar panels, an ultra-efficient HVAC system, extensive sealing and insulation works and new LED lighting throughout the building.  These works have already effectively reduced our daily energy consumption by up to 45%, and we are on track to exceed our original target of being 50% self-sufficient in power. This was all made possible by our collaborations with Sustainable Australia Fund and GenesisNow, who enabled us to rise above the previous hurdles we had faced with our building’s location and infrastructure.

Apart from lower environmental impact and power bills, the result of our eco upgrade is greater comfort, better lighting with the consensus from our team being overwhelmingly positive.

Once our major energy efficiency upgrade had been completed, it was time for the front-of-house to receive its overdue refresh. Our reception area had been an interim measure for far too long – project work always taking precedence. Additionally, the need to accommodate more staff in 2019 was what ultimately compelled us to upgrade the front end of our office.

The vision was simple – keep it clean, modern and undeniably Cobalt. After a rapid three week facelift, the space was transformed from simply serviceable to inspiring. Each element was carefully considered to ensure visual harmony, continuity and a seamless transition from old to new. Driven by our team members Mark, Len and Nathan, the biggest change was the relocation and re-design of the main reception desk. The ‘hello desk’ now corners off a new hub, housing the admin and marketing team together for boosted efficiency.  The smarter use of the space also enables us to accommodate 2-3 more staff, with better storage and access across the office.

But perhaps the most striking element of the renovation is the new feature wall created by Len. Covered in a 3.2m wide custom perforated metal panel, a bold first impression is created as visitors ascend the staircase from our lower level. Built into the wall is a backlit ‘Cobalt’ sign, in which we have the ability to dictate the colour, brightness and speed of the transitions at the touch of a button. Better yet, above is a cut-out of our logo with an LCD monitor behind.  Through the day this gives us the unique ability to display a countless number of visual references and textures that influence our work.

Updating our office in 2019 has been great opportunity to also shuffle the team around into a new layout, ultimately increasing productivity within project teams and prompted our staff to collaborate with new people.

We were blown away with the time and effort our team put into the renovation, with a special mention to Mark (for spending a big portion of his own time on the project), Len (for bringing our vision to life) and Nathan (for coming back to help us out).  

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dermapen

Dermapen 4 featured on 10

Dermapen 4 design featured on Channel 10 – Australia by Design: Innovations

Winner of a 2018 Good Design Award and a finalist in the Premiers Design Awards, the Dermapen 4 (DP4) has set an outstanding new benchmark in dermatology. As the only digital, vertical micro-needling device in the world it was fitting to be featured in the ‘Australia By Design – Innovations’ television series on Channel 10.

In the segment, Dermapenworld CEO Stene Marshall demonstrates that the DP4 is a leader in med-tech innovation. Oscillating its 16 needles at 120 times per second, the device improves the efficacy of skin treatments and resolves traditional handling and calibration limitations faced by other devices. Its increased effectiveness in drawing collagen to the skin surface means a wider range of skin issues can be treated, including scars. It can be used for both cosmetic and plastic surgery treatments.

Cobalt designed the DP4’s form to be truly ergonomic. Its large graphic user interface (GUI), angled head and cordless operation ensure balanced and secure handling. The world-first dual seal cartridge also prevents fluid entering the pen internally and externally, strongly reducing the risk of cross contamination.

Uniquely, the DP4 speed and depth is adjusted electronically via buttons and it’s the first micro-needling device with automatic calibration. This ensures optimal and accurate needle depth for each patient, skin surface and type of treatment. Additionally, the buttons allow for greater interaction through gloves or hygiene sleeves. Other micro-needling devices on the market require manual operation for depth adjustment, usually by turning a dial. This alone is problematic, as incorrectly set needles can cause unwanted damage to the skin.

Dermapen wanted more than simply a ‘new iteration’ of their market leading products. With rising pressure from their competitors, they wanted to raise the bar for micro-needling tech, positioning themselves ahead of the crowded market they created — and with a little help from Cobalt, the DP4 has become the new industry standard.

Watch a snippet of the Dermapen segment below or see the full episode here.

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Animation Reel 2018

Cobalt Animation Reel 2018

If a picture tells a thousand words, an animation’s capacity to communicate is infinite. With the Cobalt team busy working on over 20 projects at a time, it’s nice to take a step back at the end of each year to collate some of our favourite project assets into one epic animation; telling the story of a year (or more!) gone by at Cobalt. This highlight reel below features:

Cylite HP-OCT Instrument

A revolutionary ocular imaging and measurement technique that overcomes issues of motion artefacts or data error resulting from patient eye movement during OCT imaging. The HP-OCT (Hyperparallel Optical Coherence Tomography) instrument integrates Cylite’s patented imaging technique into an OCT device delivering industry leading scan rates, fully automatic operation, and high resolution data capture.

V Patch

Designed by Cobalt in conjunction with VPMS, ST&D and world renowned bio-engineer Professor John Anderson, the sophisticated V-Patch technology platform analyses, stores and reports on a patient’s vital signs (such as ECG, respiration, blood pressure and oxygen levels, temperature and movement) using advanced patented biosensors, proprietary RF technology and cell-phone hardware.

EyeSonic

The EyeSonic range of headwear provides an unparalleled user experience, combining total ear and eye protection – a safety industry first. Patented flexible band configurations and geometry accommodate all headwear, creating endless future potential.

ADT3

The third-generation Alcohol and Drug Testing Vehicle (ADT3) was designed by Cobalt and winner of a 2018 Good Design Award. It comprises advanced safety standards as a workplace for officers as well as public and road users, and the interior maximises space and accessibility. It includes private interview rooms, a transformable crew amenities area, as well as a secure stowage of specialised blood testing and emergency response equipment.

Dermapen4

The Dermapen 4 is the first truly digital micro-needling device, improving the effectiveness of treatments and resolving traditional limitations, such as power-cord handling issues, calibration difficulties and potential cross-contamination prevention. The DP4 is also the first micro-needling tool capable of performing scar-treatments.

KeepCup – Changing Behaviours

Over recent years, global movements inspired us to reflect on what KeepCup meant to us. Our response was a thought-provoking, concise and engaging 3D animation which we produced ourselves as a positive contribution to the zeitgeist. We sought to convey an emotive story about the positive social and environmental impact KeepCup has made over the past decade – same habit; smaller footprint.

Heartsine

The Samaritan PAD 500P defibrillator is the most innovative device available to support rescuers by providing feedback on the effectiveness of their CPR efforts in real time. The small size, weight and affordability ensure this product is a front runner in the field today. The defibrillator is intended for use by non-medical users and professional rescuers in domestic environments – cases where a cardiac arrest has occurred out-of-hospital.

Internal Projects – F1 Helmet

Cobalt’s Stealth Helmet concept twists the tradition of a typical F1 helmet, hinging open at the back to fit from behind the driver’s head. This allows for a smaller opening with greater comfort around the jawline. The large rear-hinged visor tightly & securely locks the helmet into position around the driver’s head, and reduces the need for over-sizing.

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reception refresh

Reception Refresh

Cobalt HQ’s Reception Refresh

With Cobalt’s major energy efficiency upgrade recently completed, it was time for the front-of-house to receive an overdue refresh. Our reception area had been an interim measure for far too long – project work always taking precedence. Additionally, the need to accommodate more staff was what ultimately compelled us to upgrade the front end of our office.

The vision was simple – keep it clean, modern and undeniably Cobalt. After a rapid three week facelift, the space was transformed from simply serviceable to inspiring. Each element was carefully considered to ensure visual harmony, continuity and a seamless transition from old to new. Driven by our team members Mark, Len and Nathan, the biggest change was the relocation of the main reception desk. Visitors are now welcomed at a new angled ‘hello desk’, featuring strip lighting, timber accents and a parcel ledge. Our design for the Zgo monitor arms, can also be seen supporting the ‘hello desk’ monitors.

The ‘hello desk’ now corners off a new hub, housing the admin and marketing team together for boosted efficiency.  The smarter use of the space also enables us to accommodate 2-3 more staff, with better storage and access across the office.

Bold new carpet tiles give a huge visual lift to the front third of the office, and a custom feature wall separates work spaces from reception, providing visual security from the waiting area. Outside the kitchen a large blackboard has been incorporated into a wall, allowing staff (and visitors!) to express themselves in multiple shades of chalk.

Created by Len, the new feature wall is the most striking element of the renovation. Covered in a 3.2m wide custom perforated metal panel, a bold first impression is created as visitors ascend the staircase from our lower level. Behind the metal a dark mirror finish peeks through. Built into the wall is a backlit ‘Cobalt’ sign, in which we have the ability to dictate the colour, brightness and speed of the transitions at the touch of a button. Better yet, above is a cut-out of our logo with an LCD monitor behind.  Through the day this gives us the unique ability to display a countless number of visual references and textures that influence our work.

Updating the reception also offered a great opportunity to shuffle the team around into a new layout, which has ultimately increased productivity within project teams and prompted our staff to collaborate with new people.

We were blown away with the time and effort our team put into the renovation, with a special mention to Mark (for spending a big portion of his own time on the project), Len (for bringing our vision to life) and Nathan (for coming back to help us out).  

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WOC

The Women of Cobalt – International Women’s Day 2019

This year’s International Women’s Day has inspired us to acknowledge the wonderful women at Cobalt. 2019 marks Cobalt’s highest female participation-level ever, with women making up almost 50% of Cobalt’s staff.  While this is a feat in itself for the industry, what should be celebrated most is the strong work ethic, positive attitude and multi-disciplinary skills that have led them to the positions they’re in today.

According to recent statistics, only 15% of engineering-based graduates are female in Australia. While these numbers are increasing, a large disparity remains between women who graduate from these qualifications and those that make a career of it. Consequently, when it comes to senior roles in product design and mechanical R&D engineering there is a deep lack of female representation.

Comparing these figures to Cobalt’s team dynamics, our balance is a rarity. From admin to engineering, our women are kicking goals not only in their projects, but for female representation and leadership within our industry. Their roles span across project leadership, product engineering, design, admin, finance, marketing and UX strategy.

Cobalt was founded on a culture of teamwork and respect. Our unique strength is the collective of every one of our people; so Cobalt’s diversity and inclusion makes sense in producing outstanding design results. Our shared vision, passion and cohesion creates an environment that invites our team to be their best.

When asked what drives them, the women of Cobalt said that the “sense of achievement when seeing a physical outcome succeed” and “achieving things other people couldn’t” is the motivational force behind their work. But ultimately, what inspires them is the “energy, motivation and passion” of the team and knowing that “the world is better for someone, somewhere because of what we do”.

This ‘can-do’ supportive attitude has been the key to our past successes and current capabilities, building upon the achievements future teams will aspire toward. And there’s no doubt that the women of Cobalt have stepped up as role models for those within the field and those entering it, contributing to a stronger female representation within the industry. We look forward to what heights they will reach next, confident they can do anything they put their mind to.

(Mary and Victoria absent from main picture).

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