Evolution of an icon

KeepCup created and continues to lead the global shift toward eliminating single-use plastic in favour of reusable coffee cups. And the new Thermal range is arguably the most functional and beautiful version yet. Thermal is the latest Cobalt-designed model in the KeepCup range, constructed from dual-wall stainless steel for keeping drinks hotter for longer.

As KeepCup’s first stainless steel product, this new kid on the block had a lot to live up to before earning its household name. First and foremost, the design had to retain the critical elements that make the original KeepCup so successful – barista standard heights and volumes, ergonomic tapered walls, and a subtle nod to iconic KeepCup design elements.

For the Thermal range stainless steel was an obvious material choice; its durability, thermal retention and purity of taste among the reasons why it is ideal for crafting into a reusable drinks vessel.

Stainless steel is also 100% recyclable, remains stain and odour free and does not readily degrade overtime – unlike its plastic counterpart.

To enhance the user experience, a velvety soft-touch finish was added to the exterior surface of the cup to resist slipping and provides a luxurious feel in the hand. Additionally, the combination of the press-fit lid and dual-wall stainless steel creates a vacuum sealed thermal insulation – keeping the heat and liquid contained within and preventing leaks.

Available in 3 sizes to tailor to a variety of consumer needs, the Thermal range highlights attention to detail encapsulated within a simple and functional form – important KeepCup qualities.

DESIGN OBJECTIVES

  • Provide high-performance re-usable solution
  • Showcase the stainless steel material
  • Incorporate iconic KeepCup design elements
  • Ensure each cup meets barista standards
  • Achieve compatibility with existing KeepCup overmoulded lid

COMMERCIAL IMPACT

  • Streamline entry to market
  • Increases KeepCup product offering
  • Utilises existing KeepCup parts
  • Sets a new standard in quick-fit lid products

FOCUS AREAS

  • Industrial Design
  • Product Engineering
  • Tooling Management
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • Production Quality Control
  • Consumer Product Design
  • Kate Bednarz
  • Josh Bell
  • Thao Nguyen
  • Steve Martinuzzo

Keeping our cool while keeping your coffee hot

To ensure Thermal met performance expectations, stringent testing schedules were created and conducted at multiple points across the manufacturing process. Testing procedures were developed to be objective and repeatable.

Testing included:

  • Product dimensional checks
  • Focused dimensional checks around rim (through the aid of jigs and custom, electronic measuring devices)
  • Leak testing
  • Hot-Water cycle testing
  • Product life-time cycle testing
  • Temperature performance evaluation (recorded via custom data logger set-up)

Testing was conducted on multiple samples during off-tool sampling, trial production, and initial production runs. All results were recorded in a concise manner to allow for quick comparison of results across these stages. This testing played an integral part in setting up quality control systems and standards for manufacture moving forward.

During the project’s development, a design challenge our team came across was how to make the new exposed stainless steel rim compatible with KeepCup’s existing press-fit lids. Working with a new material presented its own unique challenges, as stainless steel production techniques bringing many variables that needed to be considered. Ultimately, our thorough testing and carefully considered design iterations led to a final product that is as lovely to drink from (lid on or off) as it is to look at.

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