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Obstructive sleep apnoea solved

Challenge

Translate an idea into an actual solution.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is diagnosed when throat and tongue muscles relax abnormally strong and block the air flow during sleeping. This disturbance not only causes snoring but briefly wakes up the patient as a result of a short suffocation panic. OSA is the most common sleep disorder and it affects over 300,000 people in Belgium alone. Nyxoah’s therapy consists of a tiny neurostimulator implanted in the chin area. The system stimulates the tongue nerve. This keeps the upper airway open throughout the night, avoiding sleep apnoea.
Evidently, the most important part of the system is the implant itself. We designed the method how the implant is anchored to the tongue muscle in a stable and reliable way. In close collaboration with involved surgeons, we developed – during various prototype stages – the optimized surgical tool to improve the reliability, speed and usability of the implant positioning.
How it works

Disruptive solution requires discrete and minimally invasive surgery

The system that the Belgo-Israeli start-up Nyxoah has developed is compact and requires a simple implantation, just under the chin of the patient. This implant directly stimulates the tongue muscles when needed. This keeps the upper airway open throughout the night. The implant itself is wirelessly powered by a small activation chip that the patient wears under the chin on a disposable patch while sleeping.

Charging during the day gives you a good sleep at night

Since most of the complexity lies in the activation chip, the implant is kept simple, giving it a long lifetime. While Nyxoah mastered the required technology, they needed a partner to help create a complete system that guarantees a user-friendly approach for patients, doctors, and surgeons.

Making it easy for all users

Our designers and engineers developed a new solution to charge the implant and wear the device during the night. As a side effect, our designs are patented and are now an important element of Nyxoah’s IP.

Patient confidence through an intuitive user interface

The requirements of the digital interface had to have two main functionalities: continuous and discontinuous pulsing. One big button was provided to set parameters in function of the patient needs. Once the pulse has been given, the display highlights the working of the pulse and provides visual feedback to the operator. We were able to obtain these findings by testing and prototyping our designs by wireframing, clickable prototypes and user insights.
The result
The result is a minimally invasive, compact, comfortable, effective, and affordable solution for patients who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. This game-changing idea immediately gained worldwide recognition, as it won the Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Leadership Award (2014) as well as the World Technology Award (2014).
Generating ideas with a 360° view resulted in a simplified usability. This contributed to the shift from a medical device to a user-friendly product.

Adi Maschiach

Co-founder Nyxoah
Nice to be part of a small international team that is challenging every design detail to create a true breakthrough innovation.

Tim Ruytjens

Senior Manager Industrial Design

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Smart eyewear that increases visual comfort

Challenge

Auto-focus eyewear

At a certain age, our eyes tend to degenerate. Eyeglasses are the logical answer to this problem. However, we catch ourselves constantly looking above and below our glasses when looking at objets close up. Alternatively, we buy a pair of multifocal lenses and narrow our field of view. Morrow wanted to transform this multifocal eyewear to increase the level of visual comfort. This translated in a revolutionary smart eyewear that can change focus between near and far distances with just a push of a button.  
Approach

Smart lens

The team of Jelle De Smet and Paul Marchal from Morrow developed a new kind of smart lens with a layer of liquid crystals that makes it possible to change the index of refraction by an electrical current.
The Achilles team was responsible for the integration of the electronics, visual design of the 3D-printed frames, and the usability of the eyewear. We helped Morrow bring their revolutionary smart eyewear to the market.
The result
The resulting eyewear is ultralight, very comfortable, and easy to use, giving maximum flexibility to the user. Back and front surfaces can be tailored to the visual needs of the customer.  Highest quality coatings offer outstanding anti-reflective properties and premium-class durability. Investing in comfort and looks.

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Optimal comfort at lower energy cost

Challenge
The innovative dynamx™ control valves regulate energy flow to bring the right amount of energy to the right place at the precise time. Water supply (warm and cold) is continually adjusted to maintain the preferred comfort level in each room. Energy is conserved  in this way, by using only the necessary amount of water. Consumption and energy performance can also be tracked by room or floor, and alarms can be automatically triggered in the event of a problem.
Achilles has taken care of the usability, assembly, modularity, design, prototyping and supervision of the pre-production, up to and including the production of the injection molds.
Common design language
As is ease-of-use for both installer and operator, the design is also a breakthrough in the industry. The blue ripples on the surface reflect the function of both water and energy waves. Attention is drawn to the utilitarian value more than to the logo, although its sleek and clean design is still refreshing to the technical world.
Product architecture

Modularity

The product line includes a motor and sensor unit, to be used independently or in combination with one another. Both are modular so they may be configured in function of application: with or without built-in displays, the input of additional external sensors, or wireless communication to read the field data. The dynamx valve is available in different flow ranges in order to enable optimal sizing. Our dynamx valves are designed to accurately control the flow through each consumer. All dynamx valves can be integrated smoothly into each Building Management Systems or they can also be implemented as stand-alone devices.
Digital design
We also designed dxLink™, an associated application that greatly simplifies installation and maintenance. It allows remote commissioning and/or re-commissioning for the Dynamx-units. Thereby the commissioning of the Dynamx-unit does not require intervention on site, but can be executed in a central site/location.
Engineering
Modularity with the least possible number of injection molded parts and to be linked to standard purchasing parts (such as engines and a large variety of valves). Cost saving is a very important theme since contracts very often come through public procurement.
The result
Dynamx substantially simplified the installation and the activation of each component in itself as well as the entire system. This was achieved through an integrated approach and carefull design of every relevant element (e.g. snap system, position indicator, accompanying app, etc.)

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A new world standard in laboratory tube sealing

Challenge

Increased productivity in the laboratory

Terumo BCT wanted to update their T-Seal Tube Sealing Device with an emphasis on usability and efficiency. The new unit needed to take up as little work surface as possible and be quickly interconnected with multiple devices when needing to seal off numerous inline blood samples. This partnership led to a device that not only met these criteria but also boosted productivity in the lab environment and increased sales for Terumo BCT.
Our user-centered approach quickly helped us understand how the technician works in a busy lab and where the challenges lay trough the workflow.
The solution

A more intuitive and compact seal unit

A folding spacing leg can be used to place multiple sealing units next to each other at precise intervals to create different samples. Sizing down the T-SEAL II device allows closer placement for more sealed units, using up less workspace. Data and power can be shared between the units trough cable connections. This ensures that the sealing only happens at the optimum moment, limiting the risk of having a bad seal.
The result
The T-SEAL II is focused on usability. By looking at the individual actions needed and distilling them down we were able to shave off time needed to create sealed blood samples. In a busy lab environment that can drastically increase productivity and decrease fatigue for the users. The simple, integrated, and elegant spacing solution was a revolution in the market and led to an increase in sales and market share for Terumo BCT.
The unique design of the T-SEAL II has become the worldwide standard today

Filip Paeps

R&D Manager Terumo BCT

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User-Centred Design of an Anaesthesia device

Challenge
An Anaesthesia device is a crucial device in an operation room.  Its design needs to be functional, easy to use and – most importantly – reliable in all circumstances. Medec wanted to develop their new anaesthesia device and consulted Achilles Design to guide them through the development process.
We started our design project by analysing the actual usage patterns of the device. Various observations, stakeholder interviews and user scenario explorations therefore resulted in a system design that optimally fulfilled the user needs. Multiple loops of design, prototyping, testing and optimisation led to a functional, affordable, and aesthetic device design.
User-centred design

Getting insights in the process flows of anaesthesia

In order to start the design process, we first needed to get a solid and thorough understanding of the various stakeholder needs, predominantly the needs of the user itself. Being required to analyse, specify, develop, and evaluate the usability of this medical device in accordance with the ISO62366 standard, we focused on designing the product based on actual user feedback.
System design

Hands-on design approach

We mobilised all the creative ability of our engineers and designers and then combined the best ideas into a series of design concepts. From the overall product layout to different functional subsystems such as the valves, our engineers generated multiple functional prototypes that were intensely tested with respect to durability and reliability.
Engineering

Defining every bolt and nut

Extensive experience with multiple manufacturing techniques and assembly principles enabled us to develop a robust and reliable device, while keeping the cost of ownership to a strict minimum. We detailed and designed all mechanical parts for serial production. In close co-operation with the Medec team, we verified that all parts and (sub)systems would fulfil the required quality standards.
The result
Caelus is a compact anaesthesia ventilator with a surprisingly large working surface. The ergonomically designed trolley with plenty of working space and storage room enhances the comfort, while an 18.5” capacitive touchscreen shows all crucial information at a single glance. Its smaller brother, the Aeolus ventilator, is another device that was designed by Achilles Design. It reduces the cost of ownership to a strict minimum without any compromise on usability.

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Have you ever slept in a beehive before?

Challenge

Stackable sleeping cells that resemble a beehive

Aiming at providing festival visitors with a unique experience relating to their overnight stay, the social enterprises Compaan and Labeur imagined a concept of a stackable sleeping cell that resembled a beehive. They decided to join forces with Achilles Design after being selected for an innovation subsidy. The design team of Achilles Design then then began a full year of development, prototyping and testing to develop “The Honeycomb Hotel”.
Approach

Imagining and designing the honeycomb hotel

The design project kicked off by interviewing focus groups of festival visitors. Achilles Design then translated their expectations, needs and wishes into accommodation concepts. After consulting a vast number of stakeholders, including those responsible for safety regulation, we were able to work out an attractive accommodation concept that was both pleasant and compliant with the required safety and regulation standards for festivals

Trading your tent for more safety and comfort

Festival visitors are increasingly interested in trading their tent for a more comfortable and safer accommodation. B-AND-BEE offers a mobile, modular and stackable system, thereby delivering a unique user experience.
Prototyping and testing

Wooden prototypes

Prototypes were used throughout the whole design process. From early verification in carboard to full-scale, fully functional wooden B-AND-BEE’S.
The result
Winning a prestigious Henry Van De Velde Label 2015, B-AND-BEE is effectively a way to attend festivals and sleep comfortably and safely. Introducing B-AND-BEE, a mobile, modular and stackable sleeping cell that contains an experience like no other.
It was nice to get these prototypes into real-life situations such as the Gentse Feesten and test them with actual festival visitors.

Raf Schoors

Industrial Design Expert
A lot of effort went into the mechanical aspects: designing to meet standards and regulations to deliver a high-quality and safe prototype.

Tim Ruytjens

Senior Manager Industrial Design

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Cleaning polluted air with moss

Challenge

A modular moss panel that removes PM from the air

BESIX Group, the largest Belgian multidisciplinary construction group, joins the battle against air pollution in urban environments. Academic research indicates a high potential for natural moss to remove PM (particulate matter) from polluted air. BESIX Group contacted Achilles to work out a solution that takes advantage of this promising natural phenomenon. A modular system consisting of active panels was conceived which can be installed on wall next to congested roads, tunnel exits, construction sites,…
After testing a variety of irrigation and ventilation principles, Achilles Design created the system layout, designed the product and engineered the complete system. For a pilot project, several panel modules were assembled in-house and installed at a construction site in Leiden.
System architecture

Creating the optimal climate for the moss.

Only if the moss is kept in good shape, its full air-filtering potential can be unlocked. Elaborate experimenting and testing identified the optimal substrate, irrigation and ventilation. During this process Achilles Design converted the academic knowledge into a practical biosystem solution.

Building a system around the moss

The overall system architecture has a major impact, not only regarding the product cost but also with respect to performance, the ease of maintenance, modularity, durability, etc. That’s why we systematically considered different approaches of subsystem decentralization, component layouts and materialization.
Pilot project

Bringing ideas to a real life situation.

Quite early in the development, we had the opportunity to build an actual first pilot project in Leiden. The short timeframe forced us to make quick decisions and immediately bring ideas to reality, combining off-the-shelf solutions with a first production batch.
Digital design

Natural moss with IoT technology

The moss wall is packed with sensors to monitor all relevant parameters: the humidity of the moss, the PM concentration of incoming (= polluted) and outgoing (= filtered) air, temperature, etc. Through an online platform, we were able to manage irrigation and ventilation regimes and monitor the effect on the performance of the moss wall.
The result
The first pilot project with 45m² of moss is up and running. Close monitoring of the moss itself and the measurement of PM concentration will provide us with valuable information to optimize the design for future industrial upscaling. This project was subsidized by the Brussels-Capital Region Innoviris.

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New horizons in long term EEG monitoring

Challenge

Using the brain in the prevention of severe hypoglycemia

Hyposafe SubQ is a project dedicated to the prevention of severe hypoglycemia. The human brain, which lives primarily on glucose, begins to demonstrate recognizable electric patterns approximately 20 minutes before hypoglycemia. By continuously measuring the electrical activity within the brain, hypoglycemia can be detected, and people with diabetes get alerted before the situation becomes critical. When alerted, the patient can take the necessary action required to avoid hypoglycemia and thereafter adjust his/her glucose level to the appropriate interval.
The hyposafe SubQ technology allows to monitor your brain activity continuously. The challenge is to create a product that is only minimally obstructive as it has to be worn continuously. When designing the external device we had to make sure that the product is as invisible as possible, yet still able to interact with the user, especially when an alarm occurs. Being used 24 hours, the reliability of the product is of extreme importance.
Achilles Design took the lead in the mechanical design & engineering of the external device in close collaboration with Zenso who was responsible for the overall design of the external communication device and designed all the electronics, firmware and PC-based software from feasibility phase up to design and production. Focus on superior quality and reliability was key to achieve the Uneeg quality requirements.
Product Design

Slink design

The product consists of a tiny implant and an external communication device that is connected with the implant through an inductive coil. The final design of the external device is a highly miniaturized flat product that can be magnetically fixed below the patient’s clothes. The magnet has a circle shape allowing the patient to blindly find their way to the button positioned on the inside of his shirt. The optimized magnet will ensure a strong fixation allowing the user to be very active, perform sport etc. An auditory and visual alarm is given in case of a nearing hypoglycemia.
Engineering

Engineered for production

Achilles Design took the lead in all mechanical design & engineering, while Zenso was responsible for the design of the external communication device and designed all the electronics, firmware and PC-based software from feasibility phase up to design and production. Focus on superior quality and reliability was key to achieve the Uneeg quality requirements.
Future vision

And next...

The Unique Uneeg technology can be used to treat other diseases. Identifying the seizure burden for the uncontrolled epilepsy patient. Getting an objective measure of the individual patient’s epileptic seizure burden can be a challenge for the treating physician and it is crucial for guiding treatment. The UNEEG 24/7 EEGTM SubQ will offer medical professionals more accurate knowledge of brain activity and seizure – 24 hours a day.
The result
The Danish company Uneeg succeeded to develop a disruptive system for ultra long-term monitoring EEG. The UNEEG 24/7 EEGTM SubQ is CE marked and ready to offer medical professionals more accurate knowledge of brain activity and seizures. Thereby, physicians gain a solid foundation for optimizeing the use of medicine, thus improving the patients’ quality of life and potentially avoiding seizures altogether.

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Focus on Smart Safety

Challenge
Iristick wanted to create a pair of smart safety glasses for industrial use. It was imperative that the glasses were fully Safety Certified, passing strict regulations. The other unique selling points that Iristick wanted to bring to market included a powerful high-resolution zoom lens; they also wanted to leverage the computing power of smartphones rather than any possible onboard processing power, besides adjustable temples, and fully adjustable displays.
We transformed the client’s early specifications into a concept design through sketches, CAD, and early mock-ups, thereby translating the specific safety eyewear requirements into a light and comfortable design. During the whole process, we challenged every design idea against the end user’s needs as well as production requirements.
System design

Specifications become tangible

First of all, we had to create a comfortable pair of glasses, which the end user was willing to wear during an 8-hour work shift. In order to develop the wearing comfort, prototyping played a very important role in this project from the very beginning.
Engineering

World's first 3D printed safety glasses

The challenge was to design a product that combines lightweight comfort with high-tech performance, and to enable efficient larger-volume production. 3D-printing was chosen as the production method of the main body for these exact reasons. Our design allowed Iristick to go to market 8-12 months earlier than with traditional injection molded parts.

User comfort through patented technology

Stability of the display proved to be one of the most important details. We came up with a new type of mechanical joint for the display arm. This patented mechanism enables the user to put the display where they want it without worrying that it’s going to move while they are working.
The result
The end result is a Red Dot Award winning, lightweight, and comfortable pair of smartglasses that are also the world’s first 3D printed, fully Safety-Certified glasses. Iristick’s smart glasses transform the way operators work. The powerful zoom lens can scan barcodes from two meters distance, and the user can involve remote experts by sharing camera pictures and having a conversation. Voice commands or hand gestures allow the user to interact with his glasses.
We saw the immense potential of smart glasses that could meet the needs of an industrial environment. Achilles helped us to bring this idea to become an innovative and unique product.

Riemer Grootjans

CTO Iristick

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A premium cycling brand named after the most famous rider ever!

Challenge

Eddy Merckx

Every sport has its legends, but cycling has a living legend: Eddy Merckx, the most successful cyclist of all time, is the top authority on human powered speed. For several years, Eddy Merckx cycles maintained a strategic design partnership with Achilles Design to guarantee a unique design language throughout their entire bicycle range.
Achilles covered the full spectrum of design work by integrating solid industrial design with sleek styling. Achilles Design contributed its distinguished branding and refined graphic design capabilities, from integrating new trends in bicycle design to the graphic layout of the annual sales pitch.
Product design

Power under control.

Eddy Merckx Cycles wants to offer high quality bicycles for demanding racing cyclists. New models all have to fit a distinctive design identity, defined by technical requirements such as stiffness, compliance, geometries and UCI regulations. Complex surface modelling allows us to achieve a good tension between stiffness, stability and safety; technical features like cable integration, seat post clamps, and hardware mounts – all combined in an attractive design.
Brand design

Experience Eddy's racing spirit

All model names are linked to 1 of the 525 victories in Eddy’s incredible career. Each frame is developed around unique characteristics. The graphics should embrace the industrial design. Blending Eddy’s true racing spirit and future market expectations results into a differentiating appearance of each and every bike.
Prototyping

Make styling proposals that actually work.

Rapid prototyping of detailed CAD models is the perfect preparation for mold drawing and advanced composite lay-up technique. We translate functional and behavioral specifications into a manufacturable look and feel for the carbon, aluminum and steel frames of Eddy Merckx Cycles.
Applying graphics on a bicycle frame requires accurate shaping and dimensioning of decals or paint masks. We combine 3D models with hand on cutting and pasting to define attractive but feasible designs.
The result
A complete range of highest quality bicycles for demanding racing cyclists.

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Security as a design driver

Challenge
At the very core of Worldline is security and at the heart of their secure data flow sits Adyton: the Hardware Security Module or HSM. Adyton contains the software keys that are needed for decoding all kinds of encrypted information. Because this product contains very valuable information, high-end security is crucial. In this project, the challenge was to design a device that excels in security and performance (e.g. heat management) without any compromise.
Achilles defined the product architecture, followed by the mechanical design with the ideal match between protection, heat management and design for assembly. This project delivered a solution where technology, functionality, aesthetics and ease of use truly go hand-in-hand.
Product Architecture

Protective layers keep intruders out, but the heat inside.

To protect the product from being cooked inside its own skin, heat dispersion became one of the key factors in the design process. In the end, the inner module was so well secured, it was even impossible for the heat to escape. This specific topic required various design iterations, simulations and testing. An elaborate system of heat pipes, penetrating every protective layer proved to be the most feasible solution.
Mechanical Design

Form followed function. And vice versa.

Technology and aesthetics went hand-in-hand in this project. The heat management defined the form and the form defined the component layout. The outer casing, entirely made out of milled aluminum, resulted in a high-end aesthetic, with a lot of respect for the quality of the material and attention to details.
Engineering

Performance, aesthetics and production.

Close collaboration with the suppliers allowed us to deliver a mature design that was optimized in both performance, aesthetics and efficiency in production. We optimized every component to ensure a smooth manufacturing and flawless assembly process.
The result
The result is a product that once again meets the high Worldline standards. For this reason, it was awarded both a Red Dot Design Award & an iF Award.

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Increasing children’s safety in traffic with Virtual Reality

Challenge
Most people think of Virtual Reality (VR) as a tool that is made predominantly for entertainment. In this project, our client wanted to go even further, by using this tool to bring traffic education into Flanders’ classrooms. Aeroplane and Achilles joined forces with “Virtual Learning is Reality” to create VRkeer, a virtual traffic education game in which children encounter a series of traffic scenarios that contain vital safety lessons and directions. The game required a dedicated set of VR hardware that was easy to transport, setup in classrooms, and used by children.
Aeroplane (Achilles Design’s VR spin-off) was assigned with the creation of this virtual world and all of its characters, objects and challenges. They needed a dedicated controller to make the experience of riding your bicycle through a virtual word as authentic as possible. We designed a steering wheel that houses two Oculus Touch controllers and offers a manipulation similar to a bicycle handlebar.
Interaction Design
The Interfaces VR uses vary wildly from game to game. These interfaces operate in all 3 dimensions, allowing for new and creative interaction designs. Unfortunately, these spatial interfaces are often confusing for first-time users. Since the VRkeer education sets will move from classroom to classroom, we had to shorten the users’ learning curve as much as possible.
To lower the learning curve, we designed a VR interface that works in only 2 dimensions. The interface and controller handlebar are designed around the natural rotation of a bicycle handlebar. The handlebar rolls on top of the table with 4 rollers, allowing it to rotate freely around its center. This makes the navigation and riding experience feel very authentic to cycling. Once children wear the VR goggles, they intuitively know what to do and start climbing up their learning curve.
the result
The result is a 3D-printed handlebar with two Oculus Touch controllers that rotate freely on a desk. The controllers snap into place without the need for any additional tools and can be easily replaced in the case of a defect. The VR handlebars, together with the rift headset, are passed from classroom to classroom in a carrier case to educate children in an immersive but controlled environment on traffic safety. More information on https://vrkeer.app/

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Seriously streetwise

Challenge

The official FIBA 3x3 World Tour basketball backstop

When Schelde Sports, an ABEO group company, asked us to transform their SAM 225 Club basketball goal into a device that is fit for the FIBA 3X3 World Tour, we jumped at the chance to show them our skills on the court. In just a few weeks, we came up with the final product.
“The true challenge was to translate the wishes of the customer into a feasible design in a really short period of time.”
Approach

Training the innocent looking SAM 225 Club into its new tougher looks

It had to have enough muscle to stand up against all weather conditions, be safe and secure, and still be able to deliver the messages of the sponsors. Together with padding specialists Coolen from Eindhoven, and thanks to Schelde Sports’s expertise and know-how, our design was detailed to perfection and quickly realized.
“We made it real thanks to a full-scale prototype.”
Concept

A portable competition basketball backstop unit

This basketball tower is fitted with the SAM (Spring Assisted Mechanism) system, a Pro Action 180° dunk ring, an anti-whip net and a full set protection padding for front, sides, backboard and neck. It’s completely freestanding thanks to the integrated extra counter-weights, no floor anchoring required. It’s ideal for indoor and outdoor events thanks to its extra thick and strong paddings with urban look. It can be moved by 1 person and positioned using the APF (Automatic Pedestal Feet) system.
The result
Unique game, unique backstop! As a result of that FIBA chose Schelde Sports as their official partner for the FIBA 3X3 World Tour and all FIBA 3X3 World championships.
We are proud to team up with FIBA and become the official backstop unit supplier for the 3x3 World Tour and the 3x3 World Championships.

Bart Prinssen, ABEO

ABEO, Schelde Sports – Managing Director

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Manage your bicycle fleet

Challenge
Kipando believes that cycling is one of the key mobility solutions in a changing world of movement. Target is to increase the availability of bicycles through an electronic bike lock integrated with an online service that let bikers locate, and rent a bike. By focusing on the B2B market, the system had to incorporate several points of views from the various stakeholders.
Being a start-up, Kipando needed a partner with a proven track record in designing smart products as well as bicycles. They therefore joined forces with Achilles to develop their service solution. We had to combine strategic service design with state-of-the-art product design, engineering and digital design. We were responsible for the development and total project management.
Customer journey

Mapping out all aspects of the solution from the user’s point of view

We explored different product-service-systems and examined how they affect the use case scenario. Alterations in these product-service-system have a major impact on the user experience, the complexity of the device, the reliability and flexibility of the system and even the overall business model. For example, a GPS antenna in the lock could be great for locating the bike, but it would also consume a lot of battery power, require regular recharging, etc.
Mechanical design

Small, smaller, smallest

A major challenge in this project was to create a bike lock that can withstand brute force, and is still compact, lightweight and allow the bike to be safely locked. We came up with a patented mechanical solution that combines all requirements in a simple and reliable design and that can be easily attached on all standard bikes.
Prototyping

Functional prototypes to validate performance

Prototyping is generally very essential in product design, but it was particularly in this project. Early in the design process, raw prototypes gain insights e.g. on how easy a specific shape would be applicable on different bike frames. Further detailing of the design results in more advanced prototypes that allow verification of functionality and extra performance requirements such as water tightness, durability, etc.
The result
The solution is a bicycle lock that can be accessed either with a smart- phone app using BLE or phoneless with a keypad.. Need a bike? simply order your bike with your mobile phone, and with your mobile in your pocket you can access your bike with a simple push on the button!

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All-in-one sun protection system

Challenge

One system, one family

The construction business becomes more complex every day and architectural designs often create challenging window applications. For sun protection systems, being able to respond to every building situation is the key. The challenge here was to create a custom solution for every need… with one system. That’s what Harol clients really want.
Achilles took care of the product design, prototyping, engineering and validation of the entire product portfolio of the VZ family. By creating two base products – each with distinctly different options – the number of combinations and various application possibilities became almost endless. A clear focus on modularity was crucial. But also the possibility to expand the basic set-up with different options was an important part of the development.
User-centered design

Easy to install

Observations and interviews with trained installers helped us to define the most difficult, error-sensitive or time-consuming operations during the installation process. With that knowledge in mind, we designed a new product with a very straightforward installation process. All important technical components are easily accessible from the top of the product. This offers many advantages during installation and after-sales service. The prototypes that we produced in-house helped us to visualize and verify this new workflow. This led to getting the crucial feedback from technicians, installers, marketeers, etc. that made the design a success.

Virtual reality in the design process

Our partner Aeroplane helped us experience the product in true size, in a representative environment. Thanks to VR, designers and product managers could easily switch between configurations, materials and colors in seconds. This would be impossible in real life, or with illustrations on paper. At the same time, VR offered unique opportunities to visualize the mechanics and interactions between the parts. This can become a very useful training tool for installers to quickly gather insights in the construction and possibilities of the system.
Mechanical Design

Thinking of the big picture, while designing the details.

Designing a system is much more complicated than a single product. It requires a specific approach. The most difficult part is that every decision you make in the design on component level, can have an influence on the entire system. That's why it's crucial to keep the global picture with all its possibilities in mind, while you are working on the details. Good visualizations, 3D-CAD models and rapid prototypes can help to illustrate how all the different elements interact with each other. With a limited but intelligently balanced package of components, it's possible to build a complete range of products with a wide variety of dimensions and application situations.

A dream for architects. Rewarded by a jury of experts.

Apart from its versatility, the product stands out with a very clean, pure, compact and timeless design. Its clean lines and hidden screws, make the product blend easily in every building style from classic to modern. These functional and aesthetical qualities were quickly noticed by the experts in the field. In 2016 Z&R magazine rewarded the VZ-family as product of the year. 2 years later, it was one of the three nominees for the “Innovation Price” at R+T 2018, world’s leading trade fair for roller shutters, doors/gates and sun protection systems.  
Engineering

When the design is finished, the real work begins.

As you cannot verify everything in a 3D CAD model, a lot of effort went to real life verification. Multiple iterations of rapid prototypes, milled parts and first production batches were assembled to test, optimize and verify the design
The result
The results is a complete product family with a pure and minimalistic look, is straightforward to produce and easy to assemble. The basic system is also easy expandable with different options such as different support structures, LED lighting, additional screens (AIR)... but most important: it works great! even after 10.000 times of opening and closing. The VZ-range is like a Swiss army knife: it offers a solution for every need.

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Design & build of candle chapels

Context

Lighting candles

The Marian pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel has existed for over 400 years and remains the most popular pilgrimage town in the Benelux. Many pilgrims light a candle for the Virgin Mary during their visit. This age-old popular devotion is flourishing once more despite the erosion in support the Catholic Church is currently facing. Visitors light a candle in remembrance, to ask a question, or to reflect on something. There is a human story behind every lit candle. The votive candle chapels symbolize the union with Mary. People are not alone in their joy, their worries or their grief.  

Religious symbolism

Scherpenheuvel and the pilgrimage site in particular are permeated with "Marian symbolism". It is, as it were, a total work of art that emblematically shapes the symbolic vision of the Blessed Virgin. Urbanism, architecture, painting and sculpture each contribute to the project in their own way.
Challenge

To design contemporary solutions for a historical site

The pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel asked us to design new candle chapels to replace the old ones. A restoration of the old chapels was not an option since they had no historical value and, moreover, they were not part of a new overall vision for the revaluation of the Pilgrimage site. Our unique challenge was to re-interpret intimate historical design objectives and to revive them in a contemporary solution. Both the functional design of the chapel and the emotional experience of burning candles were central to this challenge.
Empathy is always central to Achilles' work. Empathy is the central key for every design thinker. In this case this means a far-reaching empathy with the pilgrims and the experience of "candle burning". And this by keeping in mind the functional requirements of maintenance and operation of the chapels.
Concept

Both their form and function are fully designed to provide 'a soothing encounter with Mary'

The construction is clearly divided between areas used by pilgrims and areas used for maintenance and service. There is a strict division between both main functions (front end and back end), meaning that quick maintenance does not interfere with the intimate and unmediated experience of burning a candle. The chapel also has clear instructions for its use built into its design. Special day candles were developed for the chapel. Thanks to the Marian crown at the top, they are perfect for burning outside. The cardboard lids serve as intention cards and enable people to share their stories with Mary.

Marian symbolism and integration

The pattern of the rear wall depicts a rosebush, the symbol of Mary, much like the arctic starflower and the private garden surrounding the Basilica. Thanks to the perforated rear wall, among others, the chapel fits in seamlessly with the private garden. The outer structure, made from weathering steel, refers to the ubiquitous ferrous sandstone on the site.
The result
The result is two beautiful and functional candle chapels that form a contemporary interpretation of an age-old Marian symbolism. Or just a beautiful place where hundreds of pilgrims experience an intense moment of reflection every day. An old ritual in a new jacket. Both their form and function are fully designed to provide 'a soothing encounter with Mary'.

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Reinventing the drinking bottle

Challenge

A modern and appealing drinking bottle that is fun to use

Kambukka hired us to develop trendy drinking solutions for people on the go that suit every occasion. By combining aesthetics with smart functionality, we helped them to realize a broad range of drinkware that fits everybody’s lifestyle and personality.
Approach

Together we stand stronger

To meet the needs of different kinds of consumers all around the world our product designers, branding experts and innovation consults had to work in close collaboration with the Kambukka management. Achilles Design accompanied the client in the whole process, from early sketches to industrial production.
Concept

A smart range of thermal and water bottles

We like to introduce you to Etna, Olympus, Elton, Lagoon and Reno. All of them fully leakproof, available in fashionable colors and providing a smooth drinking experience thanks to the patent pending product features.
Innovations

A lid for any occasion

Do you like your drinks icy cold on a hot summer day? Just combine a thermal mug with the lid of a water bottle. You can mix and match all bottles and lids to customize a perfect drinking experience.

Snapclean®

Snapclean® makes them very easy to clean. Just pinch and pull to remove the inner mechanism and prepare the lid for a thorough dishwasher cleaning.

3-in-1 lid

Slowly waking up behind your desk with your morning cup of coffee in hand is a different kind of setting than hastily knocking back an espresso on your way to your next meeting. That’s exactly why the 3-in-1 lid has multiple positions: 'push to drink', 'always open' and 'locked'.
The result
Don't think, just drink! At first, Kambukka launched its products in Europe, but later also in China, Canada, Russia and Australia. Effectively, Kambukka pushes the boundaries in an ever-growing market of reusable drinking bottles.
Starting with a rough concept of many loose ideas, we succeeded, together with Achilles, in not only omitting the superfluous, but also in making many difficult decisions. Slowly but surely Kambukka became a real brand with its own typical design language.

Sabrina Ruzzi

Marketing Manager Kambukka
There are too many products of inferior quality. We do not only work with high-quality materials, but pay attention to finish and ease of use.

Stijn Lowette

CEO Kambukka

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An award winning family

Challenge
“Plug & Play” devices are hardly ever as simple to use as we think they should be. Dymo wanted to bring some truth back to this often touted feature and they chose Achilles to help them on their way. It was up to us to give their new Label Manager PNP a fresh new design, along with the Label Manager LM420P, LM160 and LM500TS.
In this project, the Achilles designers used their product design, engineering and styling skills to create the LabelManager product family. Functionality, ergonomics, technology and aesthetics go hand in hand in these award-winning designs.
Common Design Language

Good designs don’t fall out of the sky. They are built on strong brand foundation.

Everyone can see that the Dymo LabelManagers are all part of the same family. That's not a coincidence. Every Dymo device is designed with their common design language in mind, which we have systematically documented. In this document, the core values are defined that describe the brand foundation, the actual 'DNA' of the company.  

Guidelines that help designers

These brand values are translated in useful design guidelines about styling, CMF (Color, Material & Finish) but also about user interaction, ergonomics, etc. to define what makes a true Dymo product. Basically, they help the designers to make the right choices in function of the brand, through the entire design process.
Product architecture

Size matters. On your desk and in your hands.

For a professional desktop device, it is important that the footprint is kept as small as possible. For handheld devices the size of the grip area has a huge impact on the ergonomics and user comfort.  

Designing with real dimensions

Therefore, at first, we did not start drawing flashy sketches, but we developed the right component configuration in 3D. After all, they will define the actual size, grip area etc. and in the end, the usability of your product. Once we had that figured out, the actual shaping could start. We needed to find something intriguing and playful without going crazy.
Engineering

Make styling proposals that actually work.

Achilles was mainly responsible for the styling, but we also took care of the phase 1 engineering, in order to make sure that everything was feasible and producible. After all, a fun shape isn’t any fun if it can’t be made.
The result
The result is a family of products with strong, iconic shapes and details. Clearly related, but each with its own personality. A set of desktop companions that are ready and willing to print out all the labels you need.

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Speed and quality in a league of its own

Challenge

Blending usability with performance

Xeikon developed a new digital label press that packs speed, versatility and quality like no other. Its top speed of 30 m/min makes the Xeikon CX3 the most productive 5-colour digital label press in its class. It is therefore, to some extent, a class of its own. This machine needed a top-class casing that reflects the state-of-the-art inside. That’s where Achilles came into the picture.
Achilles designed the casing and supporting frame of these machines. Through user-centered design, we gathered valuable insights to optimize the installation and workflow. We created a new look-and-feel that matches with the overall Xeikon style and engineered the casing and frame for mass production.
User-centered design

Changing the architecture of a device can save you installation time (and money).

By designing a completely new frame and rethinking the installation scenario (with some sophisticated engineering) we substantially simplified the setup, requiring less fine-tuning in the field. Setting up the frame and casing can now be done almost twice as fast!
User-centered design

Integrated interface taken to the next level!

Operators don’t sit at their desk all day. They walk around the production hall, performing numerous tasks. Therefore, we embedded the most crucial feedback elements (machine status and toner status) in the design so they are visible through the entire production hall.
Styling

A symbolic representation of the printing process.

The characteristic color break on the Xeikon machines is more than cosmetic. The light grey color resembles unprinted paper, where the red color resembles toner/ink. So when you look at the machine, you actually "see" the color being applied to the medium.

Clearly a member of the family.

Over the years we have helped Xeikon to create many breakthrough innovations. We’ve created machines that each have a strong personality but share a style that is unique in the market. Of course we were very proud to once again be their preferred partner in the development and design of this revolutionary machine.
 
Engieering

God is in the details, even on the inside.

Beautiful designs can only shine if the finishing is impeccable. That’s why we developed the sheet metal casings up to the very last detail. It is the best way to make the initial design intend come true, without compromises and continue the style everywhere even on the inside of the doors.
The result
The Xeikon CX500 is a new landmark in the digital printing industry. It’s a machine that company owners like to show off and operators love to work with!

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