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Australia's well-known producer of household appliances exceeds consumer expectations with a start-to-finish, NX-based digital product development process
Breville needed to accelerate new product development while maintaining its reputation for visionary design, outstanding functionality and commitment to customers.
Breville, a maker of household appliances, is to Australia what Hoover is to the United States. Australians are more inclined to ask for a “Breville” instead of using a generic appliance term, much the way Americans reach for a “Kleenex” instead of a tissue. Breville, established in 1932 and owned since 2001 by Housewares International Pty Ltd., has been recognized as a design innovator. Its electric wok, sandwich press and blender have all won Australian Engineering Design Awards. The Breville Juice Fountain is on display in Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum as a showpiece of Australian design skill.
At Breville’s Centre of Design Excellence, product designers work hard to maintain the company’s outstanding reputation as they create products for blending and juicing, cooking and steaming, grilling and frying, processing and mixing, toasting and snacking, and kitchen extras. In the past, industrial designers styled product concepts in clay. Communication with suppliers relied on physical prototypes and 2D drawings. Prototypes took weeks to manufacture, and communication about design intent was open to incorrect interpretations. In an attempt to bring greater speed and accuracy to the product development process, Breville implemented NX™ software for a start-to-finish digital product development environment that supports the company’s visionary design philosophy.
Richard Hoare, design director at Breville, explains how the process works. “Ours is a unique way of working in that we combine traditional design engineering with industrial design,” Hoare says. “Our designers are all equipped with NX industrial design and styling solutions, enabling them to design and define complex freeform surfaces while refining internal component details. At the same time, we are supervising the engineering input from our factories – with NX files being sent back and forth between organizations over the Internet. This is not only more accurate, it also ensures correct interpretations of design intent.”
When an item is ready for prototyping, its CAD file is easily transferred to the in-house rapid prototyping machine, which extrudes a full-size physical prototype in ABS plastic in a matter of hours. “The definitive advantage is that once we have the data in NX, we are dealing very directly with our factories and toolmakers,” Hoare continues. “We are locking in on fully resolved, production-ready component CAD files much earlier rather than saying to a supplier: ‘Here, take these partially resolved components and make them work.’ In this way NX is enabling us to rapidly improve the resolution of each product and allowing changes along the way with the consumer vision in our minds.”
The Breville Juice Fountain (and its commercial equivalent) provides an example of how NX’s seamless technology approach supports Breville’s complete development cycle, from concept to the creation of manufacturable surfaces. Because the juicing and blending market segment was growing rapidly, Breville targeted this product line as an important one to streamline with an NX-based process. During concept development for the Juice Fountain, NX was used to implement generational changes inspired by customer feedback and in-house research and development. For example, consumers wanted the convenience of a juicer that could accommodate whole apples rather than slices, so that capability was incorporated into the Juice Fountain’s design. NX was also used to optimize pulp flow in the lid chute. Rapid prototypes were tested in working juicers, modified and the resulting surfaces re-digitized back into the original 3D file.
The capabilities in NX meet all of Breville’s modeling needs, according to Hoare. As a result, product development cycles have been reduced from years to months, enabling faster time to market and lower operating costs. The company also experiences much faster and more cost-effective prototyping since implementing NX. Breville has been able to shrink the time it takes to make a physical prototype to less than 24 hours. The company has tripled the size of its design team in the last two years to meet ensuing growth.
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Breville, a leading manufacturer of household appliances, has won design awards for a number of its products.
"In the past, 2D drawings and physical models were passed between us and our factories. With NX, we now use predominantly technically precise 3D files transferred by internet."
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