Electronic Products & Technology

Disinfecting by design – OEMs want sterile products

EP&T Magazine   

Electronics Engineering Environmental design ecosystem engineering environmental

Design house delivers with experience in UV sterilizing, water and air purity enhancement technologies

With cleanliness standards integrating seamlessly into consumer’s lives, OEMs are turning to designing products that help mitigate pathogens and support cleaner daily habits.

Among the players within the design ecosystem seeking to ease that process, Design 1st, an Ottawa-based full-service product design-engineering firm has emerged as a go-to product design partner of choice for clients that deliver on this clean factor and others that are on a path to deliver new products that enhance air and water quality and eliminate pathogens to ensure the highest level of purity for the air, water and food we consume.

Design 1st announced it is successfully supporting the need for clients seeking product design partners with leading edge expertise in ultraviolet (UV) rays and other air and water purity technologies to support increased awareness in cleanliness among consumers.

Team of Computer Engineers Lean on the Desk and Choose Printed Circuit Boards to Work with. Source: Getty Images

From entrepreneur to enterprise customers, Design 1st lends assistance through all stages of the product design and development process. Lending knowledge on new tech, product usability, materials and engineering with component supply risks, global manufacturing expertise and diverse supply networks, to provide an end-to-end ‘idea to product’ service. One area seeing an uptick in design demand this year is the ultraviolet (UV) sterilization market.


Advanced tools to design new products

According to a research report analyzing the UVC Disinfection Products Market Outlook from 2021-2031, sales are expected to reach $30B+ by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 15.2% over the period. With Design 1st’s technical skillset in air and water filtration and UV technologies, they have become an ideal partner for companies looking to bring disinfectant solutions to market for personal, batch and continuous cleaning applications. Three dimensional imagineering of air, water and light flow behaviours requires experience and advanced tools to design new products in the sterilization markets.

“The global pandemic has ignited a shift in how people interact with everyday objects throughout their daily routine, from the air they breathe in a room, to the devices and surfaces they touch, to the food and water they consume each day,” said Matt Bailey, VP, engineering at Design 1st. “We’ve have been helping clients design and configure technologically challenging filtration and purification products for many years and it’s exciting for us to have the opportunity to tap into our deep experience in UV and fluid flow control to help turn these ideas into useful products for a variety of applications.”

Measuring air flow and sensing

Through the past year, Bailey says his firm been involved in the design process of multiple products that accurately measure air flow and sensing for multiple use cases. These include:

  • CalibreA real-time fitness metabolic tracker that helps you perform better and live smarter. A wearable device that measures breath flow and composition for tracking calories, fat burn and oxygen use anywhere and anytime, Calibre was co-designed by Design 1st to be comfortable, functional, aesthetic, and light. It includes multiple gas sensors to measure the composition and flow of inhaled and exhaled air, allowing it to measure dozens of biometrics with remarkable accuracy, including real time calorie burn rates, oxygen intake and the fat usage by your body. The data helps you know and influence how your daily routine affects your body.
  • Caframo: An award-winning hatch fan for boats and yachts that ejects stale hot cabin air in 30 seconds. Available in market, Caframo selected Design 1st to creatively design and deliver high-volume air flow for a yacht hatch fan with custom blade design to drive maximum air through the confined space of a boat hatch opening removing hot stale air quickly when it’s time to sail. The blade design required CFD finite element analysis as well as the fan having the ability to rotate out of the way for people to use the hatch to exit the boat. According to Mike Tettenborn, VP Engineering, Caframo, “Design 1st’s designers and engineers demonstrated the right creativity and technical understanding, managing the product design and testing process. The end result was an easy-to-install, powerful portable marine hatch fan, unlike any on the market.”
  • Rumidifier: A zero-energy low-cost humidifier device with no moving parts that sits on top of household forced air furnace vents and employs a water well and filter positioned to maximize air flow and provide humidification from the water well to the air stream. According to a company spokesperson, “I needed to transform the Rumidifier napkin sketch design into a working prototype and then a real product. As a first-time inventor, the importance of having a knowledgeable business-focused product development partner like Design 1st, is very clear to me now.”
  • Molecule USA, Inc. is a think-tank from Los Angeles that develops disruptive, impactful solutions for humanitarian aid and sustainability challenges. Today, Molecule offers a scientifically-backed water resilience technology that harnesses the humidity in the air — even in dry, desert climates — to provide a sustainable supply of clean purified drinking water regardless of location. Molecule selected Design 1st to conduct research and assist in the prototype development and testing for their new best-in-class line of Sorbent-Enhanced Atmospheric Water Generators.  “I did a lot of due diligence on product development companies and Design 1st had the deepest bench for technical capability,” said Kurt Francis, CTO at Molecule. “Design 1st’s early efforts in prototype development helped us move from our novel desiccant powder to embedded substrate and then with refinement and rigorous testing we continued on the path to our commercial products. Their design team are absolutely fantastic to work with.”



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