When they called on our product design consultancy services, GEC Alsthom had already started to lay out the basic concept for what would become the new, compact, Power Controls Limited M-PACT air circuit breaker mechanism.
Despite the fact that like many products in the capital goods market, it is often thought of as an unseen commodity item bought on specification alone, good external design can dramatically affect the customer's perception of such a product, in which most of the really innovative engineering is hidden from view. So to enhance perception of it as a purposeful, professional product, we designed an enclosure that has clean simple lines, clear well laid out controls, safety locks and graphics. Along with styling and ergonomics, we also had to address safety issues and the question of how to control access to the breaker and prevent unauthorised use, to protect engineers working down stream of the Breaker, this included allowing for workers using their own personal variety of locks..
While the company were developing the core of the breaker mechanism, we did the ergonomic and conceptual design study for the front panel and engineering analysis and materials specification for the operating handle, from which we built visual mock-ups and test rigs. By exchanging detailed CAD information, both breaker and front panel were able to develop in tandem. Engineering, ergonomic and styling changes were easily incorporated as the design quickly evolved and we were able to supply engineering drawings for the tooling and components that were all manufactured in UK.
M-PACT has been a great commercial success. The last word belongs to Phil Abbott, Power Controls' ACB team leader: "We have a world leading product which is innovative, compact and competitive - Goodwin Product Design helped us achieve all our goals."