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PDD development never spins out of control

When PDD worked with the Hong Kong and China based R&D departments of Techtronic Industries, parent company of power tools brand Ryobi, the design studio's geographical proximity was just one advantage. The team's experience and expertise in battery driven tools also made a telling contribution to the project, ensuring the development of a high speed, high torque car buffer for a global market.

The designers had to overcome a number of challenges to manage the project successfully. For example, the team had to evolve Ryobi's established design heritage within the market for professional-grade battery driven tools while creating a product with worldwide distribution potential. It was also important to address the technical and ergonomic issues associated with a random-orbit sander such as this. Traditionally, buffers featuring a random orbital action are hard to control manually and require safe handling in any position. 

When buffing out specific spots on a car's surface, users have to be able to grip the machine with both hands and from any angle - without covering the air vents that prevent over-heating. In addition, users must not be able to touch the moving disk accidentally. On this machine, the disk spins at 10,000 orbits per minute to create a smooth finish, free of any detectable swirls. 

The design team also had to consider the positioning of the battery pack - restricted to the top of the unit - and a requirement for the buffer to withstand a two-metre drop test. This meant finding a compromise between the machine's portability, size, weight and robustness - within an overall design sympathetic to Ryobi's brand image. The team addressed the need for a simple and intuitive process for changing the sandpaper with a hook-and-loop sanding pad.

PDD's location, local language skills and experience allowed the designers to work closely with the R&D staff in Hong Kong and China. This helped the team to provide the appropriate design solutions, minimised the potential for details getting 'lost in translation' and ensured a swift development process.

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