2012 Project Task
The partner company in 2012, Suman, provided the following information for the students of EGPR 2012 to start from:
1. Problem definition
The market for awnings, parasols and blinds is extremely large especially in countries with warm climates such as Mediterranean area. The portfolio of parasols manufactured by Suman d.o.o. is ranging from small and light beach parasols to a large commercial parasols and pub umbrellas. Majority of users of products manufactured by Suman d.o.o. are pubs and restaurants who are supplied with parasols and awnings through large beverage chains such as Coca Cola, Beer manufacturers etc. These advertising parasols are owned by the beverage chain and are delivered and installed either by Suman's service department or by companies employed through the beverage chain. Apart of standard use of parasols for protection from sun in pub and restaurant gardens there is increasing demand for their use for alternative applications: For protection from rain, as outside smoking areas (very rapidly required by legislation in all European countries), outside bars for festivals etc. Additionally, they find extensive use in households and other applications not mentioned here. Although parasols have been used for centuries for protection from sun, with advent in design methods, new materials, manufacturing process Suman d.o.o believe that it is possible to rediscover their use for new applications and enable easier installation and maintenance. The company wants to take leading position in the Mediterranean area, to set trends within the industry, to comply with the demands of the growing market of such equipment and to take a competitive edge in the manufacturing of their products.
2. Project task
With the EGPR 2012 project, Suman d.o.o is seeking for solutions which will lead to increased business opportunities for their existing products in new markets and development of new products which will improve installation, maintenance and manufacturing process. The students are required to perform structured engineering design process. It should include comprehensive market research, conceptual design resulting with at least three concept variants produced by each group, detailed design as well as manufacturing/assembly of prototypes. The project will finish with the closing workshop where prototypes will be assembled and tested to customer requirements.
3. Areas of interest for the company
There are many possibilities for the realization of the project and Suman would like students in the first phase of the project to evaluate options which will lead to the maximum increase in business. This will then lead to clear definition of a project task for each individual group.
Among other possibilities, Suman d.o.o believe that improvements can be made in following areas.
1. The first area of interest is the use of their standard parasols (MAGNUM) for application as bar, smoking area or protection from rain which in that case may be used during whole
year. Company has already made a product design for this application but it did not have the expected impact in the market and therefore they are considering redesign which will
increase it's sales. The aim of the project may lead to:
- Developing methods and means for assembly of the whole construction including side
- panels and bar boards.
- Reduce size of elements
- Convenient transport packages
- Means of attaching to various surfaces (grass, concrete, sand…)
- Making the modular system of several individual units
2. In addition company would like to improve ease of installation and maintenance of their
parasols. Namely, in order to install parasols in new areas it is necessary to easily and
cheaply deliver and assemble the base which will securely keep the parasol in place and
allow flexibility in maintenance. Standard parasols manufactured by Suman are size
300x300cm to 400x400 cm. Usually the base is concrete block with a pipe embedded in the base to allow insertion of the parasol. These are of substantial weight of more than 60 kg and often of very inconvenient shape for transport. These also require tools for installation.
It would be ideal if the parasol base would be:
- Modular with simple assembly procedure with no requirements for tools.
- Maximum weight of each part is easy to carry by one person.
- Convenient shape and size for transport
- Reduced material and cost of manufacturing and use of new materials
- Reduced storage space
- Used for some additional applications other than just to hold a parasol, for example
- beverage chillers, holders for gas bottles for external heathers …
3. The current project (COBRA) is a parasol with a main holder on the side of the parasol. It allows more space and better accessibility to space below the parasol. However when not in use it obstructs the view and distracts arrangement of tables and equipment below the parasol. There are several solutions for this problem available in the market but Suman is looking for a novel means of resolving this problem. Usually the space above parasols is not limited. They expect that with resolution to this problem they may have the best option for increasing business. It would be preferable if the opening/closing operation will be provided both manually and automatically.