Monday, December 19, 2011

Conversion Case Stories - Sink and Drink Table

Conversion Case Stories:  Sink and Drink Table

The founders of Liquid Games, LLC decided to take a popular game called beer pong and develop a better product than was available. Their concept was to take a traditionally boring concept – a standard folding banquet table with little or no graphics on it – and take it to the next level by introducing tracking neon lights, illuminated pockets to light up the cups, and other physical features that also included another popular game known as Flip Cup. The idea was not only to create a more enjoyable gaming table but also to make a table more suitable for bars and nightclubs. Their new table was a wood composite construction with internal LED lights that required hands-on skill in carpentry that they built in their garage woodshop. The new table was an immediate hit, and became a popular traveling fixture at local bars and parties, so they decided to commercially market their new table. Upon publishing their new website they were immediately faced with a problem every retailer loves to have – too many sales, and they immediately knew that they would not be able to keep up with sales by constructing each table out of wood. They needed to find a fabrication process and a company capable of converting the wood-constructed table to a medium-volume manufacturing product that could be produced a cost . . . . Plastic was the obvious choice and vacuum forming was the most advantages process due to low tooling and production costs.

Our first meeting involved literally setting up the table in our conference room and saying “How can we build this in plastic?” A comprehensive prototype program was laid out, and we immediately began designing the new generation “Sink and Drink” table. Within a week several designs were evaluated, and a final concept design was agreed upon. Our engineering team generated a solid model CAD assembly that consists of three vacuum formed ABS and clear PETG components and a CNC-cut PVC foam board panel. Upon approval of the concept photorealistic renderings generated from the solid model CAD data, “soft” tooling (wood molds) was produced in Techniform’s in-house tooling shop and first article vacuum formed samples were made. Upon approval of the prototype “Sink and Drink” tables, production temperature controlled aluminum tooling was developed and Liquid Game was able re-launched their website showcasing their new “Sink and Drink” vacuum formed tables within a few months of initializing the development program. The product won “Best Invention of the Americas” at the INPEX New Production and Invention Expo in Pittsburgh, PA, and was also featured on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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© 2011 Techniform Industries Michael Robinette

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