13-Jul-2010

Dispensing a challenge

Abstract

A new wiper dispenser, which cuts paper consumption by up to 40%, has boosted the sales of Kimberly-Clark's Roll Control industrial wipers

The paper is manufactured by Hothouse Product Development Partners and was originally developed for the European market. It has since been adopted worldwide. The dispenser and wiper designs were intended to prevent paper waste and have proven to do so in 30,000 different applications. Kimberly-Clark set Hothouse the challenge of designing the dispenser for its new industrial wipers which, dispensed off a centre feed roll, are delivered as separate sheets. The new dispenser had to complement this efficient individual-sheet feed design by offering maximum control, so that paper streaming and waste were minimal. The new dispenser also had to offer more and greater benefits over and above those offered by dispensers currently used in industry.

Design development Initially, the development of the dispenser was a concurrent approach as Kimberly-Clark was developing the wiper roll at the same time. Hothouse, therefore, had no way of testing its design with the actual paper. Hothouse began its research and development process through ideas and sketches, which then progressed through computer aided design (CAD) followed by the employment of a range of rapid prototype techniques. The loading mechanisms are unique as the top cover stays in place while the bottom door can be opened, enabling fast and easy loading. The wiper rolls can then be loaded up through plastic flaps, which only bend one way thanks to a design that uses special materials to take advantage of living hinge technology. This secures the roll and eliminates the need and cost for a locking mechanism because the flaps allow the roll in, but do not allow it to be removed. This loading system, combined with the centre feed roll, also protects the interests of Kimberly-Clark by preventing products from other companies being placed in the dispenser. The easy loading of the rolls provides convenience and saves time. A multi-fix plate at the back of the dispenser allows it to be either screwed or strapped wherever needed. Complementing the functional internal component design, the dispenser's external design and features are well suited to hygienic applications. The crevice-free contours and double-seal design make the dispenser ideal for withstanding the harsh conditions of kitchens and preventing the ingress of water. There is also no need to touch the dispenser, instead a new, clean wiper is made available from the bottom of the unit after the previous one has been removed, reducing the risk of cross contamination. Hothouse carried the dispenser design right through to its volume manufacture in Germany. Those in the food industry who have taken advantage of the new dispenser say it reduces waste and cuts consumption. "This new dispenser benefits both our clients and ourselves," comments John Green, category manager at Kimberly-Clark. "Hothouse's design is highly functional in many ways, there is also practically no risk of failure. It simply does the job effectively." The dispenser also offers users benefits such as security, convenience and hygiene. Originally designed for the European market, the dispenser has since seen take up in Asia, Australasia and South Africa.

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