Four years of development work with user studies,
prototypes and long-term testing resulted in a machine
with a new motor, sophisticated vibration dampening and
ergonomic handling. Through a collaborative effort
involving the market, technique and design, a technical
tool has been considerably improved with respect to the
job, the user, and the environment. The designer has
succeeded in integrating the parts into a new, elegant
whole. The Design Prize is motivated from the
environmental point of view, since the catalytic
converter reduces what would otherwise be large emissions
from this type of motor-driven tool.
The"keenest" Cobra protects the body"Cobra mk 1" is the name of the product that has received this years most prestigious Excellent Swedish Design award: the Design Prize. A bit cryptic, but logical, "Cobra" has become a synonym for Atlas Copcos fuel-driven breaker. The word has a sort of "vespa" effect and "mk 1" indicates that it is an innovation: an asphalt breaker with extremely low vibration levels in the handle.
This years Design Prize winner is far from being merely good design. It features technical solutions and a gigantic investment in product development: SEK 44 million is said to have been invested.
"It has been a lot of fun to work with Cobra mk 1," says Björn Dahlström, who has kept the project alive for four years. "Very much because I came in as a designer at an early stage, just when a comprehensive market survey had been completed. Since then I have worked with the engineers and we have tackled the problems together. We have balanced benefits and drawbacks with various design solutions."
A QFD (= Quality, Function, Deployment) analysis forms the basis of the Cobra mk 1. The most important goal was to reduce vibrations, which everyone previously thought were unavoidable when drilling or breaking. Today Atlas Copco Berema has patented a new vibration-dampening system developed in this project. The "answer" is located up in the attachment inside the machine: in the springs that keep the protective bar of the handle in place. They are located to obtain maximum vibration-dampening vertically, but optimal steering horizontally at the same time. It sounds simple. But the answer was naturally intricate.
Atlas Copcos ambitious effort is also reflected in the engine of the Cobra mk 1. There are many two-stroke engines on the market for lawnmowers, for example but none of them sufficed. The idea was to make something more user-friendly and adapted to the environment. Among other things, total emissions (exhaust, hazardous residues, etc.) had to be reduced to a minimum. The engine now has catalytic conversion and uses unleaded fuel.
Atlas Copco operates internationally; its products are not intended for Swedish users only. For example, the Japanese are often shorter than Swedes but, like us, they vary in height more reason, therefore, to have a handle that can be varied in height.
"Its a fantastic feeling to hold the Cobra mk 1 and at the same time see how it works," adds Björn Dahlström. "It has incredible strength but your arms dont feel it at all." Björn Dahlström is impressed by the work of the engineers. The Excellent Swedish Design jury was impressed by his work and that of all those involved.