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submitted by Standards Australia on 17.08.2006

Angelo and John Notaras. Inventors. Design Australia awardees.

Angelo and John Notaras. Inventors. Design Australia awardees.
Copyright (2006) Angelo & John Notaras

Atom Industries, Lawn Edger.

From:

http://www.designawards.com.au/ADA/99-00/INDUSTRIAL%20DESIGN/004/004.HTM

2.1. Product name
ATOM LAWN EDGER – World O.E.M. Model

2.2. Description
A powerful, fast, light in weight and highly manoeuverable powered lawn edger that can edge anywhere. *
Designed as an “Original Equipment Manufacture (O.E.M.) platform” it can be manufactured and fitted with a variety of engine brands to make different models.


2.3. Principal function(s)
*
To neatly trim the edges of lawns with great ease, with the ability to edge anywhere including curb and gutters, around tight corners, in places of limited space in very quick time and without having to carry the unit. By simply tilting the edger sideways, it can also edge along walls and fences, eliminating the use of whipper snippers. All this cannot be achieved by any other lawn edger in the world.
*
The Atom lawn edger reduces the edging time of the average house from around thirty minutes using all other brands, to around five minutes using Atom.
*
It also functions as an “O.E.M. platform” so it can be easily supplied to other engine manufacturers, and for other companies who require supply with different engine requirements.

2.4. Brief as given by client to designer
Not applicable.

2.5. Relevance of external form and ergonomic considerations
The light in weight compact construction and "wheelbarrow" action means there is no pushing heavy machinery and there is no bending or carrying by the operator (as required with other brands e.g.brushcutters and whipper snippers). The operator walks in a normal upright fashion. This enables people such as senior citizens or people with back problems to be able to edge their lawns without any strain on their body.

2.6. Aesthetics
The Atom lawn edger has a very modern streamline design as evidenced by the super strength polyamid casing and components. This high-tech polyamid design has never been achieved by any other manufacturer in the Outdoor Power Equipment industry.

2.7. Safety
Safety was paramount in developing this edger. Many safety features that are only found on the Atom lawn edger include: *
A fully enclosed blade guard.
*
A ground hugging debris deflector unaffected by wheel height adjustment.
*
An automatic safety clutch that only engages when the throttle is activated i.e. the blade will not spin at idle speed.
*
A safety throttle interlock by which the throttle can only be activated when pushing down on the throttle interlock. This prevents accidental acceleration.
*
The operator stands behind the machine well away from the blade guard protected spinning blade. The handle cross-brace also prevents the operator pulling the machine back on himself.
*
A fully enclosed transmission (no V-belts etc.) means safer operator use. The Atom lawn edger meets all Australian, EU and USA safety standards.


2.8. Design problems encountered and solved
Numerous problems encountered and overcome include the design of the following: Crown Gear and Pinion
Determining what gear ratio was needed. Numerous gear ratios were tested before the 3.5:1 ratio was decided. Also different types of gears were tested before we came up with the correct spiral beval gear with heavy tooth construction to be able to stand up to constant intermittent pounding by the blade, and rough use by operators.

Clutch Drum
Size and material of drum was determined by trial and error.

Main Drive Shaft
Firstly made with flexible joint connection then different types of rigid shafts which proved expensive to manufacture. Final design of the rigid shaft was made from ground stock exactly to bearing size. Bearing locations are ridges rolled in which eliminated drilling two holes and inserting roll pins or having to use circlips and machined circlip grooves.

Blade Shaft
Originally machined from hex bar and centreless ground - very expensive. By co-operation with cold form specialist we were able to have finished part produced (to grinding tolerances) at much reduced cost.

Combined Throttle Trigger Safety Interlock and Ignition ON/OFF Switch
This involved much design work as it is the first interlock safety trigger system designed to fit tubular handles. Several designs were made and tested before finalising the design. The later EU requirement for the ON/OFF ignition switch to be close to the operator's hand involved further design, prototypes etc. before finalising the design so that the ignition switch is incorporated with the trigger throttle system.

Anti-Vibration Handle
To minimise vibration transfer to the operator, several designs were made and tested involving shape and material. This new hybrid design with polyamid handle grips and steel tubing enables us to fit the edger into a smaller carton for container shipping. Also the throttle trigger system is moulded into the handle saving assembly time. All together considerable cost savings.



Another design problem over come, was making the two piece blade cover, wheel arm, height adjuster and debris deflector all out of a single die. A total of 9 parts are made in this die, with the blade lid interlocking with the blade cover without screws, but very stable. Cross-Blade
Patents applied for. Not only is the design new but also many problems had to be over come for its manufacture. We now manufacture this hardened spring steel blade without rivetting i.e. blades now interlock each other with formed spiggots and holes in the blade.

Polyamid Main Casings
These parts have been remarked by overseas designers and manufacturers as "works of art". Extremely tough (stronger than aluminium), many design alterations and prototype mouldings had to be made to achieve the final result. The glass filled polyamid casing material is specially formulated for us to achieve high strength without distortion under work load.

Multiple use Concentric Drive Bolt
Produced in volume by cold forging. Eliminates expensive machined internally sized and threaded hubs which had to be welded onto each clutch drum. The Drive Bolt eliminates welding. It is also used on one special model edger to be supplied by us to Little Wonder, a major and prestigious USA manufacturer, as a non-rigid coupling.



2.9. Important and innovative features
Design and production costs are paramount and this new designed lawn edger has major cost reductions to aid in mass production. A total of 97 fewer parts are used over our previous models and assembly operations have been reduced considerably. *
The "O.E.M. platform” can be manufactured with a variety of engine brands to make different models. Our own Atom branded models will comprise of a 31cc 2-stroke and a 26cc 4-stroke Ryobi engine. A 1360 watt electric motor will also be added to our range of models.
*
The "O.E.M. platform” is to be sold to other manufacturers who can screw on their own engine and sell it under their own brand name (see “Mantis” section 2.18 para.2), or manufactured complete by us (with engine attached) for other companies (with the engine and colour of their choice) with a “badged” brand name.
*
The unique breakthrough patented "wheelbarrow" design enables the operator to edge anywhere. Other edgers are limited by their designs which restricts where the operator can edge. The Atom lawn edger also has the ability to instantly tilt sideways to edge up against walls and fences.
*
The self locking (with stress slip relief) blade shaft is unique. No key, no keyway, no spline system, as are required on other brands. Added advantage is that the blade is very easy to replace compared to other brands.
*
The gearbox design is the worlds first high volume “plastic” gearbox working sucessfully under such hard and stressful conditions.
*
The safety throttle interlock with the throttle trigger control is a first for any lawn edger. As part of this throttle control system is also the on/off ignition switch.
*
Cross-blade interlocking system (see 2.8 cross-blade).
*
Incorporated in the hybrid handles is an anti-vibration system for operator comfort.
*
A 6 position height adjustment allows a cutting depth of up to 80mm (3") deep.
*
In use each Atom Lawn Edger can easily be transported and can fit into the boot of a small car. For storage, it can be hung up on the garage wall taking up very little room.
*
All our edgers using this “O.E.M. platform” (with or without engine attached) will pack into a very small carton, thereby packing more units into a container and minimizing export container freight costs.


2.10. What environmental considerations if any, were taken into account?
The Atom lawn edger uses small capacity engines (under 35cc) with a fully enclosed 3.5:1 gear drive transmission for positive transfer of power to the long blades. Many other edgers have large capacity engines (with 3 & 4 HP) burning much more fuel, and use belt drives that can slip. The Atom lawn edger is very fast to use, substantially reducing the time it takes to edge, therefore there is less engine running time and dramatically less fuel consumption. Fuel consumption and exhaust emissions are up to 90% less for the same job than that required (or emitted) by other lawn edgers.

2.11. Engineering considerations (if applicable)
The engineering considerations include those listed in question 2.8 above.

2.12. Software / electronics considerations (if applicable)
Not applicable.

2.13. Product life cycle
The Atom lawn edger is maintained in the same way as any other outdoor power equipment i.e. whipper snippers, brushcutters etc. However, unlike some other brands such as three wheel type, the blade can easily and quickly be replaced in the field with two spanners. Also lubrication of gears if ever necessary is a simple task of removing a “fill and bleed” screw and squeezing grease from a bottle directly into the gearbox. If cared for the unit has a life span of twenty five years and longer for the average home owner.

2.14. Do you have a patent or design registration for the product?
Patents Granted:

USA
5,826,667

Australia
678 575


Patents Pending: Japan, Europe and other countries. Design Registrations Granted:

United Kingdom
204 1668

USA
372,405

Australia
135,627

Japan
6-29252



2.15. Is the product currently being exported?
We have confirmed orders to the USA for delivery in early 2000. Customers in Europe have scheduled orders for March and April 2000.

2.16. Does the product replace goods which are currently being imported?
Absolutely! The Atom lawn edger replaces the several brands of bladed edgers currently imported as well as many whipper snipper sales as a lot of people use their whipper snipper only for edging their lawns. Apart from the engines (which cannot be sourced within Australia), the Atom lawn edger is totally Australian designed and made and our company is wholly Australian owned.

2.17. Proof of success / market potential
The world market potential is very high. This new model will be lower in cost and the same “O.E.M. platform” is to be sold internationally to other manufacturers and in different colours to use with their own engines. The same “O.E.M. platform” means much higher sales due to lower cost and with economies of scale benefits. This will be on top of our current older models of which we have sold over 20,000 units both in Australia and overseas in less than five years.

2.18. Why is it a good design and why does it deserve a design award?
There are two main reasons why the Atom edger is a good design: *
As the worlds best they are far more manoeuverable than any other edger and they edge anywhere. They are light in weight (8kgs) and can be used by anyone including senior citizens or people with back problems as there is no carrying or bending by the operator. They also complete the job much faster than any other edger and cut a much neater edge than whipper snippers. They edge faster, go anywhere, outperform any other lawn edger available in the world, and are a pleasure to use.
*
This new model has the added benefit of using a common “O.E.M. platform” (in different colours) and putting several brands of engines onto the edger base. We already have orders for the USA which uses a 26cc Kioritz engine and is to be marketed as “Mantis”. One European customer will use the platform for their Mitsubishi engine. Our own Atom branded model will use a 31cc 2-stroke and 26cc 4-stroke Ryobi engine. This potential of being able to adapt a multitude of engine brands means the edger can be manufactured for many different companies worldwide. This means the export potential for this designed and manufactured lawn edger is enormous.

Angelo and John Notaras,

Atom Industries,

P.O. Box 513,

ROZELLE, NSW 2039,

Australia

Tel:- +61 2 9810 0194

Fax- +61 2 9810 6691

Email: Atom Industries

Website:- www.atomindustries.com.au

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