Gallagher Claims Top Award for Weigh Scale Design
The latest weigh scale system from Gallagher Animal Management Systems has earnt the company plaudits from beyond the farm gate for its high quality design and functionality in the tough farm environment.
The company claimed the supreme “Purple Pin” award at this year’s Designers’ Institute of New Zealand “Best Design” awards.
The awards are an annual event showcasing the best in design from within New Zealand. They represent the pinnacle of recognition within New Zealand across the spectrum of commercial, industrial and domestic sectors.
Gallagher not only claimed the top award for the revolutionary weigh scale system, but also won a Bronze Pin in the same category for its Insulated Line Post fencing system, an all new approach to fencing over traditional steel and wooden post options.
Tony Parker, Massey University professor of industrial design and part of the Gallagher design team for the weigh scales said the award was hard won, and celebrated by the company.
“We have picked up a few Gold Pin awards in the past for our work, but to finally nail the Purple Pin for a product that is not a consumer type product is really something. It’s not easy to do. It says a lot about the thought, engineering and creativity that has gone into this product’s design.”
Award judges described the scales as a solution that has managed to capture a complex digital management tool in a rugged but simple product, with user and location kept at the forefront during the entire design process. They also appreciated the rigorous design process that included the clever post attachment, and over-moulding details.
In concluding the judges commented it was a “truly Kiwi design in the best possible way.”
The weigh scales were released earlier this year after Gallagher recognised the need to completely redesign a piece of equipment that was playing an increasingly vital part in farmers’ businesses.
“It has taken four years and 15 prototypes to get to this point. The tough, dirty environment this equipment is used in means it needed to be able to combine functionality with durability, while also reinforcing the Gallagher brand and all that stands for,” Professor Parker said.
A key feature of the weigh scale is its full colour display, capable of delivering maximum screen visibility, regardless of sun light conditions.
It is designed to be extremely robust and tough in a harsh operating environment, repelling water and capable of taking the knocks typical in the field.
The screen is the interface to a simplified usage experience for farmers, with an intuitive pathway easily activated via the touchscreen.
There were also less obvious design features that made the scale design a winner.
At the bottom of the machine the designers put much thought into eliminating the need for fiddly multiple caps on the plug in points, with the plugs instead protected by the scales’ body moulding. It was something on farm research proved was a hit with farmers, tired of having to try and screw multiple plug protectors in before or after using the equipment.
Gallagher animal management systems marketing manager Mark Harris said the scales’ design had put the simplicity of touch screen technology front and centre from stage one of the design process.
“We had learnt the touchscreen was the interface to deliver a simplified scale. It needed to be something any farmer would feel comfortable using, rather than just farmers who were already familiar with technology. It had to be as easy to use as the GPS in your car.”
Mark said the project was one he was particularly proud of, given the recognition the award had earnt the extensive Gallagher team involved.
“There was a total of 15 man years involved in this. The design team jumped through a lot of hoops to deliver a product that was not only highly functional, but easy to use, and robust enough to withstand a tough working environment.”
While welcoming the award, he said the fact the scales were also selling very well validated Gallagher’s design process that had involved farmers from a very early stage, getting feedback and input on design prototypes.
“We took many prototype mock ups to farmers and listened to their feedback.
“It’s nice to win the award, but it’s wonderful to know it’s not just popular with judges, it is proving very popular with farmers too.”