We need a crystal ball!

So as of this week, the UK is in lockdown. The message from Boris Johnson was loud and clear – “stay safe, stay home”. In terms of safeguarding our health, this strategy cannot be questioned. If we adhere to social distancing, the virus cannot spread as effectively. But when it comes to running a business, no matter how great or how small, the results of social distancing are potentially catastrophic.

On Monday 23rd March 2020, (excepting those deemed to be ‘key workers’ and ‘key services’) the UK business community was essentially ordered to shut up shop. While the rationale for this cannot be questioned, we now find ourselves asking “for how long?”

Emerging now are details of financial support for employees and businesses but what about timescales? What we need now are some proper ‘guestimates’ from our Political Leaders as to when we can expect to be out of this crisis and begin to operate our businesses again.

What we are calling for now is the “Exit Strategy”. We are doing our bit. We are following these restrictions and supporting our government without question. Now it’s time for them to offer us some certainty and prioritise stabilising our economy.

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Thinking beyond the ETO Show

We were extremely disappointed to learn of the postponement of this year’s ETO Show, which should have taken place this week. Tradeshows like these provide a great opportunity to network and take the pulse of the current marketplace. There are a number of brand new exhibitors which we were really looking forward to meeting. Never mind, let’s look forward to later in the year.

We are definitely ‘glasses half full’ kind of people and perhaps this current global situation as a result of the Covid-19 could actually pave the way for some really exciting New Product Development (NPD) in the adult toy marketplace.

Reported just this week is a growth of 13% in adult toy sales over the last fortnight as people begin a period of self isolation. The demand is there and we are certain there will be many of you out there with their heads full of new ideas for brilliant new adult toys or pleasure products.

Consider this: The current restrictions on flights, exhibitions and even possibly day to day working conditions will mean home working and time away from the office for reflection. Ask yourself, where do you want your business to be when these restrictions are lifted and how can you be ahead of the game?

Perhaps you’ve had an idea kicking around for ages but time has never allowed you to take it any further. Now is as good a time as any to take the bull by the horns and make it a reality!

This is where Sated Design can help you.

Our design process methods can get you to the point of manufacture so you are poised and ready to hit “GO” once the manufacturing industry is showing signs of recovery. We have a comprehensive range of in-house capabilities including 3D printing, CNC machining, model making and silicone casting, meaning that all prototyping can be done right here in our office. We are able to use CAD to create parts and assemblies ready to provide to manufacturers for quotation and production.

We don’t even need to physically meet up either. Our remote conferencing facilities mean we can discuss projects virtually and do on screen reviews.

Pre-planning will make the difference when it comes to securing the future of your business. If you have a great idea and would like a little help to guide you through the journey of making it a desirable reality, get in touch today.

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The potential of Industry 4.0

Much like SexTech, the manufacturing industry is on the cusp of its latest revolution. Industry 4.0 takes what was started in Industry 3.0 with the adoption of computers and automation and enhances it with networks of smart and autonomous technology that will collect large amounts of data. Through Industry 4.0 it is now becoming possible for these data systems to communicate important information about maintenance, performance and other product insights without any human interaction whatsoever. The consensus from industry experts is that the potential effects of these “conversations” on our manufacturers are huge and will ultimately result in quicker and more efficient, productive operations which will ultimately save them time and money.

The potential of Industry 4.0 is being realised by those organisations who are already adopting these smart technologies. You would not be on your own in assuming that Industry 4.0 is only realised by large corporations but the reality is that smaller enterprises will benefit too. For example, data stored in connected devices like the cloud could allow them access to technology they wouldn’t be able to have on their own.

Moving a few steps back from the point of manufacture, Industry 4.0 has the potential to impact on the entire design for manufacture process. As the Internet of Things (IoT) is realised, valuable data that can be shared on how products are used by the end users (the consumers) will influence how these products are designed and manufactured in the future. This data will be crucial for the early, embryonic stage of product design and New Product Development (NPD). It will be especially relevant to the development of adult toys and pleasure products where this data will be fully accessible through the Internet of Systems (IoS) including apps.

Industry 4.0 is still evolving. For the manufacturing industry the benefits of introducing smart machines into factories are clear. However, on a slightly less positive note, the presence of extensive data will add complexity to Intellectual Property and Design Rights. More concerningly the personal nature of the data recorded from the end users of adult pleasure products will need to be carefully managed to guard against potential data leaks. The laws of how this data will be stored and who it can be shared with will need to be carefully considered and agreed upon before Industry 4.0 becomes too firmly established in product design and manufacturing.

Paradoxically, the data potential of Industry 4.0, if made accessible, could be the catalyst to revolutionising how we operate and share best practices globally. Faced with all this new and informative data relating to performance and efficiency, wouldn’t it be great news for our planet if we were all able to learn from each other and tackle our climate change crisis collectively?

It goes without saying that sharing best practice and knowledge will help to increase efficiency of manufacturing on a global scale and as a result reduce the environmental, welfare and social impacts on our planet.

If you have a great idea for a new pleasure product and would like a little help to guide you through the journey of making it a desirable reality, get in touch today – we may just be able to help.

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Sated Design will visit the ETO Show

We’re delighted to be visiting this year’s ETO Show on the 16th March 2020.

It’s less than 3 weeks until the UK’s only Erotic Trade event opens its doors at the Ricoh Centre, based in Coventry. In a recent interview, the Event organiser Jonathan Kirk explains why trade shows are still important to the pleasure products sector. He says “new pleasure products seem to be launched on a weekly basis so trade shows are the best way to get those products in front of the buying audience in a short space of time”.

Trade shows like ETO provide a great opportunity to network and take the pulse of the current marketplace. Excitingly, there are reportedly a number of new exhibitors this year too and all in different areas of the sector including lingerie, toys and sexual health.

There’s still time for you to register – simply visit the ETO website and we might see you there! Don’t forget, that this event is a great opportunity to have meetings. If you would like a coffee with us then please use the contact us form on the footer of the homepage and we will get back to you.

If you have a great idea for a new pleasure product and would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making it a desirable reality, get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

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In-house 3D Printing

Nowadays pretty much everyone has heard of 3D printing. As a primary tool for designers 3D printers can produce a real life object for handling and use. 3D printing has enabled us, here at Sated Design, to streamline our design methodology which vastly improves turnaround timings. Thanks to our in-house 3D printing capabilities we can usually build and handle physical parts that same day. This saves days over traditional modelmaking and subcontract bureau services and improves the quality of decisions made during the design process.

To the outside world, 3D printed parts are often a huge disappointment for many users. It should be borne in mind that the old saying of ‘you get what you pay for’ and ‘horses for courses’ are particularly true.

Users of 3D printing need the right know-how. Robust parts and high-quality parts can be made if the right materials and processing are used. We have taken 3D printing a step further and often use 3D printing to produce specially made tools and jigs to assist our design processes and also that of our clients. Examples of this are bespoke jigs and fixtures produced to precisely and accurately make modifications to parts or assemble. We have also specified 3D printed parts as a small batch manufacturing method for complex structural parts which would otherwise have required expensive mould tooling and involved considerable delays.

While 3D printing is now available to the mass market, it still takes a level of expertise to know how to process a part to be appropriate for printing. Key factors need to be understood in preparation for 3D printing such as print time, material volume, temperature control, orientation of the print and the nesting of items. It can be very tempting for inexperienced innovators to purchase their own printer in a bid to visualise their own products. This may at first seem to be the cheaper route for some, however, without the experience and the understanding of the amount of variables involved in producing a high quality 3D print, it is a much safer and cost effective option to leave this to the professionals. Our designers have the “know-how” to get the best from each print run and ensure each part is representative of the intended design.

If you need assistance with 3D modelling and printing, contact us today to discuss your requirements. As a full service agency, we can step in at any stage of your project to suit your needs.

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R&D Tax relief for Sex Tech. Do you qualify?

Growth in Research & Development (R&D) tax relief claims totalled over £4bn last year. Introduced by the Government in 2001, the purpose of R&D tax relief is to offer tax credit benefits to those businesses who develop scientific and technological innovation across many industry sectors here in the UK. Reportedly to date, £26bn has been returned in tax relief to businesses across the nation and yet according to industry specialists the scheme is yet to be fully utilised.

Were you aware that Sex Tech is a key area where R&D claims are currently not being taken advantage of?

Without a doubt, Sex Tech is consistently producing pioneering work that would easily qualify under the R&D tax relief framework. Whether it is a new technology, stimulation technique, material or even the way these products are made, any and all new advancements tend to be leading innovation in the sector.
Presently the amount of Sex Tech companies applying for R&D is staggering low. This leads us to ask, is that because Sex Tech is either ignored or seen as too much of a taboo? Or is the onus on companies like you who might not even realise that you qualify?

In short, any UK limited company that is spending money on developing new products, or enhancing existing ones is eligible. Even if you’re not sure if your new product is possible, or you don’t know how to achieve it in practice, you could be resolving technological uncertainties and therefore be carrying out qualifying R&D.

The important thing to remember is that the Government’s accepted R&D definition doesn’t have to have been successful to qualify. If your project is ultimately unsuccessful but sought a solution, it could still be R&D. It is worth asking your accountant to look into this for you but you can also look for advice from HMRC and specialist tax advisers if your accountant is not 100% certain.

For more about R&D Relief click here.

If you’ve got an idea you want to take to market, we will assist you through your journey. Our services can include trend spotting and feasibility of a new adult toy product, ergonomic studies and reverse engineering which could all be attributed to R&D. Although we do not fund projects here at Sated Design, we have a comprehensive directory of business angels and companies who regularly invest in new businesses who wish to develop their products.

Contact us today and learn more about our services and how we can help.

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Need a new challenge?

Sated Design have started 2020 with a strong order book and are looking to continue our growth by employing another middle weight designer. We take projects from the first sketch to finished product and require a designer with a portfolio of excellent concept design and an eye for technical detail to join our team.

Requirements for this very exciting role include:

• At least two years of post graduate product design experience.

• Solidworks, Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite.

• Strong understanding of materials and manufacturing processes.

• Self-motivated, professional, and confident – You will participate in discussions with director level clients.

• Excellent communication skills – You will assist in preparing project proposals; communicate technical details to lay-people; and maintain lasting relationships with clients and suppliers.

• Prototyping skills – You will be able to develop your own solutions using a hands on approach in our workshop.

• Sourcing experience – both in UK and the Far East.

• Full UK driving license preferable.

• Must like dogs!

This role is based at the Sated Design office in Teignmouth, South Devon. This is a wonderful part of the world, and joining Hillside Product Design is a unique opportunity to develop your technical, creative, and organisational skills while enjoying a life by the sea; within reach of Exeter, Dartmoor, and Cornwall. Living in Devon is very affordable and the work life balance suits those who can work hard and enjoy clean air, countryside and blue skies.

To apply, please email [email protected] with a copy of your CV and portfolio.

Sated Design is a name used for marketing the specific expertise of Hillside Product Design Ltd in designing adult pleasure products.

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The Sex Tech taboo

Last week CES 2020, a major consumer technology show held in Las Vegas, opened its doors for another year. The event is hosted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), an international organisation which showcases innovation and new technologies.

Walk into this flagship innovation show and head to a far corner, tucked away near the toilets, you’ll find the Health and Wellness zone, this year’s home for Sex Tech. A welcoming change to see Sex Tech represented, but it is far from embraced. Sex Tech is still taboo for organisations like these who are supposed to be paving the way for innovation.

It is our opinion that Sex Tech should be given to the mainstream and shouldn’t be hidden away. This flagship show with its worldwide audience is a prime arena to remove taboos and allow centre stage for genuinely innovative products.
With a lot of media attention on health and wellbeing in recent years, Sex Tech has a real potential for growth in these industries. There is a strong desire for products that make you feel good about yourself. Innovative Sex Tech may genuinely have the possibility to improve lives.

There is so much potential for innovation to the mainstream with Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies. Interesting new products at the show included; The Pulse Warming Dispenser which heats and dispenses oils and gels, thus removing the mess of traditional bottles. Also featured was OSÉ, an innovative robotic massager which moves and uses suction but does not vibrate. It has nine intellectual property patents and almost 250 parts. Despite this clear innovation, the product caused some Sex Tech Controversy last year. Having won an award, the CTA subsequently went on to take the award away, before months later giving it back again.

A needless and unnecessary dispute which leads us and other players in the industry to challenge, when will Sex Tech be accepted as innovative?

Here at Sated Design we feel that Sex Tech should have equal footing at this show and others like it. Innovative technology should be appreciated without taboos or conservative views.

Will we see more Sex Tech at the show next year? We hope so! And could it be you? If you have an innovative Sex Tech idea and want to make it a reality, contact us today – we may just be able to help you.

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Funding the next great product

The beginning of a New Year can often be the catalyst to make a change, whether it be personal or work related. The phrase “new year, new start” resonates through January and this is especially true when considering New Product Development (NPD). It can take a lot of time and resource to get an idea off the ground, find a suitable market and develop a new product. Even the most accomplished of businesses may require assistance both in terms of funding and in terms of expertise.

Grant funding is one way you can turn to finance your new product idea. The Innovate UK Smart Grant competition opens on the 9th January and businesses of any size can apply for a slice of £25 million. This open UK grant funding programme has a specific purpose of supporting game changing ideas to develop new products that have significant global market potential. The Sextech industry is reportedly worth over $30 billion and estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 30%.

To be in with a chance of winning a grant, the key to your application is to demonstrate you have clearly considered your new product’s innovation, global market potential and the target customer’s needs. This is where utilising a Product Design Consultancy like Hillside could be the key to your success.

We can assist with a feasibility study which will demonstrate to the judges that you have determined whether your NPD is do-able. We can undertake a risk assessment which will demonstrate that you have considered the end user of the new product. We can also assist you with completing your application for smart funding and if successful, most excitingly, we can help you make your ideas a reality, taking your product idea to the point of manufacture when it becomes a market ready product!

Our services can be tailored to suit your needs – we are well adapted to itemise our service and can step in and out at any stage. In our online portfolio you will find an extensive list of successful products we have helped bring to market across a broad range of industries. We have completed many projects over the last 13 years and our skills, experience and expertise are invaluable.

Contact us today

Once you have taken that “new year, new start” leap, it’s important you get it right.

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Consumers are calling for an Eco Friendly sex life

The causes of climate change are a consideration for New Product Design and Development in every industry. Seemingly one industry that needs to pay attention is the adult toy industry. The majority of adult toys are made with polymers and many use disposable batteries. Most importantly, consumers can’t (or don’t want to?) easily recycle an adult toy and so they sit in drawers for years before discretely going into landfill wrapped against inquisitive eyes. All of which contributes towards the 45 million metric tonnes of electronic waste the world produces every year.

In actual fact adult toys made from sustainable materials such as wood and glass have been in the marketplace for many years. It is fair to say that adult toys made of wood and stone predate history. If the climate goes the way many are predicting your next adult toy might just have to be carved out of a bit of wood as you sit in a cave! To avert that, an increasing number of consumers are making an effort to prevent more damage to our planet by demanding environmentally friendly products.

The adult toy industry has seen a huge growth in recent years as adult toys become more widely acknowledged as products contributing to health and well-being. In the press recently has come news that large retailers such as Sainsburys and Boots are now stocking a number of “top shelf” adult toys. At the same time, consumers are demanding ethically manufactured products. We at Sated Design therefore expect to see the adult toy market shift towards a more ethical manufacturing base and we predict new companies will come into the marketplace to exploit their know how in those areas and capitalise on the opportunity. Established manufacturers need to make sure they are not caught napping.

Consumers will demand provenance for claims made about any products that claim to be eco-friendly and ethically manufactured. Allied to this will be consumer expectation that products must still deliver the highest quality and performance. We think these will be challenging times especially when social media picks its heroes and its villains.

Do you have an idea for a new Sex Toy? Would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making your product a desirable reality? Get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

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