UKCA – Countdown to compliance

The UKCA mark applies to most goods that previously required a CE mark. In April last year, our sister company Hillside Product Design published an article about the new UKCA mark which came into effect on 1st January 2021. According to Government requirements, many businesses would still be able to use the CE marking until 1st January 2022 to allow them time to adjust to the new UKCA.

At the start of 2022 the UKCA marking must be present at least as a label affixed to the product or an accompanying document. From 1st Jan 2023 UKCA marking must comply with specific regulations that apply to the product.

This all sounds pretty straightforward; you would think, however concerningly, there appears to be a lack of understanding, or even knowledge of this requirement with many of the UK-based manufacturers we are speaking to. This suggests that come next year this is potentially going to be a problem for any who did not comply.

The new UKCA is a legal compliance, therefore markings must be appropriately displayed with newly manufactured products by the start of next year. With a deadline of less than 8 months away this could easily catch many manufacturers on their back foot.

UKCA marks must conform to certain size requirements. This means manufacturers will need to find space to integrate the new UKCA mark. As this is a compliance requirement, manufacturers have no choice but to do this and yet potentially this is going to cost a lot of money and, even more worryingly, a lot of time and inconvenience to implement.

There is frustration at this new legislation with some questioning whether the new UKCA is really necessary. Our position is that this is a regulation and will therefore need to be adhered to. Our advice is to address this early on and make adjustments that meet requirements.



World IP Day

Intellectual Property Protection (IPP) legally identifies the originator and owner of your idea and gives you exclusive rights to exploit it. In the simplest terms, if you are unable to legally protect your new product or choose not to protect it, then competitors could not be prevented from copying all your hard work!

The adult toy industry is notorious for unscrupulously copying great ideas. Both securing effective IPP and taking swift and aggressive action to stomp out copy cats are both crucial to maintaining your competitive edge.

Tuesday 26th April marks World IP Day so in celebration of this fact, we have compiled a list of our Top 5 Tips for protecting your New Product Development (NPD).

  1. Keep the secret
    It is important that the early stages of a project are kept as secret as possible, until you have suitable Intellectual Property (IP) measures in place. Releasing details of your idea into the public domain (which includes your friends) without protection may jeopardise the chances of your IPP applications being granted.
  2. Non-Disclosure
    If you need to discuss your idea with anyone, such as a supplier, use a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) document to ensure that all parties understand their obligations to keep the discussions secret.
  3. Research, Research, Research
    Research existing product and patents using internet search engines and patent databases. There are many free patent databases that you can use to carry out your own searching, but professional patent searches and patent attorneys who specialise in such services will almost certainly dig deeper and could find documents that are more relevant than those found by a novice searcher.
  4. Utilise the expertise of others
    A design consultancy team like Sated Design will help you explore the idea and identify where the novel elements of the design might be. The designers can help with providing descriptions of claims and supporting illustrations which will reduce your search and filing fees significantly.
  5. Get professional help
    When you are confident you have established what the main strengths of your idea are then you should investigate the best form of IPP. Attempting a DIY IPP is not the best approach and can do more harm than good. There are a number of ways to protect the intellectual property of your idea and we recommend that you speak with an IPP expert such as a Patent Attorney.

At Sated Design we have excellent links with trusted and experienced IP attorneys in several specialisms who can help you to gain the right protection. We have established clear working protocols that enable them to offer our clients favourable, fixed cost structures by keeping their involvement focused in key areas and at key stages in the NPD process. It has been our experience that even when allowing for the costs attributed to these services, our clients still save themselves time and money in the long run.

You can find out more in our company Information Pack. Contact us now to get your copy.



The Power of Prototyping

Providing a link between a world of virtual design and real life, a prototype is a vital way of testing designs. 2D images do have a place in the designing process but there is no substitute for holding something tangible in your hand. The prototype offers extremely high levels of accuracy and intricacy, this paired with modern prototyping techniques such as stereolithography (‘growing’ parts out of laser cured resin) can provide stunning results.

For a product design consultancy, a prototype is a preliminary version of a product which can be used for testing and evaluation – this can be to gain client approval on form and feel of the product, or to inform the designer of necessary adjustments to mechanisms or tolerances on parts that fit together.

The prototype can also help stake-holders to make the best decisions for the project, so that the design can be optimised as part of its development journey leading to manufacture and launch. It is therefore important to set out the purpose for the prototype as this is key to how a prototype should be prepared.

At some point a human being will interact with a product. The sooner that user interface is evaluated, then the better that interaction can be. It is impossible to overstate how important prototyping is to ensuring an effective product design and development process, delivering the optimum results and a great end-user experience.

Here at Sated Design we have a large catalogue of external suppliers for all manner of prototyping services and an in-house prototyping capability, enabling our expert model-makers to produce high-quality prototypes with fast turnarounds.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements.



Q&A with Louise for International Women’s Day 2022

International Women’s Day falls on the 8th March each year. Its purpose is to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women around the globe. In recognition of International Women’s Day 2022, we’re talking to Louise Beard, our Business Manager about her career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), an industry where historically, women are underrepresented.

Can you tell us a bit about Sated Design and your role within the company?
“Sated Design is a name used for marketing the specific expertise of Hillside Product Design Ltd, in designing adult pleasure products and toys. Hillside is a consultancy specialised in helping companies develop and engineer innovative and successful products. We can help you get your new or updated product to market by working with you on product conception, engineering, prototyping and production.

Good design can help solve problems with existing products and give old product ranges a new lease of life as well as help you create a brand new product.

I am the Business Manager and I have a very varied role within the company. I am primarily responsible for the accounting, payroll and administration side of the business and that means I do everything from payroll and invoicing to ordering materials for the making of prototypes, however I also take part in brainstorming, testing, prototype building and other areas of the business as and when needed. The ‘non design’ staff within the business can have an input into the design process with ideas and review throughout the concept to prototype stages”.

How important is it do you think to have female representation within product design and engineering?
I think it is essential to have a female viewpoint into design and engineering. If being involved in this world has taught me anything over the last 30 years, it is that men and women often have different ideas as to how things work and how they should be used. These differences may not always be particularly big or noticeable but they do exist and a slightly different way of coming at things usually leads to a more rounded product that will suit its targeted audience”.

How can the STEM sector be made to be more attractive to women as a career?
“I think it needs to be pushed more in schools. Right down to primary school level, where girls can and should be told that engineering and scientific roles are as open to girls as they are to boys. Education has come a long way since I was at school and girls were not allowed to play rugby or football or do metalwork or woodwork. Girls were pushed into needlework and cookery and whilst those are admirable things, it didn’t give girls of my generation any idea that could do these things and be very good at them! Lets catch girls early and let them know that STEM subjects can be fun and can lead to amazing career choices!”

Do you do anything to promote STEM outside of business as well as inside it?
“I am, or have been, a member of a lot of local/national bodies such as Traders Associations and the FSB and I am always pushing for females in business, in general and in STEM businesses in particular, to stand up and be counted!!! I am a fervent believer that women have an equal ability, role, passion and competence within this world and we need to shout loud about it and bring in the next generations. We need to tell our young girls and women that they are capable, welcome and wanted in what has been seen in the past as more male dominated spheres of work”.

What are your hopes and dream for the future?
I would like to see far more women realising that they have got what it takes to succeed in STEM, to succeed in the workplace and to succeed in the traditionally male dominated areas of work and to rise within their chosen fields.

Things have improved hugely in the 30 years I have been business but we still have a way to go – and we women are the people to take it there!”

You can follow Louise on LinkedIn



Safe sex is good sex

“Programmes which better reflect the reasons people have sex – including for pleasure – see better health outcomes”. This is the message from the BBC’s latest article ‘Good sex can be safer sex’.

In the article it is suggested that promoting the use of condoms is primarily about safer sex and the message of pleasurable sex is still not fully addressed. Whilst we broadly agree, we feel the article could have delved further into this idea of barrier devices facilitating access to pleasure– and not just focus on condoms. Let’s not forget that there are other barrier devices out there which do not get adequate promotion especially in the West.

When it comes to sex, that feeling of being in control intensifies other emotions like desire and excitement. It’s also much easier to let go and enjoy yourself when you know you are safe. For many women, safe sex practiced by the use of condoms means that their safety isn’t always entirely in their own hands.

Way back in the 1990s, the world saw the Femidom – the first female condom. Despite usage being almost non existent in the UK, overseas it’s a very different story. In countries such as Sri Lanka, Senegal and Zimbabwe. In those countries the Femidom is marketed as a sex toy to great effect and has given rise to increased sales. The Femidom also provides women with a sense of empowerment and control over how they have sex, which other methods of barrier contraception do not.

Back in the Western World, conversations, marketing campaigns and products built around sex are becoming less of a taboo. The pleasure and mental wellbeing through regular sex or masturbation can be beneficial to a person’s heath and emotional state of mind and this is finally being publicly recognised. This recognition will hopefully lead to reforms in sex education, especially in schools. If young people grow up to feel confident and knowledgeable about the paradigms between good sex and safe sex, that’s surely going to be a positive step forward.

And in the case of the Femidom, it seems evident that there’s actually much we can learn from the attitudes in the developing world towards promoting the use of safe sex products for both males and females as fun sex as well.



Planning around the Year of the Tiger

On Tuesday 1st February celebrations for the Chinese New Year begin!

In China these festivities will continue long after this date, sixteen days to be precise! Sixteen days when factories close and virtually all manufacturing processes stop for the full duration of this holiday period. Some factories will close for even longer to allow for their workers to travel the huge distances to return to their home towns and villages. It is not unusual for workers to travel for several days to see family and friends they may not have seen for almost a year.

The Chinese New Year is therefore very important throughout China and much of South East Asia; of significant global importance, it is very much intertwined with the UKs business culture and it’s planning.

Whilst lead times are important to a project whatever the time of year, planning and scheduling are of upmost importance when the Chinese New Year falls during the production process. The effect this can have on a project’s lead time could cause significant delay and ramifications if not borne in mind at the onset. It can be quite a task to co-ordinate between different regions when moving tools and goods to arrive within a production window. Experience of working with domestic and offshore manufacturers and suppliers coupled with experience of the differing cultures and practices of quite a few countries certainly helps to minimise any delays in production.

The impact of Covid in China is not widely reported here in the West but it is clear from our sources that the planning we all need to make for Chinese New Year relies more than ever on asking the right questions and having suppliers that you have a long term working relationship with. Our close relationships with Chinese suppliers have ensured that our clients have had regular and accurate updates about the situation in China and planned effectively with very little disruption caused.
The Covid pandemic has brought challenges for domestic and offshore manufacturing over the last 2 years and at this time we are thinking of our friends in far away China who we have not seen for many months and say that we hope the year of the Tiger will bring health, happiness and prosperity. Thank you for your continued support and the extraordinary efforts you go to.

Do you need help taking your product idea to manufacture?

Whatever the budget is for tooling, your required quantities and your preferred country of manufacture we will assist with determining the optimum manufacturing solution to meet the demands of the project. Working with our network of manufacturing partners, we can ensure suppliers meet the quality you expect both the in-pre-production trials and once production has started. This assistance proves invaluable when opting for a manufacturer overseas.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements.



Happy New Year. Happy New Success.

Have you planned any New Product Development activity for 2022? If you or your team are repeatedly treading the same ground, Sated Design will offer a fresh perspective and inspire new ideas which could turn into great products.

What we do
Sated Design offer a complete design for manufacturing service, making ideas a reality and guiding clients from initial concept to marketplace-ready product. Based in South West England, we offer a big city service at very competitive rates.

Who we are
Sated Design is a name used for marketing the specific expertise of Hillside Product Design Ltd in designing adult pleasure products. We are guided by Director Chris Howsam, who founded the company in 2003, after a product design consultancy career spanning nearly twenty years. He is supported by a team of exceptional design and engineering experts who all share a passion for creating innovative and successful products.

How we can help
Sated Design provide a wide range of services to take your project from a simple idea to the production line. We’re a full-service consultancy but can step in and assist at any stage of a project to suit your needs.

Don’t just take our word for it
Take a look at our project portfolio.

Talk to us! We are experts in product design. It’s what we do.



Season’s Greetings from Sated Design

And so we say goodbye to another year. During last year’s greeting we were hoping that the worst was behind us and so it was but like many other businesses we are not totally free of the repercussions and ravages of Covid 19. This has the makings of a story that will go on for a long time with ever more twists and turns like a rubbish TV serial way past its switch off date!

Despite these challenges, we as a business continue to adapt to new ways of working and have remained on hand to support our clients at every step.

Sated’s Director Chris Howsam says “The resilience of our business community continues to be tested but it is determined to move forward by adapting to every twist and turn of the plot whilst acting in the best interests of its employees and customers. This has been a challenge we and many other businesses have faced and overcome. So, this year we should say thank you to those who have supporting our decisions, good and bad as we get through to the other side.”

“I wish all of our clients and colleagues a safe and restful break over the holidays. I feel sure that 2022 will see new energy, new ideas and new success, so let’s look forward to that as 2021 draws to a close.”

If you would like to embark on a new product development in 2022, we’d be delighted to hear more about it. Contact us today to start your project.



The truth about plastic: Part 2 – Where does plastic waste come from?

In the previous article we established that we all need a certain amount of plastic in our lives. We all know that plastic does not miraculously disappear once it’s thrown away and that our plastic waste can end up in other people’s back yards and in our oceans. If you use plastic you will create plastic waste.

We have been heartened and impressed by the innovation of companies like Devon Contract Waste and their desire to deal with the mounting plastic problem but sadly we saw first-hand how their efforts are frustrated by the amount of different plastics we have in our world, and the risks contaminated consumer plastics pose to recycling effectively.

There’s also a serious and global overuse problem that needs dealing with.

Nature put a waterproof skin on an apple so why does the apple have to be sold in a waterproof plastic bag? We all experience the frustration of finding an item hidden within three layers of packaging. It’s reasonable to ask, “Why do we tolerate the waste of such a precious resource as plastics for inappropriate single use packaging?”

The key word here is inappropriate. It is inappropriate to put a plastic bag around an apple for the journey from the shop shelf to the fruit bowl and then put that apple and bag into another carrier bag and throw both away at the journeys end. Unbelievably the cost of the packaging around the product is often a bigger constituent cost of the whole than the product within. It is absurd and we have to reconcile the fact that the consumer then throws the packaging away.

Where is the benefit in that for either the customer or the planet?

We all have a part to play by being savvy about using plastics and refusing to accept wasteful and unnecessary plastics, especially in packaging. So the next time you purchase a product, look at the amount of packaging and ask if it’s necessary? Can it be recycled in your household waste? If the answer to both these questions is “no” then it’s time to challenge the use of this plastic with those retailers and manufacturers to be more responsible.

We can also be more responsible at this time of year when everyone is hoping to receive gifts already presented in the finest, most attractive packaging and which are then further gift wrapped. We are not trying to take anything away from the love and sentiment behind those gifts but we hope there will be a moment for each and every one of us to reflect on the bulging bags of rubbish being disposed of between Christmas and New Year.

Can next year be different? Maybe the new year’s resolution for everyone including businesses and retailers would be a pledge to do something positive to save the planet from drowning in plastic waste.



The truth about plastic: Part 1 – Is plastic-free feasible?

The inconvenient and very awkward truth about the problem of plastic is overuse and the global reluctance to address this. Unless you elect to live in the stone age you need plastics. Within minutes of getting out of bed into a life without plastics you would be uncomfortable and very unsafe. As you step out of bed many of us put our feet on a carpet containing plastic fibres. The bristles in our toothbrushes are variants of the same fibres. The water flowing through the tap can only flow because the valves in the taps and the rest of the system are made from elastomers.

Making a plastic free breakfast would be almost impossible for the vast majority of us who could not cook on an open fire because the electricity in the circuits relies on insulated switching gear. The copper used in making the wiring has to be mined. The other metals used in making pipes for liquids and gas also have to be mined. Mining and refining rely on equipment and processes that cannot happen without thousands of plastic parts, not forgetting the miles and miles of electrical insulation around the wires of countless circuits. So, it does not matter where the electricity, water or gas could come from if it can’t be delivered to or used at the point of need in a plastic free world.

Without the heating on to fight off a chilly morning or make a warm drink some will succumb to infection and end up with bacterial pneumonia. The chances of dying from this common infection would substantially increase to about 1 in 3 without antibiotics. The production of antibiotics requires highly technical plastics used in piping for air and nutrient delivery systems. The loss of life caused by unavailability of antibiotics would be catastrophic in a plastic free world.

The huge worldwide effort to fight Covid has only been possible because of the use of plastics at the heart of the infrastructure that guarantee vaccine identity, purity, sterility, efficacy and safety that we have all been desperate for.

The truth is that plastics are not the problem, it’s the abuse of the resource of plastics that is the problem. If we treated all plastic (which are petroleum derived products) as a finite and therefore precious resource we would then reserve plastics for important uses. Here is the crunch. What do we all agree is the correct use of plastics? Is it the millions of tons of excessive single use plastic packaging, or the seals, electrical insulation and technical mouldings, sheets and tubes we all derive enormous benefit from?

In every sphere of life we all need a certain amount of guaranteed high quality plastic to meet the compliance demands of manufacturing. This can include medical, industrial, aeronautical, food and thousands of other important applications. To put it bluntly, would anyone accept a surgical implant made from grubby old food pots, no matter how much you washed them out before hand?
In our opinion the only viable option is to reduce the use of plastics for only those purposes where it really matters. This is where product designers can make the most difference. By using materials sensibly and designing proper products for a proper purpose we can use plastics in the right way and live with them in our world.