The S'up spoon
Proto Labs’ rapid injection moulding services have helped an award-winning idea for a special spoon that helps people with shaky hands eat without spilling food take a fast route to market.
The idea for the Su’p spoon, which has a deep cavity to enable the user to eat foods such as soup, cereal and loose veg without spilling, was conceived by Grant Douglas, who has Cerebral Palsy, with design assistance from Glasgow-based agency, 4C Design.
After several iterations of the initial concept looking at design, materials and finishes, Douglas and 4C Design enlisted Shropshire-based Proto Labs for a quote to produce injection moulded S’up Spoons for low-volume production.
The product was optimised with a series of changes following the company’s analysis of the design’s suitability for injection moulding.
“Proto Labs offering to produce the spoons within fifteen days, was outstanding – other quotes we had received were more than three to four months to make the tool. We placed an order for an initial batch of 100 spoons in polypropylene to check that the tool was okay,” explained Mark Penver from 4C Design.
“The spoons from the initial production run came back amazingly well and we immediately placed an order for a further 900 spoons that were produced within a couple of weeks.”
Penver went on to explain that selecting a UK manufacturer was important to his team, stating that the ability to visit Proto Labs’ facility to see the production process was invaluable. “It was mind blowing that parts could be produced in just one day and their approach has saved us a considerable amount of money,” he added.
“Using Proto Labs we’ve been able to get the S’up Spoon out into the market much faster and not just improve the lives of people with cerebral palsy but those with similar symptoms such as essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease.”
The success of the S’up Spoon has led 4C Design into forming a company with Douglas called S’up Products and, at the time of writing, there is 14 distributors worldwide trying to secure exclusivity of the spoon and the team are planning to develop further products.