Switchbox redesign

Ian Hewitt, Bruce Watson

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


This switchbox is used in the majority of Electrolux/Flymo garden lawnmowers; electric, petrol, wheeled and lawn-rake models. Hewitt’s provided the human-centred problem solving design knowledge, while Watson helped facilitate the design process. The original Electrolux/Flymo switchbox incorporated a strain relief mechanism. The mechanism often resulted in the cord becoming split and so exposed users to the danger of electric shocks. Hewitt’s design therefore looked into the safety aspects of the strain relief function. The solution lay in incorporating a larger internal switch to the mechanism. Hewitt’s design solution considered the product, its environment and mode of use. Concept generation was conducted in parallel to minimise disruption to the company. His concept visualisations studied the best application of textures and surface finishes suiting the mode of use, and these were transmitted using his knowledge of injection moulding into the production specification. Specific moulding routes and construction were also essential in keeping the end product to as few parts as possible. The new solution was easier to manufacture and routed the cable away from the user, eliminating any potential safety hazards. Hewitt’s design of the switch box allowed Electrolux/FLymo to continue selling previous models and the opportunity to implement it into new models. The switch also allowed them to overcome a damaging situation for their reputation by introducing a new design that is safer and easier to use. Hewitt used full scale physical models and digital animations to illustrate the concept and achieve its approval within the company. www.flymo.co.uk/node512.aspx?pid=5384 Knowledge taken from the illustrations used in the Electrolux/FLymo project has recently been implemented in a commission to animate the working principles of a cancer drug for Bio Transformations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Switchbox redesign'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this