Long considered an artistic trade, design is today a multidisciplinary activity. At the heart of development, the designer must understand the product's overall environment and not simply its aesthetics. Design must support use, and also the links which we aim to create with our users ('form and function').
Maped uses two distinct approaches which come together to create products. We reinvent an existing product by improving how it is used and modernising its design. However, we also regularly create new products through collective consideration and discussion between the Research, Marketing and Design departments. This was the case for our 4-colour Twin Tip pen, which arose from research into concepts. The challenge was to find an innovative and attractive product in a field with an already extremely wide range of items on offer. The variety of Maped's products offers us a large sphere of activity. Analysing, anticipating and innovating are the watchwords of industrial designers.
A company largely covering industrial production, Maped is particularly concerned with performance, durability and manufacturing consistency in its production.
Ensuring that our products are high-quality and reliable has always been our primary goal. To attain this, our quality department is involved from the first stages of product development in order to make sure that quality criteria are taken into account. Furthermore, to ensure customer safety we monitor changes in applicable standards and regulations very closely, and even try to anticipate them.
For more than 10 years we have been designing tailor-made testing machines in order to calibrate and measure the performance and longevity of our products compared to other items currently on the market: certifying our new products and pre-production items, assessing lifespan and functional performance, and regularly monitoring production.
This quality testing laboratory is the only one of its kind worldwide. It contains several specific machines which allow us to test :
- scissors, staplers and hole punches, pencil sharpeners, rubbers etc...
- as well as standard testing machines: these include a test bench for writing instruments and an environmental test chamber.
Maped protects its innovations through design registrations for its artistic creations and also patents for innovations classed as new and inventive. Several registrations are made every year in the different product categories. School products: patents regarding pencil sharpeners, compasses and also the principle of a ruler with the label 'In Mould Labeling'. For office products, functional principles of staplers and hole punches have been registered. More recently, in the category of writing implements Maped registered its first patents for its famous 4-colour Twin Tip pen. We make decisions on international extensions to our patents according to the particular challenges associated with each product: European registration, international registration, national registration (e.g. China).
Innovation - research
Maped's continuing growth has been accompanied by a strengthening of its R&D (Research & Development) department and by the creation in 2007 of a Research team dedicated entirely to developing our innovations and to technical forecasting.
The aims of the Research Department :
- respond to identified expectations
- support specific innovation developments
- take an advance look at the future !
An additional challenge: the pervading presence of information sources has also caused us to reinforce our monitoring of registrations and publications by using all the means available and by keeping an eye on different industries.
The department relies on a network of specialist partners, often at the forefront of identified technologies, to develop new ideas and applications.
The complementarity of information sources, entrepreneurial spirit and team spirit which drives this department are the foundations for the development of projects and solutions proposed by the Research department.
Several Research products have been realised in concrete form with some people now considering them vital products in our catalogue, and in the majority of cases these benefit from industrial protection (patent).
Maped's research falls directly within the scope of the company's development strategy and responds to new constraints in a global market which is continually becoming more competitive.
A few examples of how the research department's innovations have been realised :
- The Twin-Tip 4, which emerged from an internal creativity meeting between different departments (Design, Marketing and Research).
- The unbreakable and ultra-erasable whiteboard, for which 'In Mould Labeling' technology - discovered in plastics processing centres - was developed, adding new use values.
- Integrating eco-design into various areas, the best example being the letter tray developed by our German sister company Helit. It optimises all elements of the life cycle, in particular through 100% recycled PET mould injection packaging made from recovered water bottles.