Restaurant & Kitchen Equipment
Atus Design was contracted by its client – a large NJ-based manufacturer of restaurant and kitchen equipment, to create several product lines for professional and consumer markets. These projects included roller grills, warming displays, chef knives, utensils, storage and kitchen racks and more.
If consumer products require to be designed strong and withstand use and abuse, commercial equipment has need to have that standard and ability to withstand rough handling doubled and tripled. At the same time, commercial products still need to retain at least some degree of attractive appearance.
Looking at and using commercial equipment may quickly reveal who designed this particular piece of equipment – product designer, industrial designer or mechanical engineer. Many users of equipment do not realize that these three categories of professionals are not the same, are not trained to do the same work in the same way.
Roller grills are used in convenience stores, food markets at gas stations, deli restaurants and cafes. They keep sausages hot and ready to be consumed. This was an existing Winco product which had complaints from the field. Its rollers after a while were beginning to squeak and could soon jam. Winco asked Atus Design to find a cost-effective solution to the problem of existing mechanical design. After thorough tests and reviews we discovered that there were two major problem points – rollers used improperly fitting brass bushings, which were expanding with heat and changing inner diameter, effectively jamming rollers. We also found that rollers were driven directly by chain, which was too tight and also would jam when heat would force major metal elements to expand and change positions ever so slightly. We made chain longer and added a spring loaded tension wheel to control the chain slack. we replaced brass bushings with two options – high-heat Teflon resin bushings which would last for a very long time and provide perfect fit and smooth sliding action and/or oil-impregnated bronze bushings.
Food tongs are common tools used in many restaurants and buffets. They are used by kitchen personnel and by clientele. Cheaper tongs are often made by stamping from a single piece of sheet metal and have rear end dipped into liquefied rubber compound, which dries and forms a comfort handle. We were asked to design slightly more sophisticated item, which would have steel spring loop connecting two formed tongs and overmolded with plastic to form nice looking and comfortable handle area.
Mopping bucket is a common tool in arsenal of cleaning tools of most floor attendants in hotels, schools, restaurants, stores and shopping malls and other public places. We see these buckets here and there all the time. yet, not too many people know how much design and engineering goes into such bucket. It has to carry 36 quarts of water, have press on top, roll smoothly on pivoting wheels and not break or crack withstanding constant rough handling, bumping and hitting.