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Room for new ideas

They are flexible, foldable, sturdy, affordable, and recyclable. These innovative standing desks from New Zealand are garnering a growing fan base. To produce them, two young entrepreneurs are relying on state-of-the-art cutting technology from Swiss cutting system manufacturer Zünd.

Fraser Callaway and Oliver Ward, two graphic design students at Wellington University in New Zealand were facing a very concrete problem. When they began their respective internships at different advertising agencies, they quickly discovered that neither company was able to provide a physical workspace for them to use. They immediately began honing in on possible solutions to this space issue, and "project Refold" was born. „The Refold table was literally meant to help us and our fellow students bring in and set up our own work stations and take them back down again at the end of the day,“ explains Fraser Callaway. They put together a basic design concept in less than two weeks, approaching it in much the same way as they would a packaging design project. They started out with sketches and then proceeded to making innumerable models until the first 1:1 model stood before them. As a first step, even before attempting an initial design, they had identified key parameters that would help accelerate the remainder of the development process. The use of cardboard for this project was never in doubt: „cardboard is a vastly underrated material and offers much greater potential than most people realize. It is inexpensive, light-weight, foldable, completely recyclable, and amazingly strong." These are the attributes that would serve as benchmarks against which the team continually measured any design decision that needed to be made. What the pair came up with was a standing desk that could be converted to a traditional, sitting one in just a few simple steps; it also weighed barely more than 6 kg and could be set up in the span of two minutes or less.

Thrilled with performance
For manufacturing their product, the design team partnered with the Baseline Group in Wellington. This well-known print service provider relies on state-of-the-art cutting technology from Zünd, with a G3 L-2500 cutting system installed in early 2014. Fraser Callaway is thrilled with the Zünd cutter's performance and exceptional cut quality: „The speed with which the cutting system converts flat sheets of corrugated cardboard to Refold tables is truly impressive, not to mention the incredible precision of the cuts, which is absolutely critical for this type of product. Without perfect cuts, there is no way we could guarantee the speed and ease of assembly, nor the ability of the table, once put together, to support up to 85 kg / 185 lbs.“

„The response to our Refold tables was so positive and widespread, we decided to launch a startup.“ The two students were able to gather 40,000 euros in seed money through crowd funding. „This is just the beginning for us. Our intent is to develop additional products based on the same basic principles. We already have a few ideas in the pipeline. Cardboard, with all its inherent advantages, will no doubt continue to be our material of choice but we are not excluding any alternatives. Baseline, of course, uses their Zünd cutter for processing many other exciting materials, which we may consider for future applications.“

Zünd Cutter G3 L-2500
With their Zünd G3 L-2500 cutter, Baseline Group handles the full gamut of display, POS/POP, and packaging materials, generally, in short-run production. Zünd modular, high-performance tools can be individually combined to meet specific requirements, which makes processing even the most diverse materials easy and economical. The G3, with the capabilities and modularity customers expect from a state-of-the-art cutting system, can be tailored to meet each and every customer's specific needs. Completely modular tooling allows for any number of combinations: e.g. for routing and engraving with the Universal Routing Tool — URT, or V-Cutting 3D-designs from foamcore or sandwich board materials.

"The speed with which the Zünd Cutter G3 converts flat sheets of corrugated cardboard to Refold tables is truly impressive, not to mention the incredible precision of the cuts, which is absolutely critical for this type of product"