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Old 10-23-2010, 07:56 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Oct 2010
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New Saucepan Design- Research Help Required!

Hi Everyone
My name is Ashley and I am a final year student at Loughborough University studying Product Design. I am a keen cook and baker and I am very excited about having the opportunity to focus my final year design project around cooking in the home. I am hoping that you guys could spare a minute to help me out with some research that I am currently undertaking.
I am looking at designing a product, most likely a saucepan, which will help to support the transition that many people have to make from living at home and having meals prepared for them to leaving home and having to start cooking for themselves.
If any of you have recently made this transition or know of anyone that has done so i.e. children leaving home, you could be of assistance! I would like to know what problems you have had with using saucepans on the hob for the first time and any other problems you may have encountered i.e. problems ensuring that all of the different elements of the meal are ready to be served up at the same time. Those of you that have not recently made this transition, you could still help out by letting me know any of the problems you still encounter with using saucepans on the hob, I for one still struggle with my water over boiling!
Thank you in advance!


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Old 10-23-2010, 05:11 PM   #2
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When I moved out of the house, I got a Farberware Classic Cookware set. They are good cookware, but their handles have an odd curve type shape, instead of a typical straight handle. If I were to get another starter set, I wouldn't get the Farberware Classic, because of the weird ~ handle. Also the wall curve of the skillets are too steep.


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Old 10-23-2010, 07:39 PM   #3
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Hi Baking Ashley

Does your final year design project including costing? Because if you were to design a saucepan under the criteria you mention, then you must surely have a budget? If in fact you hit on a new design and gotten it into production, then all the production costs including materials, design and engineering would major around profit.

Take a look at Ikea's budget saucepan sets. Ours over here orininated from Vietnam, are good quality stainless steel and keenly priced at way below £100.00

As for me, when I began cooking, I bought a set of "Tower" brand saucepans, and still have the large oval casserole tin complete with lid. I couldn't fault them. They were comfortable, although their bottoms weren't the solid sandwich-types many pans have today.

A well-fitting lid is essential. TIG-welded handles are preferable to riveted because of cheaper production costs.

By the way, I am doing my Masters in Open University (online) as an student in mechanical engineering. Have been doing this as home study, and doing it now. Good luck with Loughborough. Next to Warwick, it's an excellent uni.
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:20 PM   #4
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A good design must take into account the problems surrounding the tasks of cooking, the cost of making a product, and the types of cooking that will be most popular among the targeted customer group.

For those transitioning from home, where everything is prepared for them, to preparing things for themselves, One must first look at the foods that will most likely be prepared. Typically, the food must be simple to cook, inexpensive, and flavorful. The pan must therefore be able to facillitate these elements. For instance, pasta is a favorite of beginning cooks because hte sauce can be purchaced and the pasta itself is easy to prepare. All you need is a bit of salt and boiling water. So the pan has to either be deep enough to hold the pasta noodles, or wide enough. The wider pan will get hot faster which speeds the cooking process. It will also need a tight fitting lid, and should be able to help prevent boil-overs.

The p[roblem with this is that there are already a host of pots suitable for this purpose. So, can we make this pot a multi-tasker? Why yes we can. If we make the pan wide enough to lay the pasta sideways, and still hold enough water to cover, then when the pan isn't being used for pasta, maybe we can use it to make scrambled eggs, or an omlette. Is it deep enough to fry chicken in? Is it oven proof so that it can be used to make casseroles? Does it heat quickly, but still have enough thermal mass to fry a steak? Can I make a soup in it? Are there hot spots? Can it be used on an induction stove? Can it be used under a broiler? Is it light enough for the average woman or man to easily use? Do I want sloped sides so that foods can easily be flipped without a spatula, or should it have a sharp angle between the bottom and side? Does the handle stay cool to the touch? Should it have a glass or metal lid? Is it durable, or does it need special care? Whould the lid lock on? Does it need drain holes? Can it withstand greater than atmospheric pressures? What happens if the pan is screaming hot and is suddenly immersed into ice water?

If you are designing a pan, you need to ask yourself all of these questions and more. Then, you need to try many pans in your own home, learn how they work, what they are good for, and what are their strengths and weakneses. Then, try to figure out how to combine functions, and maximise the utility of the pan while elliminating as many weaknesses as possible.

You have picked an interesting project. I wish you luck. I believe that a wide pan, with rounded sides that slope slightly straight up and down at the top, and made with a sturdy metal such as stainless steel would be a useful pot, especially if it has a good lid. The key to this pot/pan is to make it of high quality, insuring that it has no hot spots, has plenty of thermal mass, and is marketed with materials that can show the versatility of the pan. It won't be a truly new pan, but rather, it will be a great pan that has more uses than most people know how to use it for.

Hope that helps.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:18 AM   #5
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Thank you to everyone so far. I know I have a lot think about, and the kind of answers/questions you've provided me with so far are exactly what I was looking for. Keep them coming!
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