The Cornelius NitroProTM was a recipient of the 2019 Kitchen Innovation Awards for its innovative on-board nitro infusion that eliminates the need for nitrogen tanks. We are proud to have helped Cornelius bring this award-winning, countertop nitro cold brew coffee dispenser to life.
This product uses the cabinet and refrigeration system from an existing juice dispenser. Adding tap handles to the existing design where there used to be buttons meant that the frame had to be able to support more weight and force. Cornelius hired us to add rigidity to the product, design the modular tap handle mechanism, and conduct safety testing.
When the project was handed off to us, the door was not strong enough to withstand the added forces associated with pulling on a tap handle. Our team analyzed the existing machine to see what parts were loose or flexible, and determined that a substantial amount of rigidity would need to be added. We couldn’t change the geometry of the existing plastic components, so the structural sheet metal brackets we added had to fit within narrow spatial constraints. We created bracket designs for both configurations of the product.
Our team also incorporated the tap handles into the system. It was important that the tap handle feels like a mechanical tap valve even though it is only activating an electronic switch inside the machine. We conducted ergonomic testing for the pull force, finger clearance and handle angle before engineering a solution. Our final design used springs, rubber bumpers, and hall effect switches to simulate the satisfying handle resistance and pouring experience that users would expect from a beer tap handle.
The added tap handles provide a place that children could reach and potentially hang from, so we had to ensure that the product would not tip or break under 50 pounds of force. We conducted tip testing on the functioning prototypes and finite element analysis on several parts to eliminate stress risers and make parts stronger.
Where Is It Now?
We delivered manufacturable Solidworks assemblies and part drawings and Cornelius finished the project from there. The Cornelius NitroProTM is available for purchase and it is advertised on the Cornelius website HERE.
View the 2019 Kitchen Innovation Awards recipients HERE.