REFRESHING YOUR AGING PRODUCT LINE WITH NEW FINISHING SOLUTIONS

Over the years, we have witnessed how several popular brands have rebranded solid product lines across generations. With one or two facelifts, engineering improvements, and enhanced surface finish, famous brands like Samsung, Apple, and the likes have been able to pique new interest that empowers the survival of a product line. 

Surface finishes have been the hallmark of cosmetic attraction for most plastic injection molding projects. In fact, surface finishing serves more than one function – Not only does it beautify, but it also protects and markets your product. 

So what happens when you have an aging product? One that has been a star product line for the business and one you aren’t ready to retire? Well, you reinvent it! 

Reinventing an aging product line 

Reinventing a product is more complicated than it sounds. This is because not all products are greeted by huge commercial success. For some, the problem is design and cosmetics. For others, the problem lies in the engineering, ergonomics, and functionality of the product. 

What do you want to change? 

Surface Finish

Depending on how the product has performed over the years, you may opt to touch up the design. For some products, this is easier than others. Some products have a unique shape and appearance that breeds their identity, and tampering with your product identity can be adverse. For products such as these, exploring new finishing solutions is the key to success. 

Design and Functionality

If your product has been excellent but can be even better, you may opt to change some key components’ design. If all your changes are internal and mechanical, no one will notice. If you’re changing some of the product form, you will need to make the changes subtle enough so that your brand identity remains intact. 

Refreshing an aging line 

While there is no right or wrong way to make an older product line more acceptable and appealing to a newer generation. Design and surface finish are two prize solutions. Let’s take a closer look at how both options can help with your product rebranding: 

New surface finish

Opting for a new surface finish is the quicker and more economical option. There are also so many solutions to choose from. Today, your product’s surface finish needs to have both cosmetic and protection. The excellent surface finish should be able to appeal to existing markets and capture prospective buyers’ attention. It should also help the device in some way, such that it becomes a marketing bullet point. Before concluding on what surface finish to use, you must understand how new customers will use the product and how it may address the improvements that customers have sought over the years. 

On a final note, surface finish refreshes must also be varied and versatile. This will provide your customers with different options to pick and update the look of your aged product. Some of the most popular surface finishes we offer at Firstpart include: 

• Media blasting 

• Etching 

• Silk and pad printing 

• CNC machined finishes 

• Painting 

• Powder coating 

• Polishing (Gloss, matte, or satin)

• Anodizing 

• Chrome coating 

• Texturing 

Surface finishing can also help you cover up the many defects that may have arisen during the CNC machining, die casting, or injection molding process. Processes like texturing improve grip and paint adhesion, while anodizing is a potent means for preventing or reducing corrosion. 

Key considerations before concluding on surface finish include the choice of resin, the class of mold to be used, and the impact of the finish on the cost per part. 

New product design 

When making changes to external product design and forms, ensure that these changes are made subtly and gradually. This way, your brand identity remains intact, and your customers still feel like they’re buying into the quality and reliability that made that product line age very well. 

A key example in product design refreshment can be made in the case of Apple. From the first iPhones, which had squared off edges in their design, up to the iPhone 5, the brand design largely remained recognizable. Their next line of smartphones, the iPhone 6 up to the iPhone 8, were also designed to resemble one another with several internal improvements. Finally, from the iPhone X up to the iPhone 11, the device carries the same screen notch and remains curved at the edges. Apple’s most recent iPhone 12 features a sleeker phone with flat edges but still has sports the notch with a better screen ratio. 

Dos and Don’ts 

• Make changes gradual 

• Keep brand identity 

• Do not change product design if only mechanical/internal improvements are being made. 

• Make a variety of designs for product lines to encourage choices and diversity. 

Modernizing your product 

Depending on the initial build, you can explore various technologies to refresh and modernize your aged product line. The following technologies are beneficial for making better-looking and more functional products: 

• CNC Machining 

• Plastic Injection Molding 

• Die Casting 

• 3D Printing and 

• Sheet metal fabrication

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