Analyzing, understanding and applying: Kärcher design DNA.

Why this project?

"You don't always have reinvent the wheel, sometimes what's inside a product already does the job. The shell around it needs to be optimised for an other purpose" 


A 3,5-week Solidworks course targeting the development of an electrical screwdriver, based on a design DNA of a personally chosen brand. Executed at the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden in March 2016. 


A €14,99 electrical screwdriver was used and disassembled, new hardware was modelled and 3D printed and the internal parts of the electrical screwdriver were installed in the newly 3D-printed hardware. The aim of this course was to improve 3D modelling and making working prototypes. 


Kärcher X is an electric screwdriver that is equipped with an integrated bit holder . The screwdriver has been designed for wet and outside environments. It's robust appearance derives from Kärcher's product portfolio. 




what to do?

Design strategy

As a fully functional electric screwdriver was given and I was supposed to use these as a foundation for further development, analysing this product is crucial. A brand was chosen, in this case it was Kärcher and analysed. Afterwards their identified and defined design language was applied to a newly developed electric screwdriver. 




combine to understand

Kärcher's Design DNA?

A brandboard was created in order to understand Kärcher’s design DNA. To understand the characteristics of Kärcher’s products, many of them were analysed and organised by similarities. The products with the most similarities were clustered and combined in a new shape, as shown in the image in picture underneath.





understanding what's under the hood

From product analysis to ideation and form development

Before ideation, a current electric screwdriver has been opened up to see what components are integrated in the product. Since the aim of the project was to create a working prototype at the end, the internal parts of the given electrical screwdriver had to be reused. These parts were measured, drawn in Illustrator and used as an underlay in ideation.




what is in kärcher's portfolio?

Differences in the handheld tools from Kärcher

Before designing a new handheld tool based on Kärcher, it's necessary to understand what they have on the market and why their product looks the way they look. The picture underneath shows the different handheld tools produced by Kärcher in the watering systems market alone. It provided a good base for colour, material and finish but not for shape and ergonomics. Kärcher doesn't seem to be consistent with their proportions, interaction points and CMF application.




creative exploration

Some initial sketching, both digital and on paper

Ideation sessions can be done in many ways. Educated as an industrial designer, sketching is in my case the quickest way to shape and visualise ideas. The sketches were made by hand, scanned in and later edited in photoshop. Digital tools, results are shown in the second and third picture, were used to quickly change form and proportion.





1:1 foam models

Explore and refine by making and iterating

After sketching, several prototypes have been made to continiously get feedback about proportions, size, feeling and aesthetics. The parts of the disassembled electrical screwdriver were measured and converted in CAD and used as a base to build the Kärcher branded electrical screwdriver. After a back and forth process of making styrofoam models, a CAD model was created.






Kärcher X - the water resistant electrical screwdriver

Kärcher X is equipped with an integrated bit holder that is able to store up to three different bits internally! The screwdriver has been designed with a wet and outside environment and communicates therefore sturdiness and aligns with the main pressure cleaners. 




designing from the inside out

The inside as an integrated part of the product

The components of an existing 16 euro electric screwdriver have been used as a reference and the product is built around these components.  The product can be produced by injection moulding two shells. Overmoulding the handle will give it a rubber texture. In total two screws are visible, while three screws are being used.  




designing from the inside out

detailing the product