The toughest customers I ever came across? Miners. When they wanted to open a container of grinding bits, these guys would heave the containers over their heads and drop them on the ground. You see, the bits were so heavy that the container lids had to fit super tight – so tight even these guys couldn’t get them open. The problem with their strategy was that all the plastic bits from smashed containers would contaminate the ore they were mining. I was tasked with creating a better container to transport the bits – and if the containers could hold a few more bits, that’d be great too. The solution was an elliptical container. By pressing on the side of the container and grabbing the handle molded into the lid, the lock would disengage and the lid would come off easily enough for any miner to handle the task. But the lid still required a machine to press it on, so what were they to do if they didn’t want to empty the whole container? That’s why there’s a lid within a lid. Easier and faster access is provided by the round lid in the center. That lid isn’t also tasked with supporting stacked containers so the lock doesn’t require the same engagement as the perimeter lid does. And speaking of handles, if you’ve ever carried a paint can with a wire bale (handle) for any distance, you’d swear that thing was about to slice your fingers off. Now try it with a container full of iron mining bits – it’s excruciating. To improve this, I designed a snap-together handle with a living hinge. This was simple to tool and attached to the bale wire simply by folding and snapping shut. Its elliptical shape distributed the load nicely in the hand yet kept a low profile when laying against the side of the container so it wouldn’t snag other containers next to it or take up any extra space – and it looked pretty good on an elliptical container too.
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