Robens Behind the Scenes
This means all the new tents that appear in the 2016 catalogue will have started out on the drawing board in autumn 2014 to allow time for all the many tests and optimization phases a product has to go through when in the design process until we are satisfied they meet our exacting standards.
However, to reach this stage we start to create product focus by evaluating questions such as:
- Have the existing models satisfied our dealers’ and their customers’ expectations?
- Which products do consumers and retailers demand?
- Is there feedback from our testers and long-time travelers who take our products to the extreme?
- Are we missing something in the existing range?
- Are there new opportunities through the use of new materials?
- Are there cheaper materials with similar features to make the tents even more affordable?
- What are the trends or we can even start a trend?
The Preparation Begins
Our purchasing and development department now considers commercial implications, such as what can be implemented and whether it is affordable for the end user? Would it be a typical Robens product and can our DNA be seen in it?
Once focus has been established our industrial designer, Olaf Bracht, enters the scene. With over 30 years experience he is ‘Mr Robens’ for many of our Robens dealers. Olaf puts the ideas down on paper and names the first features. If this design is in line with our expectations, the production of the first tent sample can begin.
The first sample is rarely perfect, but it provides a base from which to perfect the design. After a few weeks we receive a new sample that features our suggested improvements and we can begin our product testing.
Our Danish headquarters contains our own test facility. This includes a 380hp mobile wind machine that we use to inflict extreme wind speeds on a tent from all angles. In addition, we have a rain system that subjects a tent to simulated extreme rainfall. A Robens tent prototype must be able to withstand these in order to move forward into the next development process.
Our test facility is the only one of its type in Europe and is used by Europe's largest Trekking magazine Outdoor to conduct its prestigious annual independent tent tests.
During these tests we pay attention to numerous factors that include:
- If the pole construction is the correct size and form.
- The flysheet fit.
- Guyline positioning.
- Number of attachment points for guys and pegs.
- Vent efficiency.
- After a prototype has passed the tests then the calculation process starts to ensure it has commercial merit. Meanwhile, the spring is over and we need to produce a new tent to present to our dealers. The final tent sample in the right colour is now manufactured.