Laura Ngan


OXO Prep & Go

Vacuum-Sealed Food Containers

Smart Design is, in their words, a “strategic design & innovation consulting firm” that offers engineering (mechanical and electrical) and design (industrial, research, strategy) capabilities. Smart has a longstanding relationship with OXO to develop kitchenware, and many of their staff as of 2019 had some level of interaction with the OXO client.

Problem Statement:
Smart Design was working with OXO to develop a line of portable food containers that would enable the user to prepare, reheat, and eat their food from the same vessel. The product requirement for portability was interpreted as an engineering requirement for vacuum sealing.

By January 2019, the engineering team was about a year into the project and working in production CAD, making ergonomics and performance refinements to the design.

Project Details:
Role: supporting design engineer
Team: 1 lead design engineer, 2 industrial designers, + me
Timeline: 3 month internship (2019)

Refine latch design to achieve secure latch and satisfying click sound/feel, which communicates to user that latch is secure
Refine silicone vacuum-sealing gasket to improve experience removing container lid while maintaining watertight performance

Mechanical design: Master modeling in PTC Creo
Iterative prototyping: 3D printing, silicone casting
Usability/Ergonomics testing: Understanding the subjective experience of opening the lids with respect to touchpoints, force required to open, and movement of contents during opening process

OXO Prep & Go 20-Piece Container Set was released in 2021.

I worked on production CAD across the full suite of containers. The ID and initial CAD design was complete, and I worked to refine the design, particularly around the latch and gasket, ensuring all changes were propagated to every container volume using a master modeling approach.

This project was my introduction to master modeling using frames to designate key dimensions. This method has been extremely helpful in my work on other mechanical designs, as it makes the design far more parametric, more easily controlled and integrated with ID, and less liable to break.