As the temperature drops and chills the bones, we long for the warmth of a fireside. When we’re camping, attending an outdoor event, or working in an unheated garage, the convenience of localized warmth is greatly appreciated. Fortunately, Mr. Heater offers a family of portable heaters and has called on Priority Designs numerous times over the years to help bring these products to market.
The scope of our design support includes a family of three propane heaters for a variety of applications. The Buddy Heater is the cornerstone of Mr. Heater’s retail offering for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, or those needing emergency heat. We optimized the design for BTU output, material use, weight, assembly, and safety. A fold-down handle was also incorporated to reduce its overall height for storage and to minimize packaging for more shipping space and reduced transport costs. As a logical line extension, the Big Buddy Heater is targeted to those needing more heat output. For this feature-rich unit, we developed a rotating regulator that allows the propane tank to tip out and away for convenient loading.Describe more of the development and iterations. Were there sketches? Fast fail models? What were we exploring with those? Copy text from the original case study and put it here.
A power vent fan was implemented to increase heat dispersion and integrated separate ignition and fan control functions into a single button to make it easier to use. Finally, the Little Buddy Heater was designed for the casual outdoor user.
We provided the same optimal heat output and safety features of its bigger brother, in a compact form factor, and worked with a manufacturing vendor to design a single valve/regulator combination to reduce part count and achieve the smallest possible size.
Along with these functional innovations, we worked hard to develop a consistent look and feel for the three portable heaters despite varying form factors, engineering constraints, and manufacturing realities. As a result of these efforts, sales of the Buddy Heater family have been hot, far exceeding sales goals and have consistently maintained high sales volume.
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