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Designing the most cost-effective polycarbonate suitcase (Need your help!)

Designing the most cost-effective polycarbonate suitcase (Need your help!)

Old Feb 7, 19, 9:14 pm
  #1  
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Designing the most cost-effective polycarbonate suitcase (Need your help!)

*This post has been approved by moderator Wharvey

Hello guys,
I'm Victor. Two of my friends who are outsourcing expert and product designer and I started a new company called MVST Select. Recently, we are designing the most cost-effective polycarbonate suitcase with all the necessary functions, and we hope this great community can give us some feedback.

Here are specifications and features of the suitcase.
Shell Material: 100% Virgin Polycarbonate Shell
Wheels: Hinomoto's new product line Lisof Silent Run Wheels. Search Lisof Silent Run on YouTube for the demonstration video of the wheels.
Telescopic Handle: Aluminum All Stage. Adjust to any height you want.
Top Handle: Regular Rubber Handle on carryon. Self-weighing scale handle on 24" and 28" suitcases. (Is it necessary on 24"? I've never gone over-weight with my 24" suitcase. Self-weighing scale handle costs about $10 more in production, so we want to add the feature only if it is vital.)
Side Handle: Regular Rubber Handle.
Closure: Zipper-less Closure. Aluminum frame and two TSA locks.
Other Features:
  1. A removable battery USB charger (only on carryon size)
  2. A braking system. (Is this feature necessary? )

The estimated prices: $195 for Carryon, $225 for 24" and $245 for 28"
Any thought is appreciated and looking forward to reading your comments.
BTW, if you have questions about luggage, let me know. I'm happy to answer them.
tclvictor is offline  
Old Feb 8, 19, 5:03 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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I guess I am not your target market, but as far as I am concerned, this is a problem that has been solved. A suitcase is a box for moving your stuff around. It needs to be
  • Relatively durable (to protect your stuff)
  • Relatively lightweight (so you can take more stuff)
  • Relatively secure (so nobody takes your stuff)
  • A telescoping handle and 2 or 4 wheels are table stakes
Where are you hoping to innovate?

I use a 22" consumer-level TravelPro that is more than 8 years old. It was <$100 in 2010. It looks ugly and the handle sticks a little, but I have checked it more than 500 times in the last 3.5 years and it still works fine. Before that I had some off-brand soft-sided spinner from my local dept store that lasted more than 10 years (and I still use sometimes if my wife and I are traveling together).
Qwkynuf is offline  
Old Feb 8, 19, 9:15 pm
  #3  
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I would not find the self-weighing handle of much value--one scale that goes in a carry-on is less to carry than building a scale into each suitcase. (I rarely travel alone, one scale suffices for however many are traveling together. I can see more value for the business traveler.)

I also see no point in a battery. If I want a battery I pack a battery--and it's in my personal item, not my rollaboard. If you're determined I would suggest instead omitting the battery but making a USB pass-through connection. Instead of the usual plug straight in I would make the plug go parallel to the case (put it next to something that's going to stick out anyway so it doesn't make it any bigger, or if there are no such locations, put it in a recess) so the wire isn't as vulnerable and you can use whatever battery you want.
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Feb 8, 19, 10:10 pm
  #4  
 
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Weight weight weight... Can it be a few pounds lighter if carbon fiber or aluminum ?

If carry-on 4 swivel wheels for narrow aisles

I always have too much stuff coming and going so weight is important to me ,

Good luck , it's hard to get known when the big guys have the money to advertise so much .




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LAXlocal is offline  
Old Feb 8, 19, 11:36 pm
  #5  
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Really appreciate your input.

According to the SITA Baggage Report 2017, 0.57% of bags are mishandled in 2016. We want to lower this number by designing a stronger suitcase. To most people, in fact, they will not feel a big difference because the odd is so slim. The extra money spent on a better suitcase feels unworthy. However, it does not mean a better suitcase is not necessary since it is a nightmare hitting the jackpot. Besides, a better suitcase also comes with other good features that make travel easier.

We hope we can make suitcases better in every way with new technologies.
Durability: We use polycarbonate to make suitcase shell. Polycarbonate is often combined with glass to make bulletproof glass. It is the best and yet economical choice for hardside suitcase, which provides better protection than softside suitcase. Most hardside suitcases are made of ABS which is the cheapest material for making hardside suitcase. The price of a three-piece set of ABS suitcases can be as low as $70, (the manufacturing cost is about $35.) However, they are more likely to crack in cold weather because ABS becomes very brittle at low temperature.

Lightweight: Polycarbonate is one of the lightest materials to make suitcase.

Security: Zipper is one of the two weakest parts of a suitcase, so we want to avoid zippers. We replace zippers with an aluminum frame to reinforce the case, so it can better protect fragile items such as camera lens. Aluminum frame combined with two TSA locks makes a zipper-less closure which is stronger than zipper-lock closure. It is not 100% theif-proof, but is definitely safer.

Also, we upgrade the telescoping handle from three-stage to all-stage and wheels from four single-wheels to four Hinomoto double-wheels for a better rolling experience.

The estimated prices may be pricey, but it is reasonable. Many factors should be considered when comparing the price today to 9 years ago such as inflation, logistics and operating cost. From 2010-2018, inflation has gone up 15.16%, and the logistics and operating cost are higher than 9 years ago. I've seen so many luggage companies increased the prices of their products over the past years.
tclvictor is offline  
Old Feb 8, 19, 11:58 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by LAXlocal View Post
Weight weight weight... Can it be a few pounds lighter if carbon fiber or aluminum ?

If carry-on 4 swivel wheels for narrow aisles

I always have too much stuff coming and going so weight is important to me ,

Good luck , it's hard to get known when the big guys have the money to advertise so much .




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The weight ranking (from the lightest to the heaviest.)
Carbon fiber=Polycarbonate<ABS/PC mix<ABS<Fabric<Aluminum
Carbon fiber uses a resin to hold it in place, which is similar to plastic, so the weight is not much different from polycarbonate while aluminum is significantly heavier. (But aluminum suitcases are pretty)
Although carbon fiber suitcase has about the same weight as polycarbonate, the strength to weight ratio is much higher than that of polycarbonate suitcase (also much more expensive.)
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Old Feb 9, 19, 12:08 am
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
I would not find the self-weighing handle of much value--one scale that goes in a carry-on is less to carry than building a scale into each suitcase. (I rarely travel alone, one scale suffices for however many are traveling together. I can see more value for the business traveler.)

I also see no point in a battery. If I want a battery I pack a battery--and it's in my personal item, not my rollaboard. If you're determined I would suggest instead omitting the battery but making a USB pass-through connection. Instead of the usual plug straight in I would make the plug go parallel to the case (put it next to something that's going to stick out anyway so it doesn't make it any bigger, or if there are no such locations, put it in a recess) so the wire isn't as vulnerable and you can use whatever battery you want.
Hi Loren,
Thanks for your input. Our current plan is that only the large checked bag has the self-weighting handle because it is the most likely one to go over-weight.
Regarding the battery, maybe we will build two versions, one with battery and one without. According to the feedback from other sources, we found many people think it's a great feature to have especially when they get used to it.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 7:05 pm
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What you are proposing sounds no better, but more expensive than the Amazon Basics PC spinner bags. At least with Amazon's spinners, if a wheel gets busted, I can have one shipped to me via prime within a day or two.

As for the battery, I would personally avoid any carry on bag with a built in battery - this idea isn't new or innovative, and just adds weight and cost. Built in scale - IDK, sounds like a gimmick and another thing to break to me. No offense, but it sounds like you're just cherry picking off-the-shelf components and trying to figure out what's the best mix.

What's your unique proposition? What's your differentiator? If you can't explain that in a simple, believable sentence or two, you have a marketing problem.

Best of luck.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 6:20 pm
  #9  
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The important thing not called out in your post: What's it weigh?

I'm not your target market, as I onebag travel with a backpack / duffle 95% of the time, but when I have a need to bring or check a firearm, I use a Stormcase 2500 or Pelican Air carry on. (Pelican is 8.69 lbs empty for the carry on size). Those are bombproof, sleek, maximize internal dimensions, very quiet and smooth wheels, fits in overhead bins when necessary, locks very securely when I need to check it. I've had hundreds of trips with these bags with no breakage.

If I'm going to get a plastic shelled rolly, it's got to compete with those models. I assume you'd be less weight, but in exchange for what features?

Battery? Gimmick. I don't care about a built in battery. I think they're useless. If I'm sitting in my airline seat and need to charge my phone, I need to take down my bag? If I'm sitting in a lounge or lobby, I need to be chained to my bag? No thanks, I'll just take out my little brick (Fluxmob, Ravpower) and charge my phone while I'm using it, untethered to a bag.
Brake? Gimmick. Useless feature to me.
Built In Scale? Gimmick. Maybe useful to someone on the largest bag, like you say. But most people will never go over 50lbs on a carry on. Or if they're flying RyanAir, they won't be the type to buy expensive bags.

It sounds like the brand's most "distinguishing feature" that folks above have made call for is that yours don't have zippers. That's a good thing, I suppose - "more secure" is the tagline and pulls people from comparing with eBags and Amazon basics zippered models.
So, if that's the secret sauce differential, that puts your brand mostly up against the Samsonite bags that are in that class: F'lite for larger bags, Cruiseair DLX or Framelock series in carryon ($197), other brands like the Enkloze X1 (more expensive and has same brand wheels, etc.), Andiamo Elegante ($129 on Amazon), and assumedly some other brands I don't know about. Then there's things like my Pelican Air or Stormcase 2500, the TravelKing (aluminum) type bags, etc. that aren't polycarb, but probably even more durable and lockable. So you'd hope to weigh far less and cost less. Features like a battery are gimmicky and drives that price up.

Ultimately, potential customers that google for that feature set are going to get results from other vendors, and are going to ask "how does this compare to the 8-wheel, polycarbonate, TSA-locked, zipperless, aluminum-magnesium frame, $129, 8lbs 3oz, Andiamo?"

It seems like it's been done.

But, there's always room for chocolate and vanilla in the same space. Looks, colors/patterns, that adjustable handle height, etc. might be enough. I'd stick to that stuff vs. gimmicks like batteries. A lot of luggage is chosen by color and fun patterns, or conversely - avoiding weird fashion textures and ribbing. Some people like sleek and plain. I wouldn't buy the zigzag ribbed Rimowa and Andiamo, for instance...


TDM

Last edited by Friendly Traveling Deathmerchant; Feb 11, 19 at 6:33 pm
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Old Feb 17, 19, 9:30 pm
  #10  
 
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A carry-on should maximise internal space (which is why I prefer two wheels over spinners), and if you want to interest the overseas market it should super lightweight. The airlines where I live tend to have a 7kg maximum allowance, so personally I would want a carry-on to be 1kg max in weight, although ideally less. My current two carry-ons are under 1kg, two-wheeled, and cost about $200 each (bought on sale down from $250). The only thing I would change is hard-side.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 3:30 pm
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This sounds promising. Sounds like Lojel's non-zipper suitcases, but maybe better. I hate zipper suitcases, so nice to see another entry. Maybe consider a clamshell 60/40 or more instead of the usual 50/50. Rare to find a non-zipper clamshell these days. Also, l always find that the two-stage handle ends up too long or too short on my 22". I assume it's a friction stop?

If you include a battery, it must be removable. I've been on many flights lately where they specifically mention that over the gate PA. Personally I'd rather carry my own. Especially given the ongoing nonsense over USB-C.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 7:12 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by GoRavens View Post
What you are proposing sounds no better, but more expensive than the Amazon Basics PC spinner bags. At least with Amazon's spinners, if a wheel gets busted, I can have one shipped to me via prime within a day or two.

As for the battery, I would personally avoid any carry on bag with a built in battery - this idea isn't new or innovative, and just adds weight and cost. Built in scale - IDK, sounds like a gimmick and another thing to break to me. No offense, but it sounds like you're just cherry picking off-the-shelf components and trying to figure out what's the best mix.

What's your unique proposition? What's your differentiator? If you can't explain that in a simple, believable sentence or two, you have a marketing problem.

Best of luck.
The truth is designing a suitcase is exactly like picking off-the-shelf components and put them together in the best way. What matters is quality and cost control. Basically, all the luggage companies do the same thing. Our differentiator is simple, we use the best components to make the best suitcase in its price tier.
If you look at the specifications of Amazon Basics spinner bags, you will find the cheap ones are mostly made of ABS or ABS+PC which are cheaper than 100% PC. Not to mention they use less good wheels, cheaper interior fabric, medium quality telescoping handles. Although they may suffice the basic needs of travel, the user experience could be better.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 7:45 pm
  #13  
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Thanks for your comment!
We will probably just include a USB port instead of a removable battery to lower the price.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 7:45 pm
  #14  
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What's the size of your carryon? Could you let me know the brand? Thanks!
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Old Feb 18, 19, 7:55 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by finlandia View Post
This sounds promising. Sounds like Lojel's non-zipper suitcases, but maybe better. I hate zipper suitcases, so nice to see another entry. Maybe consider a clamshell 60/40 or more instead of the usual 50/50. Rare to find a non-zipper clamshell these days. Also, l always find that the two-stage handle ends up too long or too short on my 22". I assume it's a friction stop?

If you include a battery, it must be removable. I've been on many flights lately where they specifically mention that over the gate PA. Personally I'd rather carry my own. Especially given the ongoing nonsense over USB-C.
Many of many friends suggested 70/30. We will probably build a USB port into the suitcase. People can put their own power bank in the suitcase to charge their electronics.
It is not a friction stop which is not reliable in my opinion. The all-stage telescoping handle works similarly to two-stage or three-stage handles.
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