NATURAL BORN GRILLER
Research / Industrial Design / Engineering / Production
We were challenged with helping Traeger’s vision to develop a new flagship grill with improved craftsmanship, reimagined aesthetics, an advanced, wifi enabled user interface, improved cooking performance, and a cooking capacity for a family to cook a complete meal.
At the beginning of this project, we conducted secondary research on BBQ and pellet grills through blogs, websites, and collecting competitive information. We also spent time in the field, allowing us to travel to stores in different states that sell obscure pellet grills. The highlight of our field research came from interviews with leading industry influencers such as Danielle Bennett (Diva Q) and Cameron Treu (Bam Bam). We even participated with Bam Bam at the Nevada State BBQ Championship (Best Dam BBQ Challenge). These discussions and insights from observing what it takes to make great BBQ, led us to hypotheses on the science of smoke and smoke utilization as well as the BBQ culture and a griller’s expected experience.
Alongside exploring the design aesthetics of this new flagship grill, the team established methods to investigate and measure their hypotheses around smoke utilization. Proof of function prototypes were fabricated and data was collected and analyzed to help guide the team toward appropriate solutions. To ensure the aesthetics were hitting the mark, multiple iterations of mock-ups were presented to research participants to gather end user feedback and ensure we were delivering on Traeger’s brand values and executive team’s goals.
Tekna partnered with DornerWorks, our embedded electronics partner as well as an app and web development firm, OvenBits, to design and execute the Traeger WiFIRE System. This system allows the grill to be an IoT device, with cloud server and app based remote control. Our design team led the GUI development, managing the workflow, language, and graphics for what might be the most advanced grill control in the industry.
In addition to the electrical, app and cloud development, we delivered fully developed CAD models to Traeger’s supplier and supported the product commercialization with performance testing, pre-production assembly, collaboration with Traeger’s Chinese supply base, and first part approval.