Case Study


Realise Product Design were looking for an aluminium tooling and plastic injection moulding company in the UK who specialised in manufacturing complex product designs.

They were also looking for a rapid and reliable manufacturing partner who could produce a high quality device within a short lead time.

Being ‘Without Limits’, and specialising in fast turnarounds of high quality, complex devices and components, it wasn’t long before Realise got in touch with RP Technologies.

RP Technologies Airhead Entrepreneurs
The Brief

RP Technologies was approached by Airhead and product design agency, Realise Product Design, to produce a new-to-market anti-pollution mask for cyclists.

Elliot, Harry, and Alex met whilst studying Economics at the University of Bath. Following graduation, they moved to London. As keen cyclists, they soon got fed up with cycling around the city and breathing in polluted air. So they decided to do something about it.

They commissioned product design agency, Realise Product Design, to design a revolutionary anti-pollution mask. The intention was to create a mask which could be worn by cyclists, and which would prevent them from inhaling smoke, dust, and pollen.

The Challenge

This project was a complex one.

With mask designs, no glue or solvent can be used. Each of the parts clip together instead. This meant that the accuracy of RP’s toolmaking and plastic injection moulding was vital.

As environmentally conscious people, Elliot, Harry, and Alex were keen to manufacture a mask that was completely sustainable and easy to recycle.

They also wanted to create something which would have an extended lifespan – something that was built to last. They wanted the component parts to be easily replaceable over time.

In addition to this, Airhead also wanted to produce a mask with a completely modular design, so that it could be quickly taken apart by its user and cleaned thoroughly and easily.

There were 7 different moulded parts that make up the main body of the Airhead mask. These were a combination of POM, polypropylene and TPE, depending on whether a rigid structure was needed or a soft seal to create an airtight seal against the face.

Airhead wanted a mask that was fashionable, so RP had to ensure that whatever was created was aesthetically impressive.

Airhead Anti Pollution Mask Parts
Airhead Anti Pollution Mask
The Results

A close collaboration between RP and Realise Product Design during the tool design process ensured that high quality, repeatable mouldings were achieved in a short space of time, with every deadline being met along the way.

There were three main plastic injection moulded parts to the mask: the Front Cup, the Opening/Filter Seal, and the Nose Cup/Facial Seal. Each of these parts brought with them some very unique manufacturing challenges.

RP needed to problem solve and innovate throughout. Our CAD design team, quality engineers, toolmakers, and plastic injection moulding specialists each had to contribute ideas to find creative solutions to a series of complex manufacturing problems.

The mask was produced to incredibly tight tolerances, with some very complex tooling and plastic injection moulding processes.

We ran a low volume production run, in which we manufactured 8,500 units. This was enough to fulfil the orders which Airhead had already secured prior to manufacture.

Alex Smith, co-founder of Airhead, said: “As a start-up business, time and budget were incredibly important in successfully delivering the project.

For us, RP being based in the UK and making tools in-house was a huge advantage.

Communication was always quick and clear and there were no delays. The team clearly has a huge amount of experience in the creation of high quality products.

It’s our first product and I don’t think we could have been in better hands.

The team genuinely care about creating the best product and that’s a rare trait. They also went the extra mile in creating samples as quickly as possible.”

For more information on this project, please visit our Knowledge Hub.

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