How did the idea of Moppy come about and what were the challenges faced?
Interview with FRANCESCA POLTI, Managing Director Polti SpA and STEFANO CAPPI Design and Development Engineering Manager that describes the Moppy project.
Let’s start the #moppyevolution:
1. How did the idea of Moppy come about?
SC: the idea of Moppy came from a market need and a business need to have an easy to use cordless product, similar to a steam mop, for cleaning floors.
The initial idea was followed by a series of steps and developments before we finally defined the product.
FP: Moppy was requested by the market, by the consumer. In past surveys, starting from 2012 and consistently up to our most recent surveys, users expressed a constant need: to have an effective product that sanitizes and is also quick and practical to use every day. The elements identified as most annoying have always been the same: the cable and the weight.
Since its inception, Moppy has been an ambitious project: the first attempts to make the product were carried out in 2014 with some laboratory samples.
2. What persuaded you in choosing the name?
FP: the choice was made after consultation with 3 agencies. The name came when the product was finished, so the concept tests and user tests on 2 levels had already been done (prototype and project progress). The brief shared with the agencies was therefore to stimulate / enhance the advantages of Moppy - easy to use, fast, nice, smart, clever, simple. Many suggestions were put forward but the name Moppy impressed us with its immediacy (there’s an immediate association with floor cleaning), it’s immediately recognizable, easy to remember, it’s nice. Moreover the name was associated with a very friendly logo - the smile - and is flexible for use in communication.
3. What was the biggest problem you had to face in product development?
SC: From the beginning the most critical problem encountered with the product concept was energy management. The initial proposal put forward by the company but actually, in fact, by the market, was to have a steam cleaner without a cable. The use of batteries was an obvious first hypothetical technical solution. In recent years batteries have become more compact and economical; however since we need to generate steam this choice would have made the product heavy, expensive and with maintenance issues (energy management, disposal, lack of autonomy).
As a consequence, energy management has remained the main problem - How to transfer energy in the form of temperature, of steam condensate, to the floor / surface to be cleaned without having an electric cable? That is, how to combine the ability to transfer energy generated by electricity to the floor in the form of steam with a light and practical product? We therefore considered various solutions and prototypes that partially met our objective but at the expense of convenience and lightness. The prototypes of the product were too large and cumbersome due to inadequate technical solutions.
The turning point came from the idea of simplifying the use of steam, dispensing it from a docking station onto a microfibre cloth. This superheated and steamy cloth would remove dirt and bacteria. The results we obtained were noticeable for the usability and effectiveness of the product from the first prototype and were also validated by external laboratories.
During development, another critical aspect was to create a good product that was reliable over time, which avoided limescale formation due to prolonged use of the product. We therefore created experimental heating models, looking for a satisfactory system that could avoid accumulation of limestone due to the use of tap water, which is cheap and easily available. In addition, Moppy consumes only a few millilitres of water compared with the high amount required by traditional steam cleaning systems.
FP: I assisted and supported all the critical phases of development and, even if making one choice rather than another resulted in a longer timeline, the result has convinced and satisfied us. Addressing these critical issues led us to the solutions that have actually been adopted. Undoubtedly the most challenging choice I had to face was to decide where to produce Moppy: in Italy or with an Asian partner. I am happy that it is assembled here, in Italy, in our factory by people who believe in this product as much as I do. The solutions found allow us to present ourselves to the market at an appropriate price for innovation, and we don’t believe that the economic advantage of non-Italian production would have been relevant to the consumer.
On the contrary, the advantages of Italian production are obvious: production flexibility and a social and environmental advantage.
4. What do you hope for from this product?
FP: That it becomes synonymous with the product category like Vaporella and Vaporetto. I would like one day, in a few years, to say "bring me the Moppy", even if it’s a product from another brand. Moppy is a product that was not there. It's not a broom, it's not a scrubbing machine. It’s the "Moppy". I consider it a product very close to our vision. A little while ago, an area in Como was without water. I read some comments on social media that only a few litres of water were assigned to people to carry out all their activities - washing, cooking - and this amount was not enough to do everything. To wash the floors with a bucket and a scrubbing brush, for example, uses more than 5 litres. The impression that came to me was how much water is used to clean the floor; it’s perhaps a less helpful use of an important and increasingly rare resource. Moppy consumes very little energy and water. It responds to a deeply felt need for savings and conservation.
SC: During a technical development, there are two risks: that the project / product that results is good from a technical point of view but not very effective or that it is only responds to a current trend. The company's goal has always been to create products that are used, that the consumer / user can say "this is the product for me, I need it, it's useful!".
This is the expectation I have for Moppy: that people buy it and use it. In general, that it brings improvement (like habits, as cleaning) to the user and also to the environment.
5. Moppy in the hands of... who would you like to use it (celebrity, influencer, family person) and why?
FP: Chiara Ferragni and Fedez because, like a bag, it can be considered a fashion object. Didn’t they just have a baby? They really need it! Another couple is Barack and Michelle Obama because, selfishly, I would like to know them and for their commitment and attention to some issues that are close to us (such as the environment).
SC: To my mother, to everyone. I especially like to see young people using Moppy and how they enjoy using the product.
FP: Moppy is a democratic product, everyone can use it, it doesn’t mind!
Read more about Moppy and the new experience of cleanliness.
The first Moppy prototypes