Design Transition of a Reusable Tampon Applicator from Concept to Rapid Tooling


UK-based start-up, DAME, is on a mission to become the first zero-plastic brand of menstrual products with a negative carbon footprint. DAME has developed a revolutionary reusable tampon applicator designed to work with a range of organic tampons that are free from rayon, bleach and pesticides.


DAME contracted ITL Group to further develop their initial prototype design to produce a more ergonomic design suitable for future mass production following a marketing study.

After DAME advertised the potential for their product in the US market ITL produced a detailed report that highlighted the FDA classification of Menstrual Tampons and provided current examples of materials used within approved devices.

Our Approach

The project required involvement from engineers with an understanding of the requirements for plastic mouldings and similar techniques. The initial design was remodelled into ITL’s CAD system and several iterations of the design were created.

ITL produced numerous in-house 3D prints to aid the design process, significantly reducing the time between design iterations and allowing for high-speed, low-cost prototyping. Once a design solution had been reached the production of multiple sets of vacuum cast prototypes was outsourced via ITL’s established supply chain.

Design improvements included:

  • Introduction of finger scallops for better grip of the applicator
  • Improvements to structural ribbing to improve plunger operation
  • Reduced taper angle to improve comfort
  • Revised string routing to reduce string and knot release issues
  • Bettering the petal design to improve release of the tampon

The prototypes incorporated material simulants and finishing processes to create polished concept models that were as realistic and robust as possible without excessive investment in tooling at this time. The models included a variety of colours and material hardness allowing the client to test a variety of finishes before heading towards production.

The Results

The final prototypes clearly highlight the changes made to the initial design and they continue to provide valuable insight that will feed forward into the next phase; bringing the clients concept to manufacture.

“DAME came to ITL with a very clear vision and a very basic prototype. While we knew what we wanted, it was clear we were going to need help to bring our idea to life. There were distinct requirements of the device and, after a reassuring first meeting, it was clear ITL understood the challenges. The friendly - and most importantly - plain-speaking team explained their decisions at every step so we felt included in the design process. They met our deadlines and fulfilled all our criteria, with a few extra phone calls at key junctions to keep the process transparent.”

Want to know more about DAME? Visit www.wearedame.co for more information or follow them here.

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