Industrial - Bachelors

The Safe – Tray

The Safe - Tray is a tray designed specifically with hospitality users in mind. One-third of all injuries within the industry are caused by cuts from broken glassware. The majority of broken glassware incidents arise from slippery and outdated service trays, a problem that the Safe - Tray aims to solve.

How to improve safety and efficiency within the hospitality industry?

For my project I wanted to improve the safety and efficiency of the hospitality industry in some way shape or form. I started off with conducting some surveys and interviews to find out exactly what were some of the biggest injury concerns within the industry.

Statistics from survey conducted asking what they believe was the biggest injury concern in the industry was?
33% from cuts from broken glassware was the majority

Through my survey I was able to learn that a majority of all injuries within the industry result from cuts from broken glassware. From the survey it was discovered the main cause for glasses breaking was due to them falling or sliding off drinks trays. Secondary research guided me to learning that the reason this is such a dangerous problem is that these cuts from broken glassware can cause infection such as sepsis, cellulitis and nerve damage. So from this information I knew what problem I wanted to address and I also knew that I could improve this problem through the form of innovation on the drinks tray.

Design solution

Image of cad render of tray holding wine glasses in racks

This is the Safe – Tray. A new and improved drinks tray that allows the user to hold onto glassware more safer and efficiently. On one side of the tray as seen above is a wine glass holding rack that allows the user to slide glassware into it and stops the wine glasses from sliding or falling over over. Where the wine glasses slide in are indicators showing the user in which order they should slide the wine glasses in to use the tray most efficiently.

Image showing water glass sinking into pins. Creating custom sized compartment.

Universally sized compartments

On the other side of the tray are spring loaded pins. These pins compress when round based glassware (H20/beer bottles) are placed on top of it. When compressed they create a custom sized compartment that stops the glassware from sliding or falling over as easily. The reason this was chosen over other methods was due to its universal capabilities. Sure you could create indents of specific size for glassware to sit into, but that doesn’t mean every restaurant or bar will have the exact same sized glasses. This design solution allows any sized glassware or crockery to sit within the pins in its own custom sized compartments making it a universally sound solution.

Ergonomic shape

Image of users holding the tray with the ergonomic shaping wrapping around their body.

Another adjustment to the drink tray made was by giving it a more ergonomic shape. The ergonomic shape implemented is too give the user the ability to hold the tray closer to their body and in turn closer to their center of gravity. How this would look can be seen above within the context render. An indent was made on either side of the tray to allow the user to hold it from the side they plan to get the most glassware with, so if they plan on getting wine glasses more than round based glasses they would hold it from the indented side closer to the wine glass racks as this would allow them to hold the wine glasses closer to their body and in turn closer to their center of gravity. The same can be done vice versa for round based glassware.

For a more indepth look at how this tray works please view the video below


Manufacturing considerations

Technical details

As for manufacturing most parts would be injection moulded except for the springs which would need to be coiled to a low tensile strength.

Most parts would be made from high density polypropylene (HDPP) due to its durability, heat resistance, slight flexibility and cost effective nature. The pins would be made from silicone for the same reasons. Additionally it would provide a more slip resistant texture providing additional support for the glassware to prevent them from moving. Continually the springs would be made from stainless steel to give them strong durability and heat resistance, allowing them to provide the product with a longer life span.

All parts would have a glossy black finish except for where glassware is placed, where glassware is placed has been made matte white to give the user a visual guide on where they should and where they shouldn’t place glassware on the tray.

Overall impact

Safe tray logo

The Safe – Tray aims to lower incidents involving broken glassware by reducing chances of glasses falling off of drinks trays and in turn decreasing the number of workers getting deadly infections caused from these cuts. Through reducing these workplace injuries, the Safe – Tray aims to create a safer and more efficient hospitality industry for all workers and guests alike. Furthermore the Safe – Tray has the potential to provide cost savings of upwards of $10,000 a year on broken glassware and workers compensation depending on the size of the hospitality venue.

A Happy Employee is a Productive Employee

Erin Davis

Files for viewing

Below links direct you to my research report which was used to find the problem for my design solution to resolve. There is also a link to the final specification report and bill or materials if you would like a more in-depth look into how this would be manufactured. I would of liked to have attached my DDR though it exceeded the maximum file size allowed, even at maximum compression. If you are at the design exhibition on the 15th please feel free to come have a look through my physical DDR.

Research report: Improving safety and efficiency within the hospitality industry
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3 MB
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Bill of materials: Safe – Tray
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File Size
179 KB
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Specification report: Safe – Tray
File Type
File Size
2 MB
Download File
Final physical model

Final physical model

For my final model I had a choice between making a final aesthetic model or a final functional model. I ended up trying to strike a good middle ground between the two creating a final model that fully functions as intended with the final design and also gives a good indication on what the final aesthetics of the product would look like. Due to wanting to create a 1:1 scale model I had to create it out of wood and cardboard, so although most stuff is too size the overall thickness of the model is a little thicker than what the actual design would be due to not being able to source wood at the exact thickness required. Overall was really happy with how it turned out in the end and was able to convey to people how this design works. (Can be seen in the second half of video above)
Tray with glasses placed on it.
User holding tray on a tilt without any movement made by the glsasware

In the picture above you can see the user tilting the tray without any movement made by the glassware. This can be seen more in depth in the video above.

Jacob Mackay

Jacob is an industrial designer with a passion for using design to improve the world. Beyond his professional pursuits, he finds enjoyment in various hobbies and activities. Jacob is an avid sports enthusiast who loves watching games and matches, and he also has a musical side, as he enjoys playing the guitar. Additionally, he values spending quality time with loved ones and often shares a drink with friends and family to relax and connect.