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Grate Mate

Grate Mate is a grill companion that allows tailgaters to easily and conveniently contain, carry and dispose of hot coals immediately after grilling.

Ce qu'il fait

Grate Mate is a grill companion that allows tailgaters to easily and conveniently contain, carry and dispose of hot coals immediately after grilling, enabling them to pack up their grill and enjoy the game worry-free.

Votre source d'inspiration

Ever since I was young, I've loved sports. As I got older, I began attending tailgates with friends, where we would grill with charcoal. However, charcoal grilling presents challenges, particularly when it comes to disposing of the hot coals. Most venues provide hot coal disposal barrels scattered around the parking lot, but transporting hot charcoal from your tailgating spot to these barrels can be problematic. Some people lift their grill by the legs and navigate through a crowded sea of tailgaters, which can be dangerous. And others leave their grill unattended during the game to allow the coals to cool down, which poses security concerns.

Comment ça marche

Grate Mate is a two-part stainless steel system comprising a bottom pan and a top cover. The pan features small holes around its perimeter to facilitate airflow. The cover is equipped with a lever pivoting on an axis, secured in place by an extension spring that allows it to lock under a tab on the bottom pan. Additionally, a carabiner on the opposite side clips into a slot, locking the cover to the pan. There are also two pegs, one on each side of the bottom pan, that support the top part of the container when locked. To use Grate Mate, grill as usual with the charcoal placed in the bottom pan instead of directly on the grill's lower grate. After grilling, press the top cover down to securely lock it onto the pan. The unit can then be safely carried to a disposal barrel. To discard the coals, simply push the lever forward with your thumb; this releases the bottom pan, allowing it to swing open and safely deposit the coals directly into the barrel.

Processus de conception

After months of research, including attending four tailgates, conducting 27 user interviews, and examining the competitive landscape, I identified the key functional and emotional design requirements to guide the next stage of my design process. I started with broad brainstorming, generating high-level ideas and creating basic sketches. This evolved into prototyping design concepts, where I experimented with various materials and mechanisms for carrying, containing, and discarding coals. The process involved extensive hands-on building, testing, and constant iteration. Throughout this period, I consulted with experts in materials science and design for manufacturing to ensure the materials and design decisions were not only appropriate for meeting design requirements but also optimized for manufacturability. Materials considered included aluminum, steel, and aramid fabrics like Kevlar, leading to extensive testing of different thicknesses and exploration of molding techniques to maximize usability and manufacturability. Additionally, I focused on innovative methods for closure, containment, transportation, and disposal of the coals.

En quoi est-il différent ?

There are few products similar to Grate Mate, which stands out for its unique design that eliminates the need to transfer hot coals, significantly reducing the risk associated with disposal. Competing products, such as hot ash buckets, require users to shovel hot coals into the bucket, cover it, transport it to a disposal barrel, then uncover and empty it. This process is not only less convenient, involving multiple steps, but also more hazardous as it involves direct handling of extremely hot charcoal. Some larger grills feature ashcatchers which reduce the need for transferring coals but do not fully contain them, making transportation difficult. Furthermore, the ashcatcher itself remains very hot, necessitating the use of gloves for disposal.

Plans pour l'avenir

I designed Grate Mate specifically for the 14” Weber grill, but its locking mechanism can be scaled to accommodate various grill sizes and shapes. Additionally, Grate Mate is versatile and not limited to tailgating; it can also be used for barbecues at parks, beaches, or even in your backyard. Moreover, there is an opportunity to expand this concept into a standalone grill design, not just as an attachment, enhancing its applicability and market potential.


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