Dragons’ Den Success!

The Iceblading project that we took on with KCO Ice Skating Ltd. has been a complete success in the Dragons’ Den, winning £100,000 of Theo Paphitis hard earned children’s inheritance!

Read more about how Karen Coombes and Karen O’Neil got on with the Dragons by clicking on Iceblading in the Dragons’ Den!

Also read more below about the project, and how Applied Product Design helped with the design and development of the "Dry Ice Blade"


In July 2008 we had some initial meetings with Karen Coombes and Karen O’Neil of KCO Ice Skating Ltd, a company that they had formed in March earlier that year. They approached Applied Product Design, as they wanted our help in developing a ‘dry ice blade’ that could be used off ice.


The idea came about following the breakdown of an ice rink that Karen Coombes (an ice skating coach in North London) had been rehearsing her regular Christmas pantomime in. At the time the Karen’s managed to find an American skate that helped them perform their show that Christmas. Having then used the skate to perform their pantomime they decided that if the product was developed further it would make an excellent off ice training aid that could be used without the need for ice.


Applied Product Design took on the task of the product development of the Iceblade for KCO. We reviewed all aspects of the design, from the construction of the frame, to the design of the wheels, simulated toe rake, side skids and fitting of a boot. This generated a solution that gave the skate the most responsive feel to make it perform just like an ice skate, enabling the user to perform one footed spins, jumps and many other known ice skating manoeuvres.

The Frame

The frame was the first area that the designers started. They decided that they should firstly come up with a design that would distinguish the product from other non ice skating simulating skates on the market, by giving it the same profile and look of an ice skate. The other main areas considered were the materials used and method of manufacture, as the designers wanted to ensure that the product was cost effective to produce in volume, whilst also being fit for purpose.

The Components

In order for the Iceblade to perform as an ice skate it needed many custom designed and manufactured components. These included a custom designed wheel, simulated toe rake, side skid, wheel removal tool, spanner, wheel fittings, boots etc.

All these components were designed by Applied Product Design using our 3D CAD facilities. During this process both Karen’s were regular visitors to our Ongar site, with Karen Coombes testing each new prototype component until the Iceblade gave the perfect feel of an Ice skate.

Numerous other components were sourced, including bearings, screws, fittings etc.

Intellectual Property

KCO were keen to protect the designs being generated. As such Applied Product Design wrote several patents to protect the relevant features of the design. All the drawings for which the designers were able to extract from the CAD work generated during the design phase.

Technical Files and CE

Products such as the Iceblade require technical files generating, along with testing to the relevant standards, in order that the CE mark can be applied. This means that they are fit for sale in Europe, and meet the required standards. Applied Product Design took this on board, the same as they do for all the products they work on where this is necessary.


The final stage of the project was setting up the production. This was done using a combination of in house and UK facilities, along with the majority of the components being manufactured in China in order to keep the costs down for KCO.


"KCO have developed an invaluable partnership with Applied Product Design Ltd, as they have offered a professional consultancy service for all stages of the design process including product design, concept design and manufacturing, packaging and patent registering. In addition to this we have been able through Applied to develop many partnerships with overseas manufactures allowing for manufacturing and supply quotes at extremely competitive rates. Applied Product Design has created a good relationship between the design, the product and the user, by consulting closely with us their team have ensured that our key features have been fully intergraded into the design."

Karen O’Neil & Karen Coombes of KCO Ice Skating Ltd.

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