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Freetech competition exposes design students to plastics processing

By: Rhoda Miel

September 6, 2013

CHICAGO — Most industrial design students get very little exposure to plastics processing in their regular classes. When they do, classes tend to focus on injection molding, perhaps with a quick mention of other techniques.

Freetech Plastics Inc. has tried to expand that exposure through its annual competition for industrial design students for thermoformed parts. The Fremont, Calif.-based company first developed a scholarship competition with the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division, then to the Industrial Designers Society of America.

Check out a video report on the competition from the IDSA conference.

The 2013 competition had 30 parts entered from students in the U.S. and Canada, ranging from iPhone covers to emergency equipment, said Freetech's Rich Freeman.

Freetech brought the top six parts to the annual IDSA conference in Chicago Aug. 22-24 — two of them a take on a planter for seedlings, a medical heel guard to help protect bedridden patients from bedsores, a hard-shell case for camera equipment that can be mounted on a bicycle, a hard shell pack for emergency medical responders and an LED-based replacement for road flares.

IDSA members voted on the six finalists to determine who would receive the scholarships.

Freeman talks about the winners and the competition during a video interview at the conference.