CORONADO, CALIF. — Design for recycling and disassembly has created a new society relationship and a revamped Seating Solutions Competition for university upper-level and graduate students.
An operating unit of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Polyurethane Division will hold a 1999 competition to focus on ways to design automotive seats that allow reuse of PU. The Industrial Designers Society of America has endorsed the idea and pledged its backing.
The SPI division's PolyUrethane Recycle and Recover Council created the concept and ran an unsuccessful 1997 competition with the education arm of the Society of Automotive Engineers in Warrendale, Pa.
While observers deemed that contest overly ambitious, SAE remains on board and supports the new program.
The competition is ``a smart move on the part of the plastics industry and SPI to use the angle of design to promote a recyclable agenda,'' Pascal Malassigne said in an interview at the IDSA national conference, held Sept. 23-26 in Coronado.
Malassigne is professor of industrial design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in Milwaukee and IDSA education committee chair.
The effort is ``driven by the automotive industry's need to address recyclability of automobiles,'' Michael Appolonia said in a telephone interview. Appolonia is the Washington-based SPI division's manager of environmental issues.
The competition begins in January with results being announced during the June 8-10 Automotive Transportation Interiors conference and exposition in Detroit. Cash prizes totaling $3,600 will be awarded.
SPI announced the program Sept. 22 at IDSA's national education conference in Long Beach, Calif.
Robert Schwartz said the issue of reuse and disassembly is ``an international cultural issue'' on which a lot of progress has been made. Schwartz is executive director and chief operating officer of IDSA, headquartered in Great Falls, Va.
Schwartz said the scope includes ``getting communities to commit to recycling programs and getting designers and companies to commit to responsibly create products that can be reused and recycled.''
David Kusuma underscored the importance of the growing IDSA-SPI relationship to ``bring design directly to industry.''
IDSA members are individuals, while SPI members are corporations.
Industrial designers ``always lag behind other professions in helping out industry with the newest available materials,'' Kusuma said. ``People who seem to need to know it most seem to learn it last.''
Kusuma is plastics design specialist with Exatec LLC of Wixom, Mich., a Bayer Polymers-GE Plastics joint venture in automotive window glazing using polycarbonate.