Double honorees Apple Computer Inc. and Smart Design LLC are among 40 gold winners in the 2000 Industrial Design Excellence Awards competition. Apple, Smart Design and 11 other gold winners made significant use of plastics in their entries. The Industrial Designers Society of America of Great Falls, Va., and Business Week magazine co-sponsor the annual competition.
The IDEA 2000 jury selected 71 silver and 51 bronze winners in addition to 40 golds.
Patricia Moore, principal of Bresslergroup Inc. of Phoenix, headed the 16-person panel of design professionals and educators who picked the winners.
Apple of Cupertino, Calif., received IDSA's top awards for computer system peripherals.
The digital Apple Cinema Display is a 22-inch-diagonal, liquid-crystal-display screen with distinct quality advantages over a cathode-ray tube. The letterboxed format can display an entire 11-by-17-inch image. The system is bundled with the high-end PowerMac G4 desktop personal computer for a total price of about $7,500.
Experiments with clear materials led to injection molded polycarbonate walls that are unusually thick and nonuniform and make use of PC's optical properties. Other materials include deep-drawn and die-cast metal. The Cinema Display went on the market in August and continued Apple's recent practice of using design to establish a different appearance for its systems.
Apple's other gold award recognized a $99 subwoofer that enhances stereo sound in the iMac computer.
The product, called iSub, completes the computer's Harman/Kardon Odyssey audio system and appeals to the market segment seeking high-quality sound at a reasonable price.
The injection molded plastic enclosure went into distribution in October.
Smart Design of New York won with distinctly different designs for separate clients.
The firm created the Ojex household manual citrus press featuring a professional-style rocker crank with a long lever. The handle is injection molded of Santoprene-brand thermoplastic elastomer, and the cone liner and cup rest are injection molded of polypropylene. Iron and steel form the structural parts.
OrangeX Inc. of New York distributes the juicer to upscale retailers in the United States for manufacturer OrangeX CA of Maracay, Venezuela. Distribution began in January.
Smart Design's second gold winner was for a prototype communicator for start-up venture Thumbscrew Development LLC of White Plains, N.Y.
The concept turns a nine-button keypad into a fully functional keyboard for users of mobile communication devices, regardless of physical or visual impairments. With a 3-square-inch keypad, a user connects dots by pressing once where a letter's stroke begins and a second time where the stroke ends. A star- burst keypad allows blind users to guide a thumb along tactile ridges.
The unit has a cast-urethane enclosure, silicone keypad and an internal electronics and display module. The prototype was completed in June 1999.
Crown Equipment Co. of New Bremen, Ohio, won for the design of its SC4000 Series sit-down counterbalanced electric lift truck.
Designers faced the challenge of creating a replacement for a product that has moved goods and materials for 25 years.
Injection molded part applications in the product include a PC/ABS steering column, cowl and valve covers; PP steering wheel; and nylon levers, controls and button inserts, some with elastomeric overmolding.
The rubber formats, step mats and pedals are compression molded.
The polyethylene storage console is rotational molded. The ABS seat-back cover is vacuum formed, and the self-skinning polyurethane foam seat restraints and armrest are reaction injection molded.
Major structural parts are metal. The lift truck entered the market in October and costs $19,100-$24,600.
Speck Product Design Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., received a gold award for a product line that makes computer media more portable and accessible.
Speck designed the Bandit line of products to transport and access multiple removable memory units such as Zip disks or recordable compact discs.
An elastomeric band holds the product securely during transport and is detached to access discs. Upon springing open, the product splays the media for viewing or grasping.
First Engineering Ltd. of Singapore molds the device of PP homopolymer and molds the thermoplastic elastomeric band using GLS Corp.'s Dynaflex 2706.
Maxell Corp. of America began bundling the Bandit line and certain of its media storage products in March 1999.
Staubitz Design Associates of Collinsville, Conn., won for its design of the automatic-feed ASF paper shredder for Royal-Olivetti Consumer Business Products, an operation of Olivetti SpA.
The design addressed consumers' interest in shredding more paper at one time and annoyance with having to count sheets to stay within a machine's capacity. Now, a document feeder moves paper into the shredder, and a guide atop the feed tray is just thick enough to accommodate 50 sheets.
The housing is injection molded from ABS and polystyrene.
Philips Design of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, was recognized for the New Vision 1 television, which it designed for Philips Singapore Pte. Ltd.
Philips Design repositioned how a customer perceives a 14-inch set, incorporating an analogue clock and ambient lighting and marketing the product as a bedroom TV costing about $250. Designers aimed to avoid the commodity trap of mature consumer electronics products.
Materials include injection molded PS and PC, a stretchable speaker fabric and water-soluble paints.
Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV is the parent company of the design and manufacturing operations.
Design Workshop of Ottawa, Ontario, won for its design of a mass-market Flex-Fit bicycle helmet line for start-up manufacturer Sportscope Inc. of Chicago.
Offering just three sizes — for a toddler, child or adult — limits manufacturing and stocking requirements. Pulling a nape strap draws flexing panels snugly to a user's head.
Components include a vacuum formed shell, an expanded PS crown-impact liner, injection molded polypropylene hanger parts, and an insert molded panel system with an embedded armature assembly.
The helmets cost $28-$40, and hit the market in March 1999.
Black & Decker Corp. of Towson, Md., received a gold award for its compact Mouse-brand sander, which occupies a niche between a detail sander and a quarter-sheet palm-grip sander.
Use of a stand-up motor added enough height to provide a comfortable grip, and the sculpted sides yielded a dramatic visual element.
The sander fits easily into one hand, offers good control and reduces numbness that prolonged sanding can cause.
The housing is mostly glass-filled PP and overmolded Santoprene-brand thermoplastic elastomer, and the base is glass-filled nylon. Disassembly was factored into the design.
The $49.99 sander entered the market in September 1998.
Fisher-Price won for the design of its View-Master virtual viewer, which revitalizes an old product line.
The product permits viewing three-dimensional stereo images using any View-Master reel that was produced from 1939 to the present day.
Designers added a wraparound visor with a 50 percent larger image, a hold-in-the-hand form and a domed diffuser with a bead-blast finish on the inside.
Fisher-Price injection molds parts in-house using high-impact PS for the front and back housings, Fina 7823MZ clarified PP random copolymer for the diffuser, acetal for the retainer and advance lever and optical-grade acrylic for four lenses.
The $4.99 viewer reached the market in June 1999. Fisher-Price reports within Mattel Inc.'s toy marketing segment.
Product Genesis Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., won a gold award for the design of a neuromuscular diagnostic instrument for NeuroMetrix Inc. of Cambridge.
The $995 device, NC-stat, can rapidly detect and assess repetitive stress injuries of the hand and wrist in a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
A contract manufacturer injection molds the monitor and docking-station enclosure shells of custom-colored PC/ABS blends and the anti-scratch anti-glare coated display lens of acrylic. Keys and buttons are compression molded of silicone, and the cable strain relief and connector are overmolded with a TPE.
The health sciences and technology division at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spun off NeuroMextrix in 1996. The product entered the market in March 1998.
Coleman Product Design of Seattle, Wash., was honored for a mixing station and syringe components to help arthritis patients who self-inject reconstituted medication.
The station makes the process more accessible and helped Immunex Corp. of Seattle achieve a successful pharmaceutical launch.
Injection molded materials include an ABS/PC alloy for the mixing station and PP for the syringe flange and plunger.
The Arthritis Foundation awarded the product a seal of commendation for ease of use. The product became commercially available in November 1998.
BD Medical Systems of Sandy, Utah, won a gold award for designing the Intima II integrated intravenous catheter for emerging markets such as China.
Designers needed to develop an inexpensive device with visual and intuitive features for a needle set user. A goal was to encourage adoption of good clinical techniques.
Using a hot-runner system, a Singapore vendor injection molds the winged grasping element of PS and the primary body and catheter of Eastman Chemical's Tenite-brand propionate, a plastic that is produced from cellulose acetate propionate.
An extension tube is extruded of PU, and the end connector is molded of PP.
The urethane and PP substitute for lower-cost PVC, which often is used in products for emerging markets.
The 90 cent catheter entered the market in February 1999 and replaces an average of nine 15 cent needle sets.
BD Medical Systems is a business segment of Becton, Dickinson and Co.
Fitch Inc. of Boston was recognized for its design of the mimio-brand digital meeting assistant for Virtual Ink Corp. of Charlestown, Mass.
The capture bar technology triangulates the position of the eraser or a jacket and sends the information through a serial cable to the mimio application on a personal computer or laptop.
The $499 product entered the market in June 1999.
The portable pen-tracking system is used with standard white boards, employing software and hardware to capture text and sketches in color.
Injection molded parts of PC/ ABS blends include the capture bar, stylus and marker jackets and eraser.
Thirteen other gold winners used some polymers in their designs:
Herbst Lazar Bell Inc. of Waltham, Mass., for the Eclipse gasoline dispenser for Marconi Commerce Systems Inc.
Crown Equipment for its WP2000 series powered walkie pallet truck.
Hauser Inc. of Westlake Village, Calif., for the NEC Z1 personal computer from Packard Bell NEC Inc.
Ziba Design of Portland, Ore., for a Vadem personal-digital-assistant concept.
Art Center College of Design of Pasadena, Calif., for a prototype hybrid-seating concept.
Carlson Technology Inc. of Livonia, Mich., for a Defense Department sentry unit and transport case.
Teknion Corp.'s furniture systems unit of Toronto for a flat area rug concept.
Roche Harkins Design of Hollis, N.H., for a Deka Research and Development Corp. wheelchair technology platform.
Apco Graphics Inc. of Atlanta for the modular Accord 15 sign system.
Burdick Group of San Francisco for the Crayola Cafe and Store at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Mauk Design of San Francisco for Levi Strauss and Co. trade-show exhibit.
Herman Miller Inc. of Zeeland, Mich., for the Resolve work environment system.
Emilio Ambasz & Associates Inc. of New York for Ilva Pali Dalmine srl's Saturno lighting poles.