Nearly two dozen winners in the 2001 Industrial Design Excellence Awards competition made significant use of plastics.
The Industrial Designers Society of America of Great Falls, Va., and Business Week magazine co-sponsor the annual contest. The IDEA 2001 jury selected 44 gold, 63 silver and 82 bronze winners out of 1,260 entries. Shaun Jackson, president of Shaun Jackson Design Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., headed the 18-member selection panel of design professionals and educators.
Nike Inc. of Beaverton, Ore., won a gold award for a portable audio player. The skip-free product, called psa[play 120, reached the market in October and costs $299. Injection molded parts include the polycarbonate case and bumper, and silicon control pad. The player operates with touch-alone buttons and eliminates the need for a screen. Each player comes with a remote control for viewing track titles and times.
Bodum Design Group AG of Triengen, Switzerland, won a gold award for a new polymer-based coffee brewer that supplants Bodum glass products going back to the 1950s. The Bodum Santos system combines features of automatic drip and vacuum processes and costs about $130. In June 2000, sister company Bodum AG launched the product in Europe and began making the system for Starbucks Corp. in the United States.
Injection molded components include the PC funnel and carafe, polypropylene-elastomer soft handle, PP/PC cordless interface, elastomer timer cover and polyamide 6/6 microfilter/strainer. The parts are made in Germany. A stainless-steel element heats the water. Evaporating steam generates pressure, and the water rises through a tube to the funnel. After about four minutes of brewing, a vacuum sucks the liquid through the filtration system.
Whipsaw Inc. of San Jose, Calif., received a gold award for its wireless WebPad browsing and e-mail appliance. More than a portable tablet, the 2.3-pound device has an 8.4-inch, color touch-screen display and an eight-hour battery. It costs about $400. WebPad has a main body of PC/ABS and a handle-keyboard of GE Plastics' MGX metal-flake PC/ABS blend. Thick handle sections are gas injected and overmolded with a thermoplastic elastomer.
Ziba Design Inc. of Portland, Ore., won a gold award for the portable M-Systems flash key. The data-storage device reached the market in November and costs $70-$90 depending on capacity.
Ziba collaborated with Nasdaq-listed M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. of Kfar Saba, Israel, in creating M-Systems' first consumer product. Epson Portland Inc. of Hillsboro, Ore., injection molds the 17-gram, pen-shaped module. A PC/ABS blend is used for the cup and base, and light-diffusing PC forms the neck. M-Systems said it has signed marketing deals with IBM Corp. and others.
Separately, Ziba captured three gold awards for Memphis, Tenn.-based Federal Express Corp. projects involving ``courier operational tools,'' modular customer-service centers and related furniture systems.
Frogdesign Inc. of New York won a gold award for its ergonomic design of a liquid-handling pipette for VistaLab Technologies Inc. of Pleasantville, N.Y. The $389 product entered the market in February. A typical, manual pipette has an axial-type configuration with a nozzle and plunger button and often causes repetitive-motion problems. The VistaLab pipette is injection molded of an ABS/PC copolymer and, for highly stressed components, acetal.
Separately, Frogdesign's office in Sunnyvale, Calif., received a gold award for designing the Kalos XW flash-memory-chip test head for Credence Systems Corp. of Fremont, Calif. The test head weighs 800 pounds, costs about $1 million and has a pressure formed ABS housing.
An IBM Corp. divisional team in Research Triangle Park, N.C., received a gold award for a personal computing device that links handwriting convenience and a computer's versatility and memory. TransNote has a standard paper pad on one side and a ThinkPad computer on the other side. The housing is injection molded of a carbon-fiber-reinforced PC/acrylic styrene acrylonitrile blend with a die-cast magnesium display arm. Polyurethane-coated sheet and leather portfolio covers are available. The $3,000 device became available in February.
Thermo King Corp. of Bloomington, Minn., received a gold award for temperature-control reefers to protect cargo in thermally insulated transport trailers. Attached to a trailer's front, the refrigeration system protects fresh and frozen foods and other products. In October, two contemporary designs supplanted styles with sheet-metal external panels. A new unit costs about $20,000.
Thermo King units in Puerto Rico thermoform ABS access doors and side and bottom panels in Arecibo and assemble reefers in Ciales. Vendors injection mold ABS grilles with molded-in hinge sleeves and resin transfer molded glass-fiber-reinforced polyester top caps that can resist heat from the unit's muffler and tractor mufflers. Also injection molded are the inner bulkhead of glass-reinforced PP and the main door hinges and ergonomically designed lower door latch of glass-reinforced nylon. Thermo King is a unit of Ingersoll Rand Corp.
Manatee Design of Mount Vernon, Wash., received a gold award for its design of the SmartTrack sea-kayak control system. The foil-type rudder operates with ergonomically designed, pivoting foot braces and a hand-operated trim tab. The aircraft-inspired rudder reduces drag and creates a side lift and force. Traditional rudder blades have a higher center of gravity. The design includes injection molded nylon parts, exterior-grade PVC extruded side rail, extruded nylon tubing and stainless-steel hardware and springs.
The system became available in February, sells for about $240 and can be installed in new or existing kayak hulls. Seattle-based marketer Cascade Designs Inc. purchased the technology from sole proprietorship Manatee, which retained royalty rights.
Product and brand developer Bolt of Charlotte, N.C., received a gold award for its design of an extended-attention-span training helmet and base station. On June 1, Attention Builders LLC of Richmond, Va., purchased assets and licensed some East3 Ltd. technology using Bolt's input.
Originally, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency developed the technology to train pilots. East3 enhanced the concept and, in February, began commercializing its $995 ThoughtCaster system to help children overcome attention-deficit problems and reduce reliance on medications such as Ritalin. Three sensors in the wireless helmet touch a child's head, detecting and transmitting electroencephalographic signals to the base station. The child uses brainwaves alone to control a proprietary computer game. Materials include ABS, nylon, elastomers and foam padding.
Also, Bolt won a gold award for mostly plastic packaging of single-use endoscopic marking syringes for GI Supply Inc. of Camp Hill, Pa.
Radius Product Development Inc. of Clinton, Mass., won a gold award for reusable packaging for Microsoft Corp.'s Office 2001 Macintosh software suite.
The rounded package, actually a sturdy compact-disc case, has a clear, textured front made of virgin styrene acrylonitrile, and a graphite-gray back composed of 100 percent post-consumer PC. The injection molded pieces snap together. The hard case contains an instructional CD and five PP sleeves that can hold up to 10 CDs.
Software in Microsoft's 1998 Mac edition was packaged in a traditional paperboard box. The Office 2001 package, at 0.04 pound is one-fourth of the old box's weight. The product reached the market in October.
Separately, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft received a gold award for its ABS-clad IntelliMouse Optical tracking mechanism, which sells for about $50.
Dual gold-award recipients included Herbst LaZar Bell Inc. of Chicago, DaimlerChrysler Corp.'s Chrysler group of Auburn Hills, Mich., and Ralph Appelbaum Associates Inc. of New York.
HLB was honored for a second-generation, wireless Motorola Corp. headset for National Football League coaches and a conceptual HLB project exploring how fashion might link technology and users in the future.
Chrysler won with designs for the five-passenger 2001 PT Cruiser and a conceptual 2001 Jeep Willys show vehicle.
RAA was recognized for exhibits at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York and a Rio de Janeiro display celebrating 50 years of television in Brazil.
Bombardier Motor Corp. of America of Benton, Ill., won a gold award for its $30,000 Islandia recreational boat with a deck and hull fabricated from fiberglass-reinforced plastics and urethane foam.
Libby Perszyk Kathman of Cincinnati received a gold award for the design of a $3.59 night light for General Electric Co.'s lighting business in Cleveland. Four ABS parts snap together without fasteners. The metal outlet prongs and bulb socket are inserted during the molding process.
LG Electronics Inc. of Seoul, South Korea, won a gold award for the Duo see-through, bidirectional refrigerator door incorporating ABS in the main body and shelves.
Nine other gold winners used some polymers in their designs:
Apple Computer Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., for the Macintosh PowerBook G4 computer with titanium skins and an injection molded, carbon-fiber frame.
Compaq Computer Corp. of Houston for an MP2800 portable projector with a main chassis mostly of thixomolded magnesium and other parts of ABS and nylon 6/6.
A division of Alcatel SA in Kanata, Ontario, for the Alcatel 7670 routing switch platform for service providers.
Ion Design LLC of Edgewater, N.J., for a computer-based endoscopic simulator for HT Medical Systems Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., operating since September as Immersion Corp.'s medical unit.
Henry Dreyfuss Associates of Wood-Ridge, N.J., for the Spin-Steer lawn tractor for Deere & Co.'s worldwide commercial and consumer equipment division in Horicon, Wis.
Bridge Design Inc. of San Francisco for the MetriScan bone-density measuring device for Alara Inc. of Hayward, Calif.
Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. of Crawley, England, for a redesign of its business-class aircraft cabin seating and interior incorporating bonded composite honeycomb panels.
Ideo Product Design of Palo Alto, Calif., for a fall 2000 Comdex trade show booth for Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto.
Carlson Technology Inc. of Livonia, Mich., for a mobile command shelter concept for the U.S. Army's air and missile defense office in Huntsville, Ala.