Little Tikes, Ford, Apple, IDEO, Walt Disney and a graduate design school student all came up with winners in the 2004 Industrial Design Excellence Awards competition. A common element in those designs: plastics.
In fact, plastics figured into the designs of more than 18 gold winners in the annual contest, co-sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America of Dulles, Va., and BusinessWeek magazine.
Ravi Sawhney, president and chief executive officer of RKS Design in Thousand Oaks, Calif., headed the jury of 17 design professionals and educators who reviewed 1,294 entries from 15 countries to pick the winners - 37 gold, 45 silver and 48 bronze prizes.
Here are the highlights of some of the winners that incorporated plastics into their designs and took the gold.
Design firm IDEO of Palo Alto, Calif., won for a wearable wireless badge that permits instant two-way voice conversation on a local area network.
The badge, from Vocera Communications Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., can be clipped to a shirt pocket or worn on a lanyard and weighs less than 2 ounces.
The housing is injection molded of GE Plastics' nonhalogenated, flame-retardant Cycoloy C6200, a polycarbonate/ABS alloy. Standard FR4 epoxy laminate is used in the power-circuit-breaker components and the electromagnetic-interference frame is made of glass-fiber-filled Vectra A130 liquid crystal polymer.
Taiwan Green Point Enterprise Co. Ltd. of Taichung Hsien, Taiwan, handled injection molding and back badge assembly. The system costs $400-$600 per user.
IDEO also won or shared five other gold awards:
IDEO and Intel Corp. in Hillsboro, Ore. - the conceptual Florence multimedia personal computer incorporated some parts of glass-black PC and acrylic.
IDEO and ApproTEC-USA of San Francisco - the $150, manually powered Money Maker pump, with PVC pipe and fittings, for deep lift irrigation in developing countries.
IDEO; Logitech Inc. of Fremont, Calif.; Design Partners of Wicklow, Ireland; and Eleksen Ltd. of Iver Heath, England - the $99 soft-fabric Logitech KeyCase keyboard for use with Palm personal digital assistants.
IDEO's London office with BCA of London and YDreams SA of Monte da Caparica, Portugal, for a large, interactive cube that reinforces brand identity at the entrance to Vodafone Portugal's headquarters in Lisbon.
IDEO's Munich, Germany, office for its Heimspiel conceptual product ideas.
Little Tikes Commercial Play Systems Inc. of Farmington, Mo., won for its structural Infinity Climber for children ages 5-12. The 660-pound climber, targeted at playground venues, hit the market in June 2003, and by December was selling at three times expected volumes, the company said.
At Farmington, a Ferry 400 rotomolding machine produces each 90-pound, 9,547-square-inch curved part. The loop component is molded of linear low density polyethylene with a wall thickness of one-quarter inch. The part has a 90-degree sweep from one end to the other, and a 90-degree twist. An assembled loop is 15 feet long, 10 feet wide and 8 feet high.
The same tooling produced all of the rotomolded parts, to minimize production costs. Structural-support components are fabricated steel. The Infinity is priced at $3,999 and comes in 15 colors. Little Tikes is a unit of Newell- Rubbermaid Inc.
Nokia Mobile Phones of Farnborough, England, took gold for its third-generation cellular Nokia 7600 imaging phone.
Leather accessory sleeves embellish the 7600's limited edition, which includes an art book about the product. The phone's design blends torqued curves and the latest technology, including a camera with a video clip capture and play.
The 7600's body is a combination of PC and PC/ABS alloy; the sleeves are nylon-based. The product retails for around $480. The phone comes in a high-gloss lacquered white and a dry-finished gray. Nokia Mobile Phones is a business of Finland-based Nokia Oyj.
Product design and engineering consultancy Design+Industry Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia, and health-care product provider Chattanooga Group of Hixon, Tenn., won for the integrated Intelect suite of clinical electrotherapy equipment.
Rehabilitation specialists use a range of Intelect systems to administer physiotherapy treatments for pain management and conditions related to weak muscles and joint mobility.
Processors in Shenzhen, China, and Taipei, Taiwan, injection mold the enclosure components of GE Cycoloy C2951 PC/ABS alloy and, in a secondary step, overmold the clip-on self-retained ABS/PC cover with semirigid polyurethane. The line includes a mobile assembly, an advanced assembly and four interchangeable ultrasound applicators.
A package of systems costs about $3,995, depending on configuration. Chattanooga Group is a division of Encore Medical Corp.
Two British companies, product designer Alloy Ltd. of Farnham and manufacturer e2v technologies Ltd. of Chelmsford, received gold for a thermal imaging camera, the Argus3.
The $9,000 firefighting and rescue tool uses infrared radiation to create a thermal image the user can see through thick smoke or darkness.
Maintenance engineers can use the camera to monitor motors, pipe work and distribution panels for potentially hazardous hot spots.
Algram Group Ltd. of Plymouth, England, injection molded 13 structural parts of Solvay SA's Radel R polyphenylsulfone and overmolded two parts with Santoprene thermoplastic elastomer. The front and rear case halves and the liquid-crystal-display bezel protect the electronic components. Bumpers and handles absorb impact if the camera is dropped.
The original Argus thermal imaging camera came out in 1995 with molded parts of Lexan PC 940 and 940A. For the Argus3, e2v said it selected Radel for better shock absorption and thermal resistance.
Product design firm IDE Inc. of Scotts Valley, Calif., won for the Airfoil Pro triathlon-racing bike from Kestrel Bicycles USA of Santa Cruz, Calif. Weight varies with components, but a typical Airfoil Pro is 18-181/2 pounds, including the 3-pound frame. A Taiwanese partner mixes a proprietary, toughened epoxy and preimpregnates Toray Industries Inc. carbon fiber having a modulus of 33 million pounds per square inch. The bike sells for $3,699-$4,899, depending on the version.
In place of a typical double-triangle frame, the Airfoil Pro has a large bond junction connecting rear seat stays with the top tube. The bond junction continues to the rear axle. The center-of-pressure design allows the bike's rear end to function as a sail in a crosswind. The absence of a seat tube enhances rider comfort and allows for a subtle flexing of the frame. Sandpoint Design Inc., dba Kestrel Bicycles, manufactures high-performance carbon-fiber composite bicycle frames, forks and components for road, off-road and multisport use.