Consumer products from KidSmart and Panasonic and medical devices from Cybertech, Siemens and Insulet each used plastics in winning 2006 Industrial Design Excellence Awards.
Plastics figured into the designs of nearly two dozen gold award winners in the annual contest, sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America in Dulles, Va., and BusinessWeek magazine.
Chris Conley chaired a jury of 17 designers and critics who reviewed 1,395 entries from 19 countries to select the award winners - 27 gold, 39 silver and 42 bronze. Conley is co-founder and director of Gravity Tank Inc. of Chicago and associate professor and product-design leader at the Institute of Design in Chicago.
Following are plastics-oriented highlights of some IDEA gold award winners.
The SignalOne KidSmart vocal smoke detector from KidSmart Corp. of Roswell, Ga., won a gold award. The battery-operated design uses polystyrene, but the tools had to be designed to handle advanced engineering resins as well. A corded or AC-only version had to meet more stringent fire-retardation standards and had to be molded out of Noryl polyphenylene oxide.
The challenge on the toolmaking side as well as for material selection was to manage shrink-rate variations. Project developers included KidSmart's Mathieu Turpault, Zoey Juhng and John Coleman, and Xavier Vinas from Bresslergroup of Philadelphia. George Wang at e-Business International Inc. of Portland, Ore., arranged for parts to be injection molded in China, mostly on 250-ton presses. KidSmart operates as SignalOne Safety.
The Cybertech Medical mechanical advantage tourniquet from Bio Cybernetics International of La Verne, Calif., won a gold award. A one-handed application can stop blood flow in less than 10 seconds with the new-generation tourniquet for military, law enforcement and emergency services.
Materials include injection molded nylon and military-grade acetal homopolymer, a polypropylene strap, a neoprene cover and a proprietary cord material. Contributing to the project were Cybertech Medical's Royce Rumsey, Ed Bannister and S.C. Chan and Laguna Beach, Calif.-based Ewing Design Group's Steven Ewing and Gary Bordenkircher.
Panasonic's National-brand NA-VR1000 washing and drying machine was a winner. The unit, costing around $2,000, entered the commercial market in Japan in November as possibly the world's first hot-water shower-foam washing system. Designer Tomoyuki Ishimaru of Panasonic Design Co.'s household appliance team specified ABS from Toray Industries Inc. for the control panel, door-open button, door unit, detergent case and dryer filler and PP from Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. for other parts. A film insert process for the control panel involves molding PET film and transparent ABS. Injection molding is used for the other components. Panasonic of Osaka, Japan, is a business of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.
The OmniPod personal diabetes management system from Insulet Corp. of Bedford, Mass., won a gold. Gaurav Rohatgi, Mike Arney, Stu Perry and Aaron Oppenheimer, all with Design Continuum of West Newton, Mass., contributed in designing the system. Insulet injection molded the OmniPod housing of PC, and PTA Corp. of Oxford, Conn., molded the controller housing. The user wears a small insulin pump that is attached to the abdomen with a self-adhesive backing of nonwoven polyester fabric coated with acrylic. The OmniPod is regarded as the first wearable insulin pump that attaches directly to the user's skin.
The Little Wing ocean-going kayak from Warren Light Craft LLC of Salem, Mass., won a gold. Ted Warren, president and primary Little Wing designer, used Vacanti Yacht Design's Prolines computer-aided-design software in creating the 32-pound stable and fast touring kayak, which costs about $5,000 and was shipped in September initially measuring 16 feet, 3 inches. An 18-foot model also is available. Warren Light Craft thermoforms the cores using Core-Cell-brand linear polymer styrene acrylonitrile foam in a prelaminating phase and then applies outer and inner skins using epoxy resins and structural carbon-fiber woven cloth with a modulus of 33 million pounds per square inch.
Eastman Kodak Co. of Rochester, N.Y., was recognized for the design of the Kodak Easyshare V570 zoom digital camera, which costs $400 and came onto the market in January. The camera seeks to combine high style and compact personal electronics. The distinct camera was made with bead-blasted and anodized aluminum covers and a center frame of chrome-plated ABS. Other polymers include polymethyl methacrylate for the flash lens and windows, and thermoplastic elastomer.
A ski and snowboard helmet led to recognition of Hong Kong-based Neil Pryde Ltd.'s DXL-Protection Inc. and San Francisco agency fuseproject. The helmet materials included molded breathable nylon, SBS and carbon fiber. Other polymers were PC for certain small components and thermoplastic polyurethane for other elements such as the earflaps. The helmet comes in five sizes, costs $139-$329 and entered the market in January. Participants included fuseproject's Yves Behar, Brian Calo and Martin Schnitzer and Pryde/DXL product manager Michael Pryde and brand director Simon Narramore.
Design agency Brandiacentral of Lisbon, Portugal, was recognized for the premium lightweight propane Pluma cylinder for domestic use. The container has a pressed steel plate liner less than 1 millimeter thick, a Twintex composite coating consisting of filaments of thermoplastic and homogeneous commingled continuous glass from Saint-Gobain Vetrotex and a white gel-coat surface. Two high density PE handles are injection molded. Designing a single body full jacket avoided the need for interior ribbing. The item cost $28 in September, when it came on the market.
A Touch Messenger concept design from Samsung Electronics won a gold. Five people in the Samsung Design China office in Shanghai developed an idea for a practical cellular telephone for braille-reading blind users. Japan's Ujin Ltd. used computerized numerical control and handmade parts of acrylic and rubber in developing a mockup for design concept visualization. Now, Samsung designers are moving the project toward possible production.
A Lenovo Opti desktop personal computer exploration project was recognized. Lenovo Group Ltd. of Beijing, China, and Ziba Design Inc. of Portland, Ore., created the modular multimedia machine with an eye on the market in China. Contributing to the effort to design elements in harmony with Chinese culture were Ziba Design's Doug Cooke, Tim Wallack, Ildefonso Resuello, Amir Alegheband and I-Chiang Sun and Lenovo's Johnson Lee, Cai Ming and Winnie Yang. While not produced, the design called for injection molding ABS for enclosures, elastomer for soft-touch areas, acrylic for light pipes and PC for lenses. Separately, a research project about Lenovo's market focus also won a gold award.
Hydraulic rescue tools from ResQTec Zumro of St. Louis won a gold. ResQTec's engineering team and designers at VanBerloStudio BV in the Netherlands developed the rescue equipment for use by fire brigades to extricate victims trapped in situations such as vehicle accidents. Applications of polyethylene include protective parts around the blades, grips and pressure tube attachments. The blades are made of steel alloys.