Seattle — Kevin Langer's bathtime product project has been cleaning up in the awards circuit this year.
The student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout took first place in an Industrial Designers Society of America competition for student parts made using thermoforming, and also took the top spot in the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming parts competition for student parts.
The IDSA award, sponsored by Freetech Plastics Inc., netted him a $2,500 grant during judging at its annual meeting in Seattle. The SPE event in Atlanta added another $1,000.
Langer designed a polyetyrene, turtle-shaped shower caddie. His was one of 20 entries from across the U.S. for the IDSA competition and 30 part entries for SPE.
Other IDSA awards went to Taylor Lane of California's San Jose State University$1,500 for second place and David Charlier also of UW-Stout, with $1,000 for third.
“The range of products and thermoforming techniques never cease to amaze me, and this year was no exception,” said contest organizer Richard Freeman, Freetech Plastics CEO and creative director.
“Judges liked the whimsical styling to help make bathing fun,” Freeman said. “Also noted were the molded return features that helped provide rigidity while eliminating sharp edges, making for a safer product.”
Lane created the lightweight Pixis picnic box incorporating two thermoformed ABS components and wood. “Judges noted the crisp details on the formed parts and how well they integrated with the wooden elements,” Freeman said.
Charlier's complex polystyrene six-compartment Whirl carousel required four molds and a high level of precision for execution. The Whirl is designed as a school room table organizer.
Cumulatively, the competition over six years has awarded $30,000 in scholarship grants to students.