Design Innovation in Plastics
The 2015 finalists at the historic Painters' Hall in London, where the awards ceremony was held. Alex Bordino (centre) was the overall winner for his 'S Pump' ice cream pump.
A polymer gear pump mechanism for the creation of soft ice cream has been named the winner of the 2015 ‘Design Innovation in Plastics’ student competition, with the judges stating the product was “well thought through and executed.”
The ‘S Pump’, a redesign of the steel ‘R Pump’ currently fitted to existing Carpigiani soft ice cream machines, was designed by Alexander Bordino, a second year BSc Product Design student from Nottingham Trent University.
The competition saw 118 submissions from Universities throughout the UK, with students challenged to transpose a product traditionally made in metal into plastics, exploiting the benefits of polymers in a fresh and innovative way.
“Overall the standard of entries this year was very good, and many students came up with creative ideas. However, we were not just looking for great ideas: we wanted to see if they had given careful though to manufacturing methods and costs,” commented Mike Stuart, Technical Service Engineer, from Bayer MaterialScience. “Our six finalists did this and these were among the factors which helped to ensure they made the final shortlist.”
For his winning design, Bordino took the traditional stainless steel internal pump mechanism, which effectively turns liquid into ice cream, and re-designed it using a blend of polymers.
In doing so he reduced the number of parts needed to manufacture it from 15 to just seven, producing a lightweight pump which is less bulky, 2kg lighter and much easier to clean, due to its manufacture using antimicrobial plastics.
Chairman of the judging panel, Richard Brown, Managing Director of G&A Moulding Technology, said: “Alex took a product that has remained untouched for years due to the dominant market position of the manufacturer. The judges were impressed by his approach of re-engineering the product by reducing the part count and changing the components to suitable polymer materials.
“Alex’s research of the market demonstrated an understanding of the challenges the end users faced and he took account of this in his redesign. His use of material selection and approach to manufacturing to provide a total solution was well though through and executed.”
Bordino has won a £1,000 cash prize and work placements with both Bayer MaterialScience in Leverkusen, Germany, and PriestmanGoode, a leading global design and brand experience agency specialising in aviation, transport and product design.
“My family has been involved in ice cream sales for quite a long time, so the pump is a device I am familiar with,” explained Bordino. “I could see it was bulky and felt something could be done with it. Also, because the competition brief was so broad, I wanted to design a niche product which the vast majority of people wouldn't have come across.”
Coming in second place was Megan Cattley, a second year Design for Industry student at Northumbria University, for her degradable surgical equipment for ophthalmic operations. The tools are designed to help surgeons in Third World countries treat a greater number of patients needing cataract surgery. The tool heads are moulded in water soluble PVoH allowing them to be ‘washed away’, making sterilisation unnecessary.
Third place was awarded to Martyn Billings, a final year Product Design student from Coventry University, for his a shock absorbing, non-conductive and non-sparking hammer constructed from interlocking sections of polymers with different impact absorption properties.
There were also three additional finalists who came ‘Highly Commended’ and also won a placement in industry.
Looking forward, the students have aspirations to take their designs to market. Thanks to the DIP mentoring scheme, introduced in 2013, post-award support is offered to all the finalists with the goal of helping them take their design ideas closer to commercial realisation.
The theme for next year’s awards is ‘Polymers for Pets’, with the brief designed around plastics for improving animal welfare.