Students from Universities across the UK have been tasked with changing perceptions as they look to enhance the design of some of the most traditional metal-based products with polymers.
The challenge is part of the competition brief for this year’s ‘Design Innovation in Plastics Award’, which is asking entrants to select a product traditionally made from metal and replace it with a next-generation upgrade using only plastics.
“The idea behind the theme this year is to prove that, despite rapid advances in technology, polymer materials that display an equally impressive range of properties are often not considered as viable alternative to replace traditional metal components,” explained Sylvia Katz, Design Innovation in Plastics Co-Ordinator. “This brief challenges them to come up with a fresh take on the original product and to incorporate novel design improvements that reflect modern living.”
The students have been asked to justify the practical benefits of plastics when replacing metals in the chosen application, such as strength to weight ratio, the ability to integrate innovative features that increase product functionality, as well as manufacturing cost viability. The product also needs to consider the use of plastics in the context of user experience.
The winning product will be judged by a panel of industry experts, looking for imaginative applications of advances in plastics additive technology, cosmetic surface finishes, conductivity and in biodegradability.
The Design Innovation in Plastics Award has been running since 1985 and offers unique benefits to its finalists: a mentoring scheme to help them take their products closer to commercial realisation and, for the first time this year, the opportunity of realising their designs as 3D printed parts from a CAD generated model.
Last year’s winner, Michael Tougher from Glasgow School of Arts (pictured), is now in conversation with Hasbro, one of the world’s largest toy makers, after winning a work placement there.
As a media partner to the competition, BP&R will be following its progress closely, and will be giving regular updates on judging sessions as well as featuring an interview with the overall winner in our July/August issue.
Registered students are reminded that the final date to submit their entries is today, 20th February.