Back at Uni for the 3rd Year

Straight into our new subject project for this year and it’s completely free. Knowing this over the summer, I started looking into which area of design I would like to go into an got it down to the following:

  • Mobility and devices for people with arthritis or rheumatics
  • Devices in the kitchen 
  • Safety in the workplace (consider both personal wear or vehicular safety)

So this first week has been all about understanding the initial problems that occurs in these areas of design.

Why-is-Thinking-so-important-300x300(http://www.lawfulrebel.com)

For arthritis patients, the main issues seem to be their lack of independence when using standard products and the high amount of pain they suffer when attempting to use products that need grip or compression.
The first thought for this project would be to reinvent the idea of ‘grip’ and how a new device could be implemented to remove the need to using your hands at all. 

Devices in the kitchen can cause so man issues; including health and safety when using sharp objects, incorrect use of utensils, burning from pots and pan and more. Of-course these things that we use in the kitchen are made for purpose and cause issues because of their misuse.
What if better education was implemented into the household to make people more aware of the issues that happen everyday; or could to solution be to design a much safer kitchen system that removes as many dangers and risks as possible?

When it comes to safety in the workplace, I was able to gather some research over summer to find that the safety equipment used, was designed to look like safety equipment. This doesn’t sounds like much of an issue; however it may be the reason accidents still occur in the workplace, that people aren’t comfortable wearing it.
So to combat this, the design project would be to create a better aesthetic and more comfortable attire for safety equipment.  

(DailyMirror.co.uk) / (www.jenningswire.com) / (www.caboenvironmental.com)

From these ideas I aim to develop a clear understanding of the gap in the market in and will use the following design principles to find a solution to the problem:

Define – Discover – Ideate – Prototype – Test – Implement 

Using this I will revisit each stage of the process before properly moving on the next, which will allow me to cover all areas of design to find the best solution for the issues above.

 

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Another Summer of Industry

I was very lucky to be invited back to work for an automotive company this summer and got pushed out of my comfort zone quite a bit. Compared to last year; where CAD analysis and tool design was what I was tasked with, this year was all about creating a database and costing algorithm to determine the costs of the new tools when manufacturing parts for new vehicles. I was still able to further my CAD skills and understand the more complex functions that certain CAD packages have; however that was not my main focus of this summer.

As I said, databases and calculations:

  • The Task:
    • Compile a database of previous tooling cost
    • Include the amounts that were given at each stage of the design
    • Include any extra costs that were needed.
    • Use this information to deduce a simple algorithm that can determine the cost of future tooling.
  • The How:
    • Working with different departments in the company, UK wide and internationally to source the data I would need.
    • Find a common factor of all tooling information to create the calculations.
  • The Outcome:
    • A final, simple to read, easy to find excel document with all previous data.
    • A simple to use excel calculator.

So it turns out this was a success, but not without it difficulties:

One of the main things i learned over summer, was the need for quick, reliable and effective communication between departments that could assist in all of the tasks that need doing. The information was easily sourced when quick responses were made between colleagues and understanding how to effectively communicate the correct information was also crucial. As incorrect information could have easily thrown out my calculations.

Thanks to the job I was able to travel around the UK on a handful of occasions to attend meetings that would benefit my work. This included a trip to Washington (UK) to source and understand the information around assembly units in the automotive industry. Another trip was down to Llanelli in south Wales, again to understand and source information in regards to Hot Stamp (Press Hardening) manufacturing.

(Unfortunately images and information from my work can not be shown on this site, Please visit: http://www.gestamp.com/home.aspx . To see the company).

At the end of my time their, I was given the opportunity to give a presentation to the managers of the commercial team and the director of the engineering team. This felt like an honour to be able to fully discuss how successful my work had been over the summer and how it will be a positive impact on the way that they cost tooling for future projects.

From this, I will keep in contact with everyone I got acquainted with during my time their and build a connection through social media (using LinkedIn). This will hopefully help in my future endeavours to obtain a job and further develop my own skills and knowledge of how the industry is moving forward and how I may one day have a place in it.