Monday, October 15, 2012

PROJECT 2 - Product Service System

“Your task is to design a sustainable product service system that would encourage changes towards environmentally positive and socially responsible behaviours in the community.”

Online shopping is a rapidly increasing means of purchasing goods, with no slowing down in sight. Convenience and a wider choice range are driving consumers to buy more and more goods online. A side effect of this trend is that more and more parcels are being shipped all the time, transporting these increasing online purchases to consumers. Even through mass increases in parcels being sent, and increases in technology, the traditional parcel delivery service has not adapted to keep up, leaving this an area screaming to be looked into further.

Traditional methods of parcel delivery involve items being packaged into plastic bags or cardboard boxes, which once used, are often recycled or thrown in the garbage. This one use mentality is not an environmentally sound one.

I created a product service system to better fit a rapidly increasing market in parcel delivery, that not only brings new technologies to a traditional system, but also teaches the idea of reuse beng the most environmentally friendly approach to used products.

My design gets rid of the current cardboard and replaces it with plastic. This might not sound like an environmentally friendly move, which it is not on a one use basis, but where cardboard can only be effectively reused in parcel delivery up to 5 times, the use of plastic along with the structural integrity of my design means that my design will last for a much longer life, eliminating the need to continually be recycling cardboard, or having it end up in landfill.

An RFID tag is inserted into every parcel, which allows not only for more accurate tracking of parcels, but also reduces errors in sorting, which can lead to lost parcels.

The way this system works starts out much the same as the current system. A customer will make an online purchase, which will be sent to a warehouse for processing. The warehouse will pack the items into a re:Parcel, and send the RFID tag information to the customer, who can then track progress via the re:Pacrel app. The delivery will happen much the same as currently, but if the customer is away from home, then they will be able to see if their parcel has been left at the door, or taken back to the post office, via the app. Once the customer has taken their items out, they place the re:Parcel back at the doorstep, and via the app activate that their used re:Parcel is now ready to be picked back up and used again. Once the “pick up now” function has been activated, it will send a message to delivery drivers in the area of the location of the used parcel, so they can pick it back up on their rounds. Once picked up, the parcel will be returned to a warehouse to be used again.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Project 1 - Cormack Innovation Awards

Focusing on a product or family of products within the beverage, food, personal care or pharmaceutical markets. Students are to submit a redesign of a current product/brand which is used by or for children under 11.
- Must incorporate a total pack.
- Products stating “for use to 12 years of age” will be accepted.
- Designs should be compliant and safe for children.
- A high‐volume fast‐moving consumer good.
- Contain at least one element of the closure system in plastic.
- The product/s to package should be available in supermarkets and/or pharmacies.
- Consider the cost of manufacture.
- New pack must help grow the company’s business and increase sales.
- Design should appeal to the major retailers as a strong potential product line for their “house brands”.
- Easy to use.
- Be “green” in their approach to manufacture: seek to reduce excess packaging where possible.
- Show innovation and benefit to the consumer.
- The design must comply with Australian Standards.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Light-bulb Conspiracy

The Lightbulb Conspiracy

The Lightbulb Conspiracy is a documentary about the history of planned obsolescence. All products can eventually become obsolete, but planned obsolescence is when a product is designed to need replacing earlier than is necessary. In this documentary it used the example of the light bulb, which was one of the first products to be designed with a planned obsolescence. When Edison first had a light bulb in consumer production, it would last about 1500 hours, not long after light bulbs were being made that could last 2500 hours. At this time a group of light bulb manufactures from around the globe met, and it was agreed to make light bulbs last only 1000 hours, so they would have to be replaced more often. The documentary looks at how our economy and lifestyle is built on consumerism, which is powered by planned obsolescence. Without planned obsolesance, we would not see the economic growth that we do today, which at first might seem like a bad thing, who wants the economy to stop growing, right? But this documentary questions that belief. It is said "The earth is big enough to satisfy everyone's needs, but too small to satisfy individual greed".

This is an important documentary for designers in particular to watch, because it goes right to the core of our field. As designers we have the power to design products with or without planned obsolescence. All good designers have the ability to design quality products which are going to last for a long time, but it is not the simple. The company that a designer might work for might have a policy of a set planned obsolescence, so they might not have a choice as to whether or not they make a long lasting product. Even if they had the freedom to design a long lasting product, they might in fact be designing themselves out of a job. As designers, we have to be able to weigh up these different variable and make an informed design decision. This is the ethical question that all designers face.

The three take home points from this documentary are:
- Our economy currently depends on consumerism, which is driven by planned obsolescence
- While the western countries continue buying more, more frequently, developing counties becoming the dumping ground for our unwanted waste
- We live in a world of finite resources, and there needs to be a change in the way our economies work, which means we need to become less consumeristic and have access to long lasting products

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Product Disassembly

In class we were put into groups of about 6, and each group was given a faulty product (donated by Breville) to disassemble. Our group was given an iron. It took us about 27 minutes to disassemble the product into different materials as best as we physically could. Below are photos of the different groups of materials from the iron.

After this exercise is was made clear a few improvements that could be made in terms of  recycle-ability and ability for repair. For recycle-ability, is is important that the different materials used in the product are easy to detach from one another, so they can be recycled more easily. To better this, we as a group decided that we could change the majority of the plastic parts (which are currently mostly polycarbonate and polypropylene) to be all one plastic (polypropylene) as to reduce the amount of things that need to be taken apart in the recycling process.
Also there are a few parts of the iron which are polypropylene with a silicon overmould. This means that it is very hard to recycle this part. These overmoulds are normally there to help with grip, so as an alternative to this, we decided that there could be textures moulded into the plastic instead.
The part of an iron we thought was the most likely to fail was the power cable. Because this is a difficult part to replace currently, the iron is usually thrown out instead of repairing it. To help make it easier to replace this part, we designed the power cable with a pull tab, so that if it breaks and is returned to Breville, it is easy to replace just that part instead of the whole iron.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The 11th Hour

The 11th Hour

The 11th Hour is a documentary about the effects that humans and human society is having and will have on the health of earth. This film was made a number of years ago, when the general public first stared to become concerned about the impact they were having on the earth, so most of the facts and figures showed are nothing new to someone today. This film was different to other similar documentaries though because of its slightly different focus. It was said that if the earth was created on 1st January, then humans only came along at 11.45pm on 31st December, and in this long history the earth and its climate had not stayed the same, but has always been changing. It is not unusual that we are experiencing changes in the climate, but we are however speeding this process up. The climate has always changed, but that includes the species that occupy it. Of all the species that have ever existed on the planet, 99.9999% of those are now extinct. This documentary claims that we will put the climate through such extensive change that the conditions on earth will no longer be able to support human life, and like nearly all species before us, we too will become extinct. The earth will be able to recover from the damage that we cause, because it has always recovered in the past, but it will be too late for humans.

This documentary is important for designers to watch for a few reasons. As designers we have the ability to create products that will either help out the environment or harm it. It is important for designers to understand how important it is to look after the planet so that they make wise decisions when they are choosing materials for the products they design. Designers have the opportunity to greatly effect the course of history. If every designer decided to only make products that were helpful to the environment, then consumers wouldn't have a choice but to buy environmentally friendly products. Imagine how helpful this would be to the environment.

The three main take home points from this documentary are:
- We need to think of the environment not as a resource, but as crucial to our survival
- If humans don't do something about their behaviour we will make ourselves extinct
- The environment will be able to regenerate itself from the damage we cause, but we will all die in the process

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Video Reflections

Giving Packaging a New Life

Sorting Innovations 

How It's Made: Packaging

Cardboard Boxes 
Packaging Tubes 

All the videos in these two series are very insightful, informative and helpful. The 'How Its Made: Packaging' series goes through the manufacturing processes of various types of packaging (ie. cardboard boxes, packaging tubes, tetrapaks, aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles and jars). From watching videos similar to this previously, there were many things about these processes which I already knew, but it was good to be reminded of this, and learn some new things. The 'Giving Packaging a New Life' series looks at how different types of packaging (ie. aluminum, glass, plastic, sorting innovations, paper, tetrapak and tinplate) are recycled. Whilst I already knew how some of these types of packaging were recycled, there were many, such as tetrapaks, that I did not know could even be recycled, let alone how it was done. In these videos the things that impressed me the most was how recyclable waste is sorted into different materials in order to be recycled. Machines take advantage of the different properties that each of the materials have in order to separate them. For example, because tin is magnetic, where other recyclable materials are not, overhead magnetic conveyor-belts separate out the tin. The structure of tetrapaks make it a complex thing to be recycled, because it is made of thin sheets of different materials bonded together. This has to therefore go through several processes, each extracting a different material, thus being able to be recycled.

It is important for industrial designers to watch videos like these ones, especially if they are involved in packaging design, because they need to have a clear understanding of the process that their design will have to go through in order to be made, and then how it can be recycled at its end of use. It is important for designers to understand how different types of packaging are made, because their design has to be physically able to be made. If a designer has an understanding of the process, then they will know what is and isn't possible in their design. They also need to have an understanding of how different materials are recycled. This is important because design decisions they make, affect the recycle-ability of their design. If they are an environmentally aware designer, they will want to make sure that it is easy as possible to recycle their design, so that it is not contributing to landfill, and can in fact be used to make something new, reducing the amount of virgin material needed.   

Some main take away points from these videos:

- Packaging made from different materials have different properties, so when you decide what properties are needed in your design, most likely there will be a material with these desired properties.
- Most packaging can be manufactured at lightning fast speeds, so it is perfect for mass production.
- Most types of packaging can be recycled, you just need the right machines to separate and process.