Design Innovation in Plastics was a design competition that took place on the 19th of February, 2016.  

introduction

This design competition revolves around the idea of using plastics and exploiting their benefits compared to metals.  The project was to design a pet product that was:

 

  • Completely Original

  • Environmentally Aware and Sustainable

  • Cost Effective to Manufacture

  • Affordable and User-Friendly

  • Robust Enough to Sustain Regular Use by Pets


More details of the competition can be found at this URL:

http://www.designinnovationplastics.org/competition.htm

mood boards

In order to get a better understanding of the products currently available on the market, I made a few mood boards to exhibit the products and get a better idea of what areas I could explore.

mind mapping and brainstorming

Surfing through internet and doing initial research made me want to develop my ideas further.  By creating a mind map of my different ideas, I was able to come up with concepts that I wouldn't have thought about at first.

​As I was browsing through the Internet and brainstorming a little, I had noticed some already existing products that had caught my attention. They were a corner wall brush and an anti-static brush.

I thought to myself, that corner wall brush is quite an interesting concept, but it has flaws.  I made a list of some of the flaws I identified in the corner wall brush.

-Hard to clean by the user as they would have to get down on their knees and remove it (screws?)
-Cat may not always be drawn towards the product
-Might not always clean the cat's fur properly as the surface area of the brush is too small (Anti-Static Brush?)
​-Might be a safety hazard if someone or something knocks into it

Using both those ideas, I decided that my concept would be to develop and improve this product to make it more efficient and user-friendly.

design specification

Before I could start designing concepts I needed to create a design specification to clearly state what the product needed and what direction I should take so that I would not deviate from achieving the design brief.

Function/Performance

-Must be able to clean and straighten cat fur to a high standard by itself
-Must be unique in its method to avoid copyright
-Must operate smoothly. eg. smooth joints 
-Must stay strongly fastened to a wall
-Must use anti-static material


Customer Requirements

-Aimed at cat owners of all ages
-Should not exceed a price of £30
-Must be easy to use
-Easily portable
-Aesthetically pleasing
-Easy to clean, remove, and maintain parts
-Should last at least 5 years
-Must be safe to use (No sharp edges)


Engineering Requirements

-Cats weigh about roughly 4-5 kg Therefore, in order to make sure that the material does 
-Waterproof and resistant to corrosion
-Brush material should be resistant to tearing
not break, the material must withstand a minimum of 50 N of force
-Comprised of Polymers (possibly Type 1 PVC or ABS)
-Must be able to withstand different temperatures.  
-Cats average about 23-25 cm in height On average, the range of inhabitable places’ tem-
 and 46 cm in head/body length[19] (size constraint) peratures is from -40°C to 40°C [20]

Now that I had created a design specification that could act as a guideline, I could finally start designing a concepts.

concept 1

The first concept was created using the idea of suction cups to attach itself to the wall.  The cat would be attracted to the corner of the wall and brush itself across the product, straightening and cleaning its fur.  

A button was introduced to help detach and attach the external brush to its parent component which allowed the user to brush the cat manually.  Approximate dimensions were included to gain a better understanding of what size the product needed to be. While the appearance of the product was quite aesthetically pleasing, it lacked any form of portability and was difficult to manufacture.  This would be considered in the second concept.

concept 2

​Concept 2 was created as an alternative solution.  It was important to address the flaws identified in the first concept and make sure that the second concept achieved its function with little to no complexity in its use and its difficulty to manufacture.  

​Concept 2 draws on similar ideas as Concept 1 by using a rectangular shaped appearance.  However, it has been designed to be symmetricall and foldable.  This allowed the concept to be more portable, which is what Concept 1 lacked.  A feature that was designed to allow the brush mat to be attached and removed easily was also implemented. This made the user experience far easier to understand than Concept 1.  Overall, this concept was the easiest to design and manufacture out of the three, which gave it an edge. 

concept 3

Concept 3 took on a different style than the other concepts.  It used the technologies of lasers to take on a varied approach towards the problem, since a cat may not always be attracted to the product.  It has become quite evident that cats are attracted to the lights of lasers and the videos and existing products today will show that.

​By using the idea of lasers around the outer rim of this curved product, the cat will clean itself at the owners will and not its own. All that must be done is to switch on the laser using a switch that the user can turn on and off.  The laser will then move back and forth along the edge of the product and the cat will follow it around while its fur is being brushed.  Not only can it be used as a cleaning accessory, but as a piece of furniture that can be sat on.  This makes the product more versatile and also gives it some entertainment and other functional value.

concept screening

As all three concepts had their pros and cons, in order to decide which concept would undergo further development, I created a concept screening table that enabled me to rate my concepts and see how well they matched up to achieving the design specification.  The way the concept screening table works is that the most important points on the design specification are at the top with the concept numbers on the left.  Each box corresponds to how well the concept matches up to the specification out of 10.  The higher the number, the better it matches up.  At the end on the right, all the numbers are totaled up and the concept with the highest score undergoes further development.

concept development

Having chosen Concept 2, development was needed in order to make the concept fulfill the Design Specification.  This included developing ergonomics, increasing functionality, improving performance, and so on.  The image below is a development on the edges of the product. Filleting them instead of making them straight made the product safer to carry and touch.  This was crucial as the product would be held and brushed against many times.

Another problem that needed to be addressed was how the brush mat would stay and be secured on to the corner wall parts. This was solved by creating slits in the corner wall parts so that the mat could easily slide on and off while remaining secure.

​This meant that the design of the brush mat would also have to change and so it did.  The mat went from being a simple rectangular mat to a rectangular mat with “T-shaped” protrusions at the ends.  This change allowed the brush to slide perfectly through the slits and remain fastened at the bottom.  A disadvantage of this method was that the brush mats would be a little more complex to create, thus increasing the price of the product, but it was necessary to create the cheapest possible way of securing the mat to the corner wall parts.

The image to the right shows the development of joining both corner wall parts.  I chose to go with the hinge joining method as it seemed the most obvious, reliable, and cheap.  However, I soon found out that there were different kinds of hinge joints and that some were more versatile than others. I ended up going with the joint that could move 90 degrees clock-wise so that the corner wall parts were nearly touching when they closed.

The image to the right shows the development of joining both corner wall parts.  I chose to go with the hinge joining method as it seemed the most obvious, reliable, and cheap.  However, I soon found out that there were different kinds of hinge joints and that some were more versatile than others. I ended up going with the joint that could move 90 degrees clock-wise so that the corner wall parts were nearly touching when they closed.

story board

computer aided design

Now that the design of the brush had been finalized, I was able to create a 3D CAD model of the product using SolidWorks.

technical drawings

Below are technical drawings that were created using SolidWorks to help manufacturers understand the specific dimensions of the product and other important information.

costing

In order to show that the specification of being under £30 was met, a product cost table was created that specified how much each individual part cost.

The price of the Product ended up coming to a value of £10.625.  However, this did not include costs of labor, manufacturing processes, and marketing.  Therefore, a maximum budget of £10 was allocated for labor and manufacturing and a maximum budget of £5 will be allocated for marketing purposes.  This totals to a final price of roughly £26.  This means that the target specification of below £30 has been met.

sustainability

In terms of what sustainability means to this product, the comparison that I want to make is how good ABS is as a brush and corner wall material as it is what the product is mostly made of.  What makes ABS a good choice is that is highly recyclable.  In addition, it has high corrosion resistance and toughness.  This is very important for this product, because the brush and the corner wall parts need to be able to withstand the force of cats and humans brushing against it many times.  Corrosion resistance is especially important if it needs to be washed frequently.  The Fracture Toughness vs. Modulus graph below shows the strength of ABS compared to other materials.  Although there are tougher materials, the cost must also be considered.  This is another one of the main strengths of ABS.  Considering it is a widely used polymer, it is relatively cheap compared to other materials.

product and Self evaluation

The table below shows how well the final product met the specification.  A tick meaning that the final product completely met the specification.

What Did You Think About This Project?

I very much enjoyed this project.  Mainly for the reason that it really puts you out of the typical norms of completing an assignment and handing it in by putting you in a situation where you need to put everything you have learned throughout your education to use and then being your own judge as to whether or not what you have done makes sense.  I thought the design brief was a bit unfair towards people that did not have pets themselves, but I treated it as more of an exciting challenge and learned to work out of my comfort zone.  

What Could Have Gone Better?

Even though the product was a success, not everything went smoothly.  At first, I’d had done a concept which I thought would be quite adequate to fulfill the design specification.  However, when I asked around from different people, they identified some flaws that I hadn’t noticed.  Therefore, it added a bit of extra work for me because I had to re-design a new concept that addressed the problems that were identified.   

What Went Well?

A lot of things went well for this project.  It was good that I had little problem designing and creating concepts and then developing on them as I loved to sketch new ideas.  The Computer Aided Design was the most promising part of the whole project as it showed a lot more detail to the product than anything else.  In terms of looks, it was the most visually impressive feature as well.  Finding the right references for pieces of information was not too hard either as the Internet was full of sources that allowed me to accurately express facts and data so that engineers would understand the specifications.  

What Would You Have Done Differently?

I would have definitely spent more time on exploring other ideas as I believe I could have thought of more products given I had more time.  I would have wanted to think of more functions for my product, but it would make it too complex.  One of my biggest regrets is not going out to pet stores to see existing physical pet products.  I thought that browsing the internet and reading pet books and magazines was enough, but I realized that just touching a product and seeing it physically there is something that every customer feels. and sees.  To evoke the right feeling for your product and connecting it to the customer is just as important as the product itself.​

the final submission

Olinga

William

Leung

Existing Pet Products

Describe your image.