Design Innovation in Plastics: High quality of finalists’ presentations praised by judges

by Gazette Reporter
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The shortlisted candidates for the final of the 2023 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition have just presented their products to the judges in an intense but fascinating day of discussion and scrutiny.

Christopher Kenny, currently attending TU Dublin as a product design student, reached the finals of this prestigious competition and will now be waiting to see how he has fared when the results are announced on July 7.

DIP is the longest running plastics design competition of its kind for university undergraduates in the UK and Ireland.  Supported by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and the Worshipful Company of Horners, it is industry headline sponsored by Covestro, a global supplier of premium polymers.

Answering this year’s brief of ‘Design for the kitchen or bathroom’, each candidate was asked to bring a prototype of their product and explain the research, product development and material selection, along with key issues such as how it meets innovation and sustainability criteria.

Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said the judging panel looked closely at how copyright, patents and trademarks were investigated during the design process, to ensure the products are original – an area in which he said the students need to become more aware of.

He added: “This year’s candidates benefited from a bespoke training course delivered by new DIP sponsor Sumitomo Demag on manufacturing and materials from which the finalists were able to bring the knowledge learnt when preparing their final presentations.  This has made their selection of plastics more focused and also the way in which they will be processed.

“We provide feedback to the students following the preliminary judging, and it is rewarding when we see these comments taken on board, as they were this time.   All of them improved their designs, providing powerful presentations using their prototypes and digital animation to get their design journey across.  We were very impressed with the changes delivered in these final presentations.”

The results of the judging will be announced at the DIP award ceremony on Friday, July 07, at Painters Hall in central London.  Students are competing for a top prize of £1,000.  There are supporting cash prizes for all finalists, and work placements with leading design and industry sponsors, who include Brightworks, Innovate Design, and PDD.

Aside from the shortlisted finalists, there is also a separate and newly created award this year. The Robin Jones Award, is being given in memory of a former DIP committee member who sadly passed away last year.  This will go to a candidate who the judges felt deserved recognition for the excellence of work presented.

The six award candidates are:

Freddy Blake – Bournemouth University – ‘Bubble Buddy’, a bathroom aid for encouraging children to wash their hands.

Kyle Farquhar – Edinburgh Napier University – “PlateMate – a foldable plate which teaches children how to prepare a variety of Mexican dishes.

James Forrest-Smith – Northumbria University – ‘Kitchen Helper’ – a height adjustable step which enables children to participate in kitchen activities

Christopher Kenny – TU Dublin – ‘Flossie’ – a brand new tool which makes teeth flossing much easier

Scott Rutherford – Edinburgh Napier University –  ‘Rotary Bottle Opener’ – a solution for people with limited dexterity to open twist bottle caps more easily.

Teresa Zheng – Loughborough University – Sianel – ‘Pocket Operation Panel’ – a portable, hygienic shelf to facilitate changing a colostomy bag.

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