• Welcome to engineeringclicks.com
  • Sustainable product design and development

    Discussion in 'Industrial design' started by haroon.str, Aug 22, 2010.

    1. haroon.str

      haroon.str New Member

      Apr 2010
      Likes Received:
      "Can designers and engineers alone solve the world’s environmental problems??? wat do you think ??"

      An initiative taken towards the design and development of new pure water dispenser to bring out a sustainable pure drinking water dispenser

    3. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

      Sep 2009
      Likes Received:
      I'm afraid not.

      As a designer/engineer we can have a humungous impact on the life cycle of a product - in an ideal scenario, we would be able to source a local manufacturer who can source the raw materials locally this way transportation pollution is significantly reduced. Designers and engineers can also specify manufactures and sometimes distributers who comply with which ever sustainable (environmental and social) criteria you choose. While your there, you should be looking at the workers conditions – working hours and human rights – sustainable design goes so much further than environmental policies.

      We can also design a product which has no fasteners - it holds it self together with integrated clips and everything is made from one recycled and recyclable material (also recycled and reused locally). Any electronic components would use an alternative power source to a battery, and the products can be designed to be modular - they can be serviced to extend their life - the broken parts could be reconditioned and used again in future products.

      Here though, we hit a snag.

      At this point, we introduce something uncontrollable and for the most part totally unreliable and unpredictable to the life of a product.

      The consumer.

      Having hit all of the points above in your new ground breaking product, the user buys it, breaks it and throws it away in the bin, and goes off to buy a new one.

      All that hard work, and the product has broken out of it’s planned life cycle and is now heading for a land fill site somewhere in the far east. Your super energy efficient TV/Stereo/Microwave combi is also left on standby 24/7 using power and that it just doesn’t need.

      Factor in this, and there are things we can do – bio-degradable plastics will decompose over time, but limit the life of the product, and so cannot be re-used (or recycled?)

      So maybe the question is how do you stop the consumer screwing everything up in the first place rather than trying to clean up the mess after?

      Sell a service, not a product.

      Who OWNS a Xerox photocopier? As far as I know, you lease a photocopier from them. All repairs are carried out by them and their authorised distributers. At the end of its life, the company knows exactly where it is, and still owns it. They take it back, service it, and send it back out. At minimal cost to them selves (cheaper than making a new one), with little new material used.

      We design things to be ‘idiot proof’. We should be designing things to be ‘consumer proof’!

      We (as designers and engineers) can make a hell of a difference – eco products shouldn’t be sold just on the environmentally friendly label – they should be truly sustainable products, and the consumer shouldn’t get a choice and shouldn’t notice the change, as they will miss use and abuse a product in anyway shape of form they can!
    4. Trev

      Trev New Member

      Aug 2010
      Likes Received:
      Good post there pete, but I believe the difference we designers we can make is limited:
      Our masters are usually those who dream up the weird and wonderful stuff we design in the first place - much of which is - let's face it - completely unnecessary (especially consumer products). They convince the general public that they actually need the stuff we design.

      Designers can have a go at improving things but we're at the mercy of those who squeeze every penny of cost out of what we're doing at the expence of ethics.

      Many of our jobs exist purely because of the consumer based capitalist socitety we live in. to truly make a differnce culture and society must be fundamentally changed.

    Share This Page