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History of Industrial Design: From the Concept to the Drawing Board to Production and Finally to the Market Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 9th, 2021

Introduction

Industrial design has come a long way from the previous century when industries were just becoming modern to the current scenario where lean thinking is the watchword. The earlier assumed that products had a life for quite a few years and consequently, the industrial design took years from the concept to the drawing board to production and finally to the market. With the current short life span of consumer products, industrial design needs to be done very quickly and the time to market is measured in a few weeks if not days. There have been vast changes in the manner that goods are designed and manufactured and in the selection of materials that have to be lightweight and strong. This paper discusses the future of industrial design, the software tools used, and the materials available for the design aspects.

Software Tools Available for Design

Wang (2006) has written that the use of advanced Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software applications such as IDEAS, 3D Max, Maya, Lightwave, Solidworks, ProEngineer have changed the concept of industrial design. This software has very powerful 3D modeling features and allows the full component to be designed, different materials applied and even simulation can be done. The software allows organizations to capture the design intent of creative and innovative product concepts by using complex geometry creation and freeform NURBS – non-uniform rational b-spline surfacing tools. CAD packages are by industrial designers in a graphic environment and these packages offer a wide variety of design options and features. Designs can be saved, altered, modified, new materials applied, all very quickly. The most important aspect is the simulation feature that these packages have. It is possible to subject a designed product to different element forces such as wind, rain, falling from heights, simulation of crashes, etc. So, designers can reasonably predict the failure mode of the product, what level of forces it can sustain, and the likely areas where it can fail. This helps the designer to make a fair assessment of the product and make suitable design changes before subjecting the product to actual abuse testing and exposure to the real world. Wang also speaks of reverse engineering where it is possible to examine a finished product and use a 3D inspection unit and plot the geometry to obtain the original design.

Skateboard Materials

Skateboarding is a high-performance sport and serious skaters subject the skateboard to excessive stress, strains, leaps, falls, and other forms of abuse. The skateboard is a highly engineered object and though it may look simple, a lot of science and technology goes into making it. There are different forms of skating such as Artistic, Cone Slalom, Hockey, Quad Skating, R-Basketball, R-Soccer, Roller Blades, Roller Dance, Roller Derby and Speed with inline skates and ice skating The main components of the skateboard are the board or deck, the wheels with bearings and the trucks that connect the wheels to the board and allow the board to turn. A brief overview of different materials used for the components is given in Skateboard Science. (2006).

Board: Traditionally wood from the Maple tree has been used as the wood is lightweight, strong, and responsive to the needs of the skater. But wood is expensive and trees have to be cut for the skateboard. Several alternative materials that are engineered thermoplastics are available in the market. Some of the materials used are epoxy and fiberglass materials, lightweight carbon loaded thermoplastic nylon, impact-resistant fiberglass materials, and others. These high carbon fiber products are much stronger than other materials and are highly impact resistant. Using modern CNC molding machines and techniques the aerodynamic features and geometry required for the board can be easily given. In some cases, carbon fibers are spun with glass fibers that make the board impact-resistant and shock absorbent. Future materials and structures that are being considered include Nomex honeycomb at the core, with Kevlar as one of the structural materials (Skateboard, 2007). The current trend is to make skateboards from seven layers of maple veneers that are bound by polyvinyl glues in a sheath of metals such as aluminum. The assembly is then heat and pressure molded to 300 pounds per square inch pressure. The boards are stuck and laminated in the required form and shape and cured after which they are edge trimmed. Modern design processes ensure that the production design becomes predictable, repetitive, and economic.

Skate Wheels: The Skate wheel is the most important component of the skateboard and they perform all the motion that is required. The wheels are made of a precision bearing on which polyurethane is molded and trimmed so that the wheel rotates smoothly without friction. Traditionally precision ball bearings were used for the wheels but the trend for the future design is to use high-performance ceramic bearings. Steel ball bearings as specified by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee or Council (ABEC) with an internal diameter of 8mm, outer diameter 22 mm, and width of 7 mm are commonly used. The problem with the steel bearings and polyurethane wheels is that while larger wheels give higher speeds, and can cover cracks in pavements, they are less stable. Smaller wheels have lower speeds but are more stable. Future materials such as nanofibers and ceramic bearings with antifriction materials and bearings allow much smaller wheels to be used at higher speeds and the boards are more stable than ever (Skateboard, 2007). It has been reported that with the use of fiberglass materials, the thickness of the skateboard can be brought down and the reduced thickness means not only lesser material cost, but also increased control for the skater. In some cases, synthetic rubber materials such as Viton, Butyl, etc. have also been used since they offer better traction on smooth surfaces and the skater has better stability while performing artistic skating where complicated dance moves are done along with twirls and drops. RollerBob (2007) has suggested that the popular roller blades are increasingly being made of fiber-reinforced plastics since they highly impact resistant and can be easily manufactured in small lot sizes.

How the Future will influence the Design Engineer

Rowe Jeffrey (2001) has explained in detail the challenges that future designers would face and how they should be able to face the challenges. The author has suggested that processes such as rapid prototyping will become the norm and with the product shelf life being reduced, more and more new products are required that would have added features. The design engineer needs to have through competence in not only designing a product but also in using different CAD applications as these applications allow the quick and easy design of products. In addition, several new materials such as carbon fibers, reinforced plastics, composite materials, nano-structured materials are being developed. The designer needs to have a good understanding of how these materials can be used for product development and must also know the manufacturing process required to manufacture the products.

Conclusion

The industrial designer faces new challenges and opportunities in the area of industrial design engineering. New CAD applications are available that all products to be designed quickly. Several new materials such as carbon fiber and re-engineered plastic are available and these have good strength and performance.

References

RollerBob (2007). . 2007.

Rowe Jeffrey. (2001). The State of Industrial Design 2001 – Teams and Tools Cross Paths. 2007. Web.

Skateboard (2007). Material used for Skateboard. 2007. Web.

Skateboard Science. (2006). The Science and Art of Skateboard Design. 2007. Web.

Wang Lingfeng. Kay Chen Tan. (2006). Modern Industrial Automation Software Design: Principles and Real-world. Wiley-IEEE. ISBN 0471776270.

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IvyPanda. "History of Industrial Design: From the Concept to the Drawing Board to Production and Finally to the Market." September 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-industrial-design/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "History of Industrial Design: From the Concept to the Drawing Board to Production and Finally to the Market." September 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-industrial-design/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'History of Industrial Design: From the Concept to the Drawing Board to Production and Finally to the Market'. 9 September.

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