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Product Engineering and Design Review: Coke Bottles, Running Shoes, Air Conditioner, Dishwasher, and iPhones Case Study

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Updated: Jul 3rd, 2019

Introduction

Product engineering and design is important because it allows consumers and manufacturers to interact through several ways. Adequately designed products are better selling, with certain designs also improving on the quality of some of the products. Some of the factors considered in product design and engineering include the use of the product, the target markets, and the durability of the same product.

In the case study, several products will be considered followed by a thorough analysis of their designs. Such products that the study considers include Coke bottles, running shoes (specifically Salomon Sense Mantra Trail Shoe), air conditioner, dishwasher, and iPhones.

Coke Bottles

Description of the product

This section provides an analysis of the design of coke bottles. Coke bottles, as referred here are the glass bottles that the soft drink Coca-Cola Company uses to distribute its drinks. Some of the company employees constantly refer to the characteristic bottle that the company markets its beverage as the contour bottle, with others referring to it as the hobble skirt (Chan 2004).

The bottle came into being about a century ago when the company asked the suppliers to engage in a competition to see who would produce a bottle that would be unique to the company. The competition bore fruit with the current design being made by one of the employees in the glass companies making the bottle.

Material Selection

The material used in the production is glass based on a number of factors and considerations. Glass may be fragile. However, it has a number of characteristics that make it suitable in the making of coke glass. Being transparent, glass contributes in the marketing of the beverage since consumers are able to distinguish the product and/or associate it with its quality and standard.

It also gives the various products marketed in the same bottle a different look. Glass is also inert. It does not react with the contents of the bottle. This ensures that it is safe for human consumption. The Coca-Cola beverage marketed in the bottle would react with some of the common marketing materials, thus giving the product a distinct taste that may not be appealing to consumers.

Another reason for the choice of glass over other materials is in the ease of recycling where the same bottle is used repeatedly to package the beverage. The company delivers the product to outlets, which in turn return the empty bottles to the company for refilling.

Glass bottles are also durable. They can be used for many years without wear and tear, as opposed to other materials. Glass is also easy to clean and decontaminate after use. All the above reasons make glass the ideal material for the packaging of coke beverages.

Manufacturing Methods

The coke bottle is made in a number of companies around the world that are contracted by the mother company. The process of making these glass bottles has evolved over time, with the original hand blowing method being abandoned. The process is now mechanised, with most of the bottles being made from recycled glass.

From the raw material, the process of melting takes place to allow the moulding of the obtained products. Forming and annealing are the next processes, which are followed by physical inspection of the resultant product. The next step is the inspection of the product by the use of machines and lasers that discard the incomplete and poor quality bottles.

In the conveyer belt, the bottles have to be inspected again physically, with this step being followed by the quality control process. The final stage before the bottles are supplied for beverage bottling is the packaging for the transport.

Life Cycle Analysis

In the life cycle analysis of a coke bottle, the bottle is sent for bottling of the Coca-Cola beverage after it has been manufactured. The beverage is then distributed to the retail markets in different parts of the world through the big supply outlets. Consumers access it through the retail markets when they want the beverage, after which the bottle is returned to the retailer. The company then gets it for refilling and marketing (PR 2011).

Recyclability

Coke bottles are some of the most available products for recycling. They are easily recycled to serve in the bottling of more beverages. Once a consumer uses the beverage, the bottle is returned to the supplier who sends it back to the company in exchange for full bottles (Smith-Teutsch 2009).

The empty bottles are then refilled and reused. Broken bottles are also recycled, with new bottles being made from them. Some of the glasses used to make some of the bottles are more than 20 years old, only being available through recycling.

Overall Product Appeal

The overall product appeal is very good. The brand is one of the most recognised anywhere in the world. The bottle contributes to the recognition accorded to the whole product. Only few people and countries are unable to recognise it.

The brand is also the best selling in its class for many years by managing to kill competition by the easy and consistent design that it has kept over the years (Coca-Cola recycles all its Olympic bottles 2012). It is therefore right to say that the coke bottle is one of the most appealing of products in its class.

Running Shoes: Salomon Sense Mantra Trail Shoe

Description of the Product

Salomon Sense Mantra Trail Shoe is one of the shoe brands that can be used in trail running. The shoe is a product of the Salomon Company, which has put decades into the manufacture of quality shoes. The latest trail shoes are made to be light for runners while at the same time offering protection from the feet.

Trail running requires that the participants have well-fitting and comfortable shoes to minimise injury after a long run and/or reduce the impact on the ground. This shoe is designed especially for that, with a combination of several materials to make it desirable to users.

Material Selection

Traditionally, shoes have been made out of leather, with this being a way of making them durable and relatively comfortable (Larson 2013). Trail running however requires the runner to use the lightest shoes that are comfortable and durable at the same time. The material chosen in the manufacture of the Salomon Sense Mantra Trail Shoe has the above characteristic.

It is suitable during trail running. The first material used is leather that is used to reinforce the meshwork at the front-upper part of the shoe that can be described as a breather. The mesh continues at the front of the shoe to a rubber part, which forms the toe box.

The reason for use of rubber at this part of the shoe and other parts is to ensure comfort at the same spots during the running process. The tongue at the front of the shoe is made of lycra and nylon. This makes it thin and flexible (Trail Running 2013, p. 71). The heel is soft since it is made of rubber, which allows weight bearing and softer landing while out on the trail.

Manufacturing Methods

The shoes are manufactured using state of the art technology at the company factory, with the materials being widely available. The materials used in the manufacture of the sole are mainly ethylene vinyl acetate, which is mixed with other materials such as silicon and polyurethane for more comfort, durability, and aesthetic appeal. The lower part of the sole is reinforced through the mixing of the above materials with carbon rubber, with this making it durable and allowing it to bear stress.

The upper covering is later made from the different materials named above depending on the part that is being made. The shoe is made in different colours by the dying of the complete product or using the dyed material. Leather that is used in the making of some of the parts is brought into the manufacturing plant when already cut and tanned.

Life Cycle Analysis

After the shoes are ready, the different sizes are put together for packaging in the appropriate boxes in readiness for sale and export. These are then loaded onto the waiting trucks and vans that distribute to the various outlets or the different retailers. They are also packed in large quantities in containers that are then loaded into ships for transfer to the international markets.

Consumers have to buy the shoes from the designated outlets all over the world or in the shopping malls and retail outlets. The price is predetermined. Each of the retailers adds his or her costs. The end users are the consumers who can discard the shoe if they are no longer useful to them or pass them down to others. The shoes can also wear out necessitating replacement.

Recyclability

Although the shoes can be used for several years without wear and tear, the recyclability of the materials used is not very good. However, the rubber and the nylon could be recycled and used to make other products such as key holders. The shoes are therefore not easily recyclable.

It would be an environmental concern if most of the people disposed them wrongly. The sole could be dismantled into the various component materials with these being used to make other shoes and wares. The process would however be expensive and tedious.

Overall Product Appeal

The product trail shoe is appealing to trail runners, with most of them preferring it to other brands of running shoes. The general reasons for preference include the light nature of the shoe, the durability, and the different designs that are available. They are also marketed as suitable for both on and off-road with minimal wear and tear.

The other appealing characteristic of the shoes is the comfort they accord to the runners feet ensuring that they do not get the associated injuries. A number of runners also prefer the shoe brand because of the design that sets the shoe apart in the industry. It is considered more prestigious in relation to other shoes. The design has also attracted awards, with the shoe being voted the second best trail shoe (Dreher 2005)

Air Conditioner

Air conditioner is a machine that allows air conditioning. Air conditioning refers to the equilibration of room temperature to provide comfort. Several companies manufacture the machine. It constitutes of a number of parts assembled together.

Description of the product

Air conditioner allows the cooling of rooms that would otherwise be too warm or hot, thus making it comfortable to live in these kinds of places. The machine cools rooms in a system that operates like a freezing system (Udagawa et al. 2013). In addition, it filters the air. Air conditioner can be set to a certain temperature. In fact, with the thermostatic control, it can ensure that the room is maintained at this given temperature.

The main components of the air conditioning machine include the compressor that compresses the cooling fluid, the blower that contributes to the cooling of the air, and the cooling coils that radiate the heat to and from the machine. These work in concert to produce a unit that keeps rooms at a constant temperature.

Material selection

The material used in the construction of air conditioning machines is specially selected and has characteristics that allow the dissipation of heat from the room to the environment. Several materials are used in the construction of air conditioner. These include the metallic radiation tubes that allow the heat to be lost.

Throughout the development of the machine, the materials selected have changed with time. This has been influenced by the discovery of materials that are more conductive and durable. The fluid used in the cooling system is also specially selected, with the requirement of being easily compressed.

The machine is constructed on various principles. However, these depend on the maker of the machine. The two common principles that they work on include mechanical cooling and electromechanical cooling. The materials are then selected based on these two principles and the desire of the manufacturing company.

Manufacturing Methods

Various companies have established themselves in the manufacture of air conditioners, and these are especially the electronic companies. The methods used in the manufacture of air conditioners depend on the maker (Batterman et al. 2012). For a simple mechanical air conditioner, the coolant is put inside a pre-shaped system of cooling metallic tubes, which are then connected to a pump that drives the fluid inside the tubes and compresses it to give off heat.

The process is then followed by the attachment of this system to several boxes that will be stationed in and out of the building to be cooled. A fan is attached to one end, which also rotates another fan on the opposite side. The process leads to the eventual cooling of air passing in between these systems.

Life Cycle Analysis

The completed air conditioners are packed after being manufactured at the manufacturing plants, with the different shapes and sizes being put in matching boxes with care. The packaged air conditioners are then transported to various outlets where the marketing of the same takes place.

The outlets then distribute the units to the various retailers who then pass them to the willing buyers. The durability depends on several factors such as the current being used and the type of usage that they are put through. The air conditioner can be destroyed during transit or during use.

Recyclability

Most of the air conditioners are not recycled after use. However, the various components that make up the machines can be broken down after use and used to make other products. The fluid used as a coolant has been associated for a long time with pollution and global warming. Newer technologies are being used to replace it.

It is possible to replace the cooling fluid in an effort to make other machines such as freezers and fridges, which could also be recycled. The casings used are mainly metallic, which can then be recycled after use to make other metallic products.

Another part of the machine that could be recycled is the pumping system, which could be used to make other air conditioners or metallic items. The process of separating the various components is however tedious and time consuming. In fact, it is rarely done. The machine also lasts for long periods.

Overall Product Appeal

Air conditioners are meant to keep the living quarters cool and fit for living in. The designs made by the various manufacturers try to impress and appeal to buyers through the shapes and sizes that they are made of by the company. Most of the machines are also spacious, thus taking up large spaces in rooms. They are therefore easily fitted in many rooms.

Dishwasher

A dishwasher is a mechanised system of washing dishes. It does not utilise manual washing. It is an easy way of washing a large number of utensils in restaurants and event in homes.

Description of the Product

A dishwasher is generally a compartment in which dirty utensils are put in and come out clean, and does not involve manual scrubbing. When the dirty utensils are loaded into this machine, hot water with some detergent is sprayed and used to clean the plates in the same manner that manual scrubbing would do. The machine allows the dishes to be washed from all sides, with rinsing being done at the end of it.

Rinsing is done through spraying of warm water to the utensils, after the draining of the water used to wash (Zhifeng, Yang, Di & Bo 2012). The drying of the utensils is later done. Most of the dishwashers employ the use of hot air. Several mechanisms are also used in the drying of the utensils being washed including the use of a rinse aid.

Material Selection

The materials used in the construction of a dishwasher have special characteristics depending on the manufacturer. Stainless steel is occasionally used in the railing of the washing compartment due to its special characteristics. The cabinet is also covered in insulation material that prevents the dissipation of heat to the outer cover.

The outer cover is made of plastic and carbon fibre, with most of other dishwashers being metallic. A hot current element is used to heat the air and the water used in the washing of the utensils. A motor is used to rotate the spraying arms that wash the dishes. Depending on the size of the machine, metallic stands may be utilised to hold the weight and prevent collapse during use.

Manufacturing Methods

The manufacturing of dishwashers is not a simple process, and employs a number of skilled people and robotics. The various components of the dishwashers are manufactured independently as they await a later assembly process into the complete product (Döğen et al., 2013). Some of the components that are constructed independently include the trays, the motors and the cabinets.

The trays are made by welding of the stainless steel rods together, with the motor being made with electrical units. The cabinet that houses the whole unit is then constructed with the utilisation of metallic boards, with the commonest used material being stainless steel. These components are later assembled in a factory, with a conveyor belt being used to mechanise the process.

Life Cycle Analysis

The lifecycle of the dishwasher begins after the exit from the manufacturing belt. From the manufacturer, they are stocked in retail markets and other electric outlets. Care is taken during the transit process, as the material is fragile and expensive. The main buyers of the dishwashers are the hotel owners who buy them to install into their hotels after construction or to replace worn out ones.

Individuals also buy to replace the old and the broken ones in their homes. One can choose to fit the dishwashers on kitchen walls or place them on the top of stands. They last for several years. The durability depends on the manufacturer and utilisation in the final destination.

Recyclability

Materials used in the manufacture of the dishwashers are easily recycled, with the main recyclable material being the stainless steel. The available companies that can recycle the materials in a dishwasher play a crucial role towards making the environment safe (Zhang et al. 2010). The plastic over in the machine can be recycled to make simple utensils or other plastic appliances, and so can the glass that is usually used in the doors to the machines.

The other recyclable parts include the pumps used in the dishwashers. These parts could be used to make other appliances such as cables and dishwashers. In the last few decades, the use of dishwashing technology has improved, with many countries manufacturing or assembling these items. Recycling is therefore important to prevent any environmental impact.

Overall Product Appeal

The overall appeal for the dishwasher is good. Most of people using the machine state that it makes washing easy and faster according to Richter (2011). There are different shapes and sizes that exist contributing to the overall appeal noticed for the product.

Some of the largest consumer groups are the hotel operators. Their use of dishwashing technology has made the requirement of extra staff less. Dishwashers also come with different capabilities. People can also use them in private homes since they take up little space.

iPhones

Apple Inc has made a name for itself in the electronics industry. One of the company’s best-known products is the iPhone. The iPhone is a Smartphone that is designed by Apple Inc to run on its own operating system. The company released the first in its line in the year 2007. This product propelled the world into the Smartphone age that is currently prevailing. The gadget has several capabilities, including the standard texting and call applications

Description of the Product

The iPhone is a product that has been in the market for a considerable time now. It is a combination of the traditional phone technology with other capabilities. Some of the capabilities that he iPhone has include call and texting, a touch screen that allows users to operate the device, and a gaming technology that is based on the ability to download applications.

The touch screen allows for a virtual keyboard. The users can use this to operate the phone, a departure from the traditional manual keyboard that phones were built around. Another capability includes the hosting of a Wi-fi receiver that allows owners to surf the internet and work online in the presence of a network.

The phone has GPS navigation. This feature allows users to locate themselves and drive around without the worry of getting lost. The phone also has a clear camera that takes a number of shots and stores them in the internally constructed memory in addition to the external memory that can be removed.

With the world currently going digital and most people being fans of social media, the phone allows easy and fast internet access, thus allowing users to interact through the social networks.

Materials Selection

The Apple iPhone is a revolutionary phone with many features and capabilities. Due to the requirement to perform these functions, the phone is made up of a number of smaller pieces that work as a unit to allow the functional capacity noted above. The integrated circuits are made from different material from the processors that make the technology possible (Pyungho 2011).

Silicon is an important material in the construction of the iPhone. This material is used in the construction of the numerous small circuits that allow maximum function ability. The input and output devices in the phone are engineered with accuracy to feature some of the best in the industry. The phone has sensors that allow motion controlled gaming, with the users enjoying the ability to use applications that feature these.

There are also other sensors such as the proximity sensor. In the concept originally developed by Apple, users could easily deactivate the phone or unknowingly switch on other applications during the process of making calls. The presence of proximity sensors allows the prevention of this process. Other components include the ambient light sensor that helps save battery power and the accelerometer that allows changing of phone orientation.

Manufacturing Methods

The manufacture of the iPhone is a rigorous process. It takes the effort of over ten companies manufacturing the various components to come up with the device. Apple created the software that the phone runs on, which is also involved in the designing of the phone and some of its components.

The company, however, contracts other companies in the industry to construct and install the various components that make the phone unique (Snell 2012). Some of the parts that are made by different manufacturers to be shipped for assembly include the screen, the processors, and the video processors. Apple however markets the phone as its products in agreement with the other companies.

Life Cycle Analysis

Technology is changing at an alarming rate. Newer technology is coming up now and then. The phone industry is also in high competition with the various manufacturers being involved in tight battles. The iPhone, based on the above consideration has its lifecycle being determined by some of the prevailing economic factors. The life cycle of the phone begins with the manufacturing plant where packaging is done together with other components being packed in same containers.

The next step is the distribution of the product. The phones are distributed internationally, with the various branches in the many countries being involved in the distribution and ordering. The retailers are the eventual link to the customers. The phone will then be used until the next model is out (Macworld 2009).

Recyclability

The iPhone has a number of parts and components. These are intricately put into position to make a working gadget. The recyclability of these materials and parts is not easy. The phone is generally hard to recycle. Some of the parts that could be recycled include the screens that are made of glass and the silicon integrated circuits.

There are several limitations however to the recycling of the iPhones, which include the magnitude of the financial implications. There would have to be too many phones to be recycled. There are only a few million phones in use with these still being used.

Overall Product Appeal

The overall product appeal is good for the iPhone. In fact, the company that makes it has set a price tag that is suitable for the phone. A special reaction was also evident from consumers who anticipated the entry of the phone into the market. There were long queues of ready to buy consumers and this indicated the appeal that the phone had. In general, the appeal of the phone is good. Many of the users have expressed satisfaction of the product. They are also waiting or the next model.

References

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Coca-Cola recycles all its Olympic bottles 2012, ENDS (Environmental Data Services), Sage, London.

Döğen, A, Kaplan, E, Oksüz, Z, Serin, M, Ilkit, M & de Hoog, G 2013, ‘Dishwashers are a major source of human opportunistic yeast-like fungi in indoor environments in Mersin, Turkey’, Medical Mycology: Official Publication Of The International Society For Human And Animal Mycology, vol. 51 no. 5, pp. 493-498.

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Larson, D 2013, ‘Shoes’, Backpacker, vol. 41 no. 3, p. 54.

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Snell, J 2012, ‘iPhone 5 Takes Next Step in Smartphone Evolution’, Macworld, vol. 29 no. 12, p. 28.

Trail Running 2013, Outside, Routlege, London.

Udagawa, Y, Sekiguchi, K, Yanagi, M, Uekusa, & Naito, Y 2013, ‘Development of an Outdoor Air Cooling-Type Air-Cooled Package Air Conditioner for Data Centers’, ASHRAE Transactions, vol. 119 no. 1, pp. 1-9.

Zhang, T, Wang, S, Sun, G, Xu, L & Takaoka, D 2010, ‘Flow impact of an air conditioner to portable air cleaning’, Building & Environment, vol. 45, no. 9, pp. 2047-2056.

Zhifeng, L, Yang, G, Di, H & Bo, L 2012, ‘Dishwasher’s environmental impact analysis and improvement by addressing EUP directive in China dishwasher manufactures’, International Journal Of Environmental Technology & Management, vol. 15 no. 2, pp. 61-78.

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