Design & Technology
Product analysis and design
Successful product design depends on asking the right questions about the proposed product. It is influenced by external factors such as what consumers want or need and features made possible by new materials or technologies.
The client employs the designer and sets the brief for the designer to work to. The client decides whether the product can go into production.
The designer plans the design of the product, and presents product ideas and prototypes [protoype: A full size working model of a design used for testing, development and evaluation. ] to the client. The designer needs to understand the market into which the product is to be sold.
The manufacturer advises on the planning of manufacture. This means choosing the most effective method of production and the best organisation of equipment and people. The manufacturer also decides the best way to quality control the production process.
The user is the person who the product is designed for. The product should meet their needs. Users want good quality products at a price they can afford.
Product design analysis means studying how well a product does its job. This involves answering the following questions
|Shape||Shape can be 2D or 3D.|
|Form||Form is 3D - it is a solid object made up of shapes joined together.|
|Colour||Colour is used to make a product more interesting and attractive.|
|Texture||Texture is used to make an object more interesting. Surfaces are made 3D by the use of grooves, patterns and applying other materials such as fabrics.|
|Decoration||Decoration may be achieved by the use of different colours, shapes or materials. A decoration may be pasted onto a product, or be part of the material itself.|
A designer must make sure products meet the product specification. The product specification should be directly influenced by the analysis of research. This will ensure quality of design and that the end product is fit for purpose.
A specification is a statement that tells the designer exactly what the product has to do and what the design requirements are. A specification should include:
Anthropometrics is the study of the sizes of people in relation to products. For example, chairs used in schools need to be suitable for the average size of pupils in the schools.
Ergonomics is the relationship between people and the products which they use. Anthropometric data is used to help design products to meet ergonomic needs. Ergonomics also considers the force a person can apply, for example when using a tin opener, or the pedals of a car.
Working drawings contain all the information needed to make the design, including:
Working drawings are normally done as orthographic projections.
Orthographic drawings usually consist of a front view, a side view and a plan [plan: Scale drawing showing an object as seen from directly above. ], but more views may be shown for complex objects with lots of detail. A drawing board and parallel motion or T-square is used to project one view from another.
Orthographic drawing may be done using first angle projection or third angle projection.
An orthographic projection of the shape on the right is shown below.
Some products may need a section drawing to give extra structural information, or an assembly drawing to show how parts fit together.Sectional drawing
Designers present their ideas to the user, client and manufacturer as models, mock-ups and prototypes.
Model making can be a very quick and cheap method of producing a prototype. Suitable materials include paper, card, foam board, styrofoam™, wire and 3mm MDF.
Users, clients and manufacturers use models to evaluate ideas and decide how well they meet their needs and how best to make it. Models are usually 3D but they can also be 2D drawings or CAD [CAD: Stands for Computer-Aided Design - the use of computers to assist in any of the phases of product design. ] simulations.
CAD can be used when modelling and offers the following advantages:
Rapid prototyping is used to manufacture prototypes and small numbers of production quality parts. Plastics, metals, ceramics and paper can all be used.
Rapid prototyping is faster and cheaper than traditional prototyping methods, but the machines are expensive and it is only economical for short production runs.
Design ideas should be evaluated to make sure they meet product specification and are of a good quality. Evaluation can also check whether designs need to be changed to make them simpler to manufacture or enable them to be manufactured in higher quantities. To evaluate a design, consider:
There are two aspects to quality control:
A product can be well-designed but poorly made, or well-made but poorly designed. This would mean it fails to meet the needs of the user.
A high quality product will: