Easy to Use Transit Pack.
Designing and manufacturing packaging to help inspire future generations of engineers
When the James Dyson Foundation approached GWP to help with a packaging requirement for their schools and education programme, it was clear from the beginning the project had the potential to be extremely successful.
The James Dyson Foundation’s main aim is to encourage future engineers and designers to avoid a shortage of skills in the future. This is something that GWP itself has championed in working with local colleges and apprentices.
As a result, a brief was created to design and manufacture a corrugated, multi trip packaging solution for The Foundations “student boxes”.
This also opened up the potential for considerable innovation (another synergy between the two companies), realised through providing a fully recyclable transit solution that protected valuable / fragile items over multiple journeys, was fully reusable, aided logical packing and un-packing with lightweight internal fittings and didn’t use foam, EPS etc.
It also had to reflect the James Dyson Foundation (and parent company’s) “engineering ethos”.
About the James Dyson Foundation
The James Dyson Foundation was originally setup in 2002 to promote and support design and engineering education.
Now operating in the UK, US and Japan, The Foundation’s aim is to inspire young people to study engineering and become engineers by encouraging students to think differently and to not be afraid of making mistakes.
As such, The Foundation supports engineering education in schools and universities, as well as medical and scientific research in partnership with charities. It achieves this by funding different resources which aim to get students thinking like engineers, and challenging them to put their science and maths skills to practical use.
The Foundation also supports the work of young designers through the James Dyson Award.
This is an international design award that “celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers”. The competition is run in twenty countries, is open to recent graduates in product design, industrial design, and engineering courses.
The James Dyson Foundation itself highlights that using current trends, by the time today’s primary school children are of working age the UK will need more than 2 million additional engineers.
However, teaching an engaging D&T lesson at a primary level can be challenging and even overwhelming for non-specialist teachers.
As a result, The James Dyson Foundation developed “the Design Process Box” to challenge students to find inspiration in everyday objects and develop ideas.
Effectively, the resource helps teachers nurture the skills needed for the next generation of engineers, providing a product analysis and design kit to aid the teaching of engineering. It also has links to literacy, numeracy and enterprise.
The kits include a Dyson Air Multiplier fan as a case study, a Teacher’s pack with lesson plans and instructions, plus posters for the classroom.
The Box and training materials are available to classrooms completely free of charge. The Box is loaned to a school for 6 weeks at a time. It’s ideally suited for primary students but can be adapted for any classroom.
Despite the scheme running successfully for a number of years, it was identified that the packaging used for delivering and returning the kits was heavy, inefficient in terms of material (and costs), and not as user-friendly as it could be.
Due to this, the brief was to create a reusable, multi trip packaging solution that allowed the James Dyson Foundation to supply the kit and supporting literature to schools and colleges nationwide via courier.
However, this raised 2 major design considerations.
Firstly, as the pack was to be used by schools, the ease of un-packing and re-packing was of paramount importance. Obvious product locations and keeping specific items separated were paramount in order to ensure kits were shipped & returned to the Foundation in full without elements being overlooked.
Secondly, the pack had to provide adequate protection in transit for highly fragile and expensive items, whilst also keeping the volumetric size of the pack to a minimum (thereby avoiding excessive delivery costs).
Further considerations included that, being multi-use, the longevity of the pack was also important. However, in keeping with their brand values, only recyclable materials could be used, ruling out foams or EPS etc. Appropriate branding and graphics were also required to further enhance the projects’ aims and the the James Dyson Foundations’ ethos.
Cost considerations also meant that material use had to be as efficient as possible, that minimal production processes were required and the pack was easy to assemble.
The final pack satisfied all elements of the brief by taking an engineering approach that was truly in-keeping with the whole purpose of the educational packs.
Using recyclable EB and B flute material throughout, simple in line gluing techniques ensured not only easy and fast assembly of the pack (plus efficient manufacture), but also meant all components were separated during transit as well as being suspended to avoid contact with delicate parts.
This not only offered the protection required (with the pack passing repeated real-life transit tests), but also that elements are seen and removed in sequential order. This makes the pack incredibly easy to use for the schools / students, whilst clearly highlighting any missing elements before return shipping.
The pack also out-performed its predecessor, being within budget and reducing costs by 40%.
The previous version featured layered and glued corrugated material for the internal fitting, which allowed the redesigned version to reduce assembly times by 80% and material usage by 60% too.
Plus, by enabling the use of interlocking fittings, volumetric size was reduced by 5%, without affecting transit performance or longevity.
Finally, the use of EB flute allowed for striking flexographic branding whilst maintaining structural integrity.
As already detailed, The James Dyson Foundation engages the next generation of engineers by working with schools and colleges throughout the UK. By sending students a real life product to dismantle and reassemble, it encourages the development of engineering processes, teamwork and analytical thinking.
However, this engineering focus presented a unique opportunity in terms of how the pack was presented and constructed.
Taking an engineering approach, new internal fittings were created using simple in line glue techniques. The new interlocking fitting not only ensured items were easy to un-pack and re-pack, but ensured all components were separated during transit whilst also keeping the volumetric size to a minimum (actually being reduced).
Whilst this realised significant cost savings, the pack now reflects the engineering ethos and overarching purpose of educational pack. In effect, it is an engineered solution to facilitate an engineering and education focused project.
Feedback / Starpack Awards
With both GWP and Dyson delighted with the outcome, it was decided to enter the Engineering Box packaging into the 2017 Starpack Awards.
Competing for the prize in the B2B Industrial, Transit and Distribution category, the pack was exceptionally successful – winning a Gold Award, Greenstar Sustainability accolade and the coveted “Best in Show” overall prize.
Mike Poynter | Head of Design at GWP Packaging
Danya Walker | Executive at the James Dyson Foundation
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