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James Dyson Foundation: Corrugated multi trip packaging

Matt Dobson: Last Updated 6th June 2022
Posted In: Case Studies xx 31179

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”.

Quick Reference / Contents

01: About the James Dyson Foundation

Inspiring young people to study engineering

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.

02: The Challenge

Challenges JDF were facing

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.

03: The Brief

Main objectives of the design process

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.

JDF design process box
The design process box was enhanced with on brand print to help engage the recipients

04: The Solution

The packaging GWP proposed

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.

05: Additional Considerations

Other crucial points to consider

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.

James Dyson Foundation packaging
The finished pack managed to eliminate foam, whilst also allowing for easy access to the contents in the correct order

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.

06: Feedback / Starpack Awards

Recognition of the packs success

With both GWP and Dyson delighted with the outcome, it was decided to enter the Engineering Box packaging into the 2017 Starpack Awards.

David Mason, Bill Chapman, Mike Poynter, Jay Daggar and Matt Dobson of GWP collect the 2018 Starpack sustainability Award
Members of the GWP team collect the Starpack "Packaging Sustainability" award at the 2018 event.

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, commented;

Working on a brief like this is really satisfying as it allows you be creative whilst focusing on solving a real and specific problem. The existing design, whilst OK, left so much potential for improvement, and taking a real design led approach to producing this resulted in a wide range of benefits for the Foundation. We’re delighted that pack has been recognised by our industry peers with the Starpack Awards success.

Danya Walker, Executive at the James Dyson Foundation, also said;

Our education packs are very popular with teachers and we have hundreds constantly in circulation going out on loan to schools and then being returned. We’re very pleased with the redesign that GWP did for us, as well as the cost reduction they were able to achieve. We’re also delighted the pack is getting the recognition it deserves.

Find Out More

Further information on GWP and Haberdashery

For further information about GWP Group’s success at the Starpack Awards, plus details on The James Dyson Foundation, please visit the news section of our website.

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About the Author

Matt Dobson

Marketing Manager | GWP Group

Matt has worked in the packaging industry for approximately 9 years, having joined GWP Group as Marketing Executive in 2012. [Read full bio…]

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