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Manufacturing research and referee-information sports instruments and devices

Manufacturing research and referee-information sports instruments and devices

It is reprinted here with permission. Ron Foxcroft, the man behind the first pealess whistle, was recently named by Referee Magazine as one of the 52 most influential referees in North American History. He has also been recognized as one of the top 30 officials who have made a difference by the National Association of Sports Officials. As a young referee, the idea to create the revolutionary pealess whistle came to Ron after falling victim to many frustrating incidents involving faulty pea-style whistles. The most embarrassing of these incidents took place at the Montreal Olympics during the Gold Medal basketball game. A player from the Yugoslavian national team elbowed a U.


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This paper reports on a descriptive scoping study that revealed these influences as critical in making effective selection decisions.

Using interview and case study methods, the study elicited the professional practices of industrial designers. The practical influence of each stakeholder on materials and manufacturing decisions is discussed. With clients excepted, under most circumstances the flow of activity is initially from designer-to-stakeholder, rather than stakeholder-to-designer.

Crucially, the paper establishes creativity in the selection of product materials and manufacturing processes as cleverly attending to stakeholder influences, and distinctly not to unconstrained freethinking or self-centred decision-making.

The paper reviews professional boundaries of responsibility and approach to materials and manufacturing, identifying industrial design as a fusion of designer-maker and design engineer perspectives.

Relevance to Design Practice — Elicitation of design practices is important on two accounts: 1 for directing revisions to educational and professional training initiatives to ensure relevance and timeliness, and 2 for helping managers to lever maximum contributions from their design staff. Citation: Pedgley, O. Influence of stakeholders on industrial design materials and manufacturing selection.

International Journal of Design, 3 1 , Copyright for this article is retained by the author, with first publication rights granted to the International Journal of Design. By virtue of their appearance in this open-access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.

Corresponding Author: pedgley metu. Owain Pedgley B. Prior to his academic career he worked for three years as a product designer in the sports equipment sector. His publications include contributions to Design Studies, Design Issues, New Design and numerous international conferences. Materials and manufacturing processes are vital in the creation of a new product. They are the physical stuff of products; the means by which design concepts are materialised and transformed from the world of the computer model to the physical world.

Material selection significantly influences the form, function and perception of a product Doordan, The most significant works here are provided by Ashby and Johnson , who fuse developments in engineering materials selection software i.

Occasionally, case studies of product design projects, such as those by Campos and Cullen and Haller , provide some insights into materials and manufacturing rationale, but such sources omit cross-comparisons between design practices and do not seek to develop theory or models of practice. Most striking is the lack of exposure given to influences from project stakeholders. Industrial design involves associations with project clients, manufacturers, vendors, users and design teams.

No reputable industrial designer works in isolation, so it is reasonable to presume that each of these stakeholders exercises some influence over the selection of product materials and manufacturing processes.

The outcomes of the research were foreseen as being principally important for strengthening the methodological foundation, content and delivery of materials and manufacturing training within industrial design degree programs. Historically, finding the right balance for such training has been a struggle Myerson, because industrial design is situated between two quite different but adjacent professions, both of which are concerned with designing and making things: the professions of design engineers and designer-makers Black, In the context of new product development NPD , design engineers are largely responsible for conceiving and realising mechanical and electronic systems within products, but their work also includes defining the engineering details of a design proposal so that it is suitable for tooling and production.

Designer-makers are artisans or craftspeople who make a living from designing and making useful objects in specialist materials of their choice.

Examples are silversmiths e. Given that design engineers and industrial designers typically work side by side in product design teams, the research also provided an opportunity to explore boundaries of professional responsibility for the subject, highlighting design management issues. They possess an overriding concern for human factors and endeavour to make new products especially attractive to people through a combination of fitness for purpose and appeal to the senses.

The two terms also avoid the awkward separation of utility and aesthetics, which is indivisible for many products e. The two gaps identified in the literature—stakeholder influences and legacies from adjacent design disciplines—were used to construct three principal research questions. Figure 1 illustrates the structure of the study, which may be broadly characterised as a descriptive study into, for and partially through design practice.

Emphasis was placed on eliciting insightful descriptions from a small number of cases, rather than broad descriptions from a large number of cases. Because the research topic was unexplored, the priority was initial definition and understanding of the topic dimensions and dynamics, which could then lead to survey-based studies to validate the results against general practices Eisenhardt, The study involved two complementary strands of investigation, carried out in parallel. The first strand sought data of a typified nature on a general level.

It involved interviews with designers to elicit their practices. The second strand sought data of a detailed nature on a documentary level, taking the form of a case study of a lengthy design project undertaken by the author.

A diary of design activity was kept to document the project. Figure 1 shows the three phases of work used to elicit design practices. Figure 1. Structure of study showing cyclic relationship between design practice, research and training. The interviews were conducted in two sets.

The first involved industrial designers working in a variety of commercial contexts for RQ The second involved a design engineer and a designer-maker, both based in academia, but with their own commercial practices for RQ3.

Representatives of the three main commercial contexts for industrial design were approached for the first set of interviews in-house designers at manufacturing companies, members of group design consultancies, freelance designers , so that a variety of perspectives could be gathered.

It was known that attracting designers to participate would be difficult and that asking for participation beyond a half day would be unreasonable. Interviews were thus chosen as the most appropriate tool for data collection, requiring minimal time commitment from the participants. A semi-structured interview technique was used in being quick and easy to administer while promoting discussion and interviewee-led responses.

Products mentioned during the interviews were approached as tangible discussion points, thereby allaying fears over the honesty of responses. Table 1 lists the interview topics and sub-topics based on elaborations of RQ and with reference to a theoretical framework of knowledge, values, and skills, this being a good fit for analysing design decision-making Norman, Table 1.

Interview topics, content analysis codes and example diary excerpts. The case study was devised to provide answers to RQ through detailed and chronologically correct documentary evidence. Because the use of own design practices as a source of research data was unusual, rigorous methods for capturing and analysing own design activity had to be developed and evaluated. The adopted data collection tool was a diary of designing. Diary entries were made at the end of each project day, giving an account of any attention paid to materials and manufacturing, and where relevant with direct reference to drawings, models and information sources.

The completed diary of designing contained entries giving a very personal account of involvement in materials and manufacturing; example entries are given in Table 1. A full methodological account of the diary has been published previously, discussing its design, testing and validity as a data collection tool Pedgley, The project chosen for the case study was the design of an acoustic guitar manufactured from polymers plastics rather than wood.

This project was noteworthy on three accounts Yin, : it would represent a valuable innovation in the product sector, it would require design advice from varied sources, and its pursuance would fulfil personal interests as a musician.

The project was carried out in an academic context with no commercial partners or imperatives. The brief identified five areas in which a successful polymer acoustic guitar could have impact. The long-term viability of wood for guitar construction is uncertain because of over-forestation and unsustainable demand driven by Far East manufacturers. Alternative materials are needed to counter supply problems with traditional tone woods.

By using lower cost materials, specifying fewer parts e. In mass production, it is not feasible for instruments to be individually customised. Instead they must be designed and manufactured to a standard construction, leading to undesirable material-based variance in sound quality in instruments. A shift to polymers, as nominally consistent materials, would plausibly lead to a reduction or elimination in sound quality variance in mass produced instruments.

Wood is susceptible to dimensional distortions when subjected to changes in temperature and humidity, which can lead to physical cracks in instruments. Polymers have potential to circumvent this problem. The use of polymers opens opportunities to create captivating instrument forms and finishes not possible with wood and not yet seen in the acoustic guitar market. Given these product innovation points, it was clear that a successful design would rely on effective materials and manufacturing choices, especially in relation to sound, appearance and mechanical structure.

The project was therefore well matched to the research questions. Furthermore, it was known that the ability of science and engineering to deliver practical advice on material selection and design for a polymer acoustic guitar was poor Norman, Thus, the project would very likely reveal something about alternative designerly ways of knowing, learning about, and applying materials and manufacturing processes Cross, The analysis of the interview data commenced with verbatim transcriptions of the audio recordings.

Each transcript was then manually processed according to the hierarchical content analysis procedure outlined in Table 2 Krippendorff, ; Yin, Entries from the design diary underwent the same procedure. Table 1 sets out the content analysis codes. For transcribed sentences where no pre-defined code fitted, but the content seemed relevant, new emergent codes were defined.

The encoding was therefore made from a developed theoretical position. Work on the design and development of a new product is usually motivated or commissioned by a client or company seeking to make improvements to an existing product, or to move into a new product sector.

The guitar project was carried out in an academic context without a client, so the results presented in this section are derived only from the interviews. Interviewees reported keeping within a target product price-point to be a crucial matter in materials and manufacturing selection. However, they stressed that low manufacturing costs should be as a consequence of an elegant design proposal, rather than a dominant driver itself.

Designers stated that in general they specify the use of the least expensive materials that exhibit most of the properties they seek. It was reported that for some redesign projects, the target price-point could be so tight that simply opting for a slightly higher grade of material incurs an unacceptable cost. Often a design brief will contain an emphasis to opt for one material or manufacturing process rather than another.

Clients commonly expect designers to challenge conventional choices of materials and manufacturing, where a clear product or business gain can be identified. Table 3 reports on how different emphases impact on the selection of materials and manufacturing processes. A wide variety of products and materials illustrates the points raised by interviewees. Table 3. Impact of design brief emphasis on selection of materials and manufacturing processes.

Image permissions and credits listed in the acknowledgements. The use of signature forms, details, interactions, colour schemes and so forth typically upholds a company brand, such that a Flymo lawnmower has a distinguishable product language from a Hayter, and thus a different appeal. This strategic use of materials has similarities to the differentiation of products in hierarchical and niche markets.

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