Scroll down for a photo gallery of Design Competition entries!
A computer chair that adapts to a person's spine is one of the entries in the first-ever International Plastics Design Competition that will be held at the National Plastics Exposition in Chicago June 22-26.
The Embody chair, designed by Jeff Weber and the late Bill Stumpf for Herman Miller, also has a pixelated seat which moves when a person moves. The seat's three-layered construction of materials conforms to micro-movements and distributes weight evenly.
The design is aimed at overcoming problems with previous chairs used at computer workstations. "The sitter side of the computer-and-sitter interface has never been adequately addressed," Weber says. "In fact, accommodating technology at the expense of people has become the priority in creating work environments."
The materials used in Embody are helping Herman Miller reach its environmental sustainability goals of zero landfill, zero hazardous waste generation and zero VOC emissions by 2020. Embody adheres to the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) "Cradle-to-Cradle" protocol, as reported in Design News. Embody has 45-percent recycled content, is 96-percent recyclable and is PVC-free.
Replacing foam is BASF Ultraform polyacetal. In addition, the two-piece Ultramid B3EG6 30-percent glass-reinforced nylon 6 seat frame provides the structural support needed to meet seat testing, which included impact testing, and 24x7 loading requirements.
The design competition drew 41 entries, primarily from North and South America. Themes of the entries ranged from metal replacement to green. Winners will be announced at the NPE where they will be on display in an exhibit co-sponsored by Design News.
Other entries include:
Digital thermostat. A company called MileageMatrix has developed a digital rotary control valve for more accurate management of automotive cooling systems. The new approach allows a car's powertrain thermal management system to function at its optimum operating temperatures. DuPont supplied nylon for the components, which are molded by All Service Plastic Molding, a unit of Minco Tool and Mold in Dayton, OH.
Utility Cargo Box. The John Deere Horicon (WI) Works uses composite blow-molded side panels and a tailgate constructed with 15-percent glass-filled polypropylene for a utility vehicle cargo box system. The use of injection-molded exterior trim panels allows the design to be configured late in the assembly process for build-to-order requests. The molder is Camoplast and the materials' supplier is Washington Penn Plastics.
Seed Tube. A one-piece injection-molded agricultural tube developed by John Deere dispenses seeds in the ground, replacing a design that caused the seeds to bounce, resulting in variability in ground placement. A double-acting slide was necessary to allow the straight portion of the core to eject first and then a swing arm was required to allow the core to clear the cavity steel when ejecting. Cooling the tool was a major challenge. Quarter-inch water lines had to be machined into an 18-inch curved core while maintaining steel strength. Finally, the press and tool required an elaborate 10 proximity switch procedure to properly sequence while molding. The moldmaker is Contour Mold and the molder is Steinwall.