Product design showcase

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Faster than Phelps

Tackling the ocean waves like Flipper is an exciting possibility with the Lunocet – a 15-inch high-performance monofin, capable of propelling its wearer at high speeds with dolphin-like leaps.

Mimicking the natural power and efficiency of the dolphin fluke stroke, the design is the result of seven-years of R&D from inventor Ted Ciamillo of Ciamillo Components. The carbon fibre hydrofoils and aluminium and titanium footplate were developed at the designer’s Virginia home, which even hosts a one million gallon testing lagoon.

“I can think of something in the morning and have it made on site this afternoon!” boasts Ted. This is made possible with a product development workflow which includes Solid Edge for design and engineering and seven CNC machines for prototyping. Having studied the natural movement of whales and dolphins, with the help of experts, the custom-fitted fins provide more power on the up-stroke than conventional mono-fins. And with attainable speeds of over eight miles an hour, eclipsing Michael Phelps in a straight race would be a breeze.

Keep an eye out for more from Ciamillo Components, as Ted gets ready for his next project: Crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a pedal powered submarine he’s designed.


The monofin mimics the natural power and efficiency of the dolphin fluke stroke

Seeing sounds

Based on its legendary reference speaker range, the 800 Series and with looks to die for, B&W’s Zeppelin is not your run of the mill ipod dock

An iPod dock that sounds as good as it looks is a rare thing in a world of cheap plastics and tinny-sounding speakers, yet the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin manages to combine hi-end audio with stunning looks.

B&W's Zeppelin

Native used Rhinoceros 4.0 for the surface modelling and generating the externals, while the heart of the product was engineered by B&W using I-DEAS

Working with design specialist, Native, the elliptical shaped speaker system is set to be a design classic having already featured in design awards around the world. The team used Rhinoceros 4.0 for the surface modelling and generating the externals, while the heart of the product was engineered by B&W using I-DEAS.

Morten Warren, principal at Native describes how the Zeppelin shape was created to accommodate its function, “Its large bass unit sits in the centre, out from which the form tapers towards the ends, where the smaller mid-range and tweeter drive units are accommodated. Left and right channels are kept apart for the best possible stereo effect.

“The elliptical form has a visual purity and serves both to perform acoustically and to disguise its true physical volume, enabling it to appear to float gracefully wherever it is placed.”

Home on the range

Having worked on hundreds of products with BT during their 17 year relationship the team at TheAlloy is used to coming up with designs that maximise functionality without compromising form, and this has never been more true than with the new Home Hub from BT.

BT Home Hub

BT’s iconicHome Hub features a curved form, high-gloss black finish with blue LED lights and no external antennae

As wireless access becomes a necessity, even at home, products have to offer the right balance of aesthetics without limiting the improved technology contained within. Company chairman Gus Desbarats found that with the new Home Hub preserving functionality was a challenge.

“In terms of what the device was going to do, range was a big issue,” says Gus, “From a risk perspective the shape and the board configuration of the design can have a big impact on range, so if you don’t build that in early on in the process then there’s a big risk that you’re going to create something really cool, but compromises on performance.

“Our model is on a curve, it looks a bit like a radar dome, but it doesn’t help with performance, it’s purely visual. It’s also a bit of a risk as the board is flat and the danger is that if you don’t get it right (and if you’re not working early on in 3D to get it right) the problem ends up growing. Our project leader Nina Warburton and the team worked out how much of a curve we could get and what it would look like and we ended up with this drift that creates a really sexy external presentation.”


TheAlloy uses NX to help ensure designs are fit for function as they progress down the product development process

Gus believes that in the time-centred world of product design a design that offers functionality straight up to the point of manufacturing is the way to get ahead. “A lot of the conversation is that the product designers do the pretty bits and the engineers do the development bits but that’s very obsolete; other people are still doing the engineering, but we’re not shipping them surfaces, we’re shipping them solids.”

“The engineers can pick up our data and run with it: Our deliverable isn’t visual, it’s solid shells, but with no internal detailing. People doing the internals can just pick up what we send them and add ribs and bosses to that data. It’s really how designers and engineers should collaborate, but it’s surprising how rarely it happens.”

TheAlloy uses Siemens’ NX for the core solid modelling, and Cinema4D to produce renderings and animations.

Stephen Holmes looks at some of the most innovative new consumer products to hit the market

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Heavy metal

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Rocking all over the world

Rock crushers have never been the most glamorous of heavy industrial machinery, but this doesn’t stop them from being inanely practical work horses that do exactly what the name says: crush rock.

At its heart the Terex Pegson Maxtrak 1000 has an Automax cone crusher complete with hydraulic settings, unblocking system and, curiously, a ‘tramp release’. Its crushing action produces high quality aggregate and sub-base materials, and in doing so has a lot of components under stress.

Terex Pegson Maxtrak 1000

Terex Pegson is the world’s leading manufacturer of mobile crushing plant equipment and it sells more tracked crushers in its size range than any other manufacturer

Pro/Engineer is the software behind the design “We have a lot of parts in the assemblies and a lot of complex geometry, it’s ideal for that sort of thing,” says Carl Adams of Terex Pegson. “We’ve got a number of large assemblies and parts that it’s good for handling from the top level down.


“We use the integrated Pro/Mechanica quite a lot as part of Pro/Engineer. We take models back and forward from Pro/Mechanica and manipulate them doing runs, and for static analysis. That’s another function that we’re particularly interested in. We look at it from the general form of stress analysis and displacements.” All understandable, considering the vast loads and differing variables of rocks being fed into it and spat out the other side.

Pulling power

Encountering an oncoming tractor down a country lane is the stuff of nightmares for most motorists, and the slick silhouette and aggressive lines of this monster concept would only heighten that fear.

As a study in digital design, the JCB 7000 series Fastrac is a polished example of seamless concept realisation. Built up from original sketchwork from JCB’s in-house design team, it was swiftly drawn up into 3D using Alias.

JCB 7000 series Fastrac

The 7000 series Fastracs form a new generation of advanced and highly-productive power units for farmers and contractors wanting the ultimate in productivity, comfort and safety

Giving them control over exterior and interior surfacing from the first pass through to production, the software not only proved the engineering team’s claims of space distribution, but also allowed for renderings for design review.

For full sign-off, the model was taken into Showcase to create photo realistic fly-by animations. On achieving design approval, the data set was used to cut pre-production tools for prototype components such as the roof mouldings.

Testing allowed modifications to be quickly built back into the Alias model, and the process moved into Unigraphics to build the fully parameterised master model with the raw sheet data.
Nigel Chell from JC Bamford, says, “By virtue of industrial design having the right tools, the vehicle’s original styling intent was maintained throughout the development process from initial artwork to product launch.”

Red devil

In the red corner, weighing in at eight tons, it’s ‘The Mover from Munich’, the Linde 396 series forklift.

Linde 396 series forklift

‘The Mover from Munich’, the Linde 396 series forklift

Showcasing a series of significant design improvements, increasing the view through the mast by nearly 20 per cent, and introducing a variable suspension system that reduces body vibrations, the new design has improved the comfort and safety of the operator greatly.

Mark Stent, project manager at the UK arm of Linde Material Handlings is proud that the design team makes full use of the technologies they have to hand. “In today’s fast design and manufacturing world it would be virtually impossible to produce the designs that we do, to the timescales required, without the aid of a 3D modeling package,” he says.

His team rely on Siemens NX5. “You can then manipulate your view of the truck from any angle or position; thus allowing you to hide parts, make parts transparent and move parts around. All this is essential in order for us to properly design position and check clearances between components,” Stent continues, adding that they benefit greatly from the ability to produce renderings, conduct FEA’s and take parts straight to CAM from their software.

Stephen Holmes takes a look at some motorised heavyweights

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