Product Development

Product Design and Development is a key area of my work, be it smaller shop items or larger industrial project. The process may start with consulting with you as the customer to talk about the authenticity of your idea, its market viability, protection of your concept and other key initial considerations.

From there the design and development process can begin. Hand Sketches, Computer Aided Design, traditional workshop made prototyping and modern prototyping processes such as Laser Cutting and 3D Printing can be utilised to create various prototypes as needed in the development.

Although the exact details of the process may vary, this is one example of my systems from product development:

Case Study: Retrofit Solar Panels for Street Lights

Green technology and renewable energy is an area of particular interest to me. One project that demonstrates my working process is a series of registered designs, shortlists for the Santander Innovation awards 2013 – Retrofit Solar Panels for Streetlights. This involved retro-fitting solar panels, a support structure, Enclosures and LED arrays on existing street lights with the intention of reducing carbon emissions and the cost to local government.

 

Design and Development

The concepts started out as a conversation between a director of Britsolar and myself, wherein a potential gap in the market was evident, and a design concept was in mind…

 

Initial ideas and concept sketches

Concept designs originated via sketches based on ‘organically styled’ designs for commercial and residential areas in the UK. I drew simple pencil sketches of design ideas based on shaping panels into leafs and enclosing them to be attached in series up a lamp post, and some initial CAD draw concept visualisations were also created.

 

Technical Research and Development

There were many considerations that had to be factored into the designs, which included lifespan, resistance to the elements (particularly wind), structural integrity of the lampposts, end of life, UK and worldwide irradiance levels, carbon footprint of the materials used and manufacturing process, UK feed in tariff rates, shading of surrounding structures, and micro inverters, brackets to attach the assemblies to the streetlamp, input voltage arrange of micro inverters and of course costings.

Research and development into emerging and future potential solar technology had a great influence on the design concepts. Creative aspects of the industrial design led to visually pleasing and practically functioning design concepts.

 

Second phase Consolation

Via sit down meetings with Britsolar. A series of 4 designs where finalised for development.

The initial leaf designs evolved into a solar flower sitting upon the top of the streetlight, which we named ‘Helianthus’.

-A cost effective simple Monocrystalline design named ‘Helios’

-A zip up fast to install array utilising thin film solar named ‘Pharos’

-Curved solar cell array pre-emptively designed for use with Graphene named ‘Corona’

-Louvre design to optimise the angle to the sun.

 

Further Development

Considerations and calculations were made to work out the power generation needed to offset the energy used by a streetlamp, via the total wattage of the photovoltaics used in the designs plus the implementation of upgrading the streetlamps bulbs to LED’s (a standard practise now) that feeds back into the grid, thus creating an energy negative streetlight.

All designs are modular allowing for future proofing i.e. the capacity to upgrade the panel inserts into the enclosures.

To make use of empty space to reduce winding, aerodynamic ducts where added to the centre of Helianthus design to aid stability from winding plus to add to the aesthetic of the design.

 

Design for manufacture

From there, utilising engineering CAD software these design where draw. These where used in the design registrations. Rendered images and animations where created for use in presentations.

 

Viability study and proof of concept

In conjunction with the engineering department of the University of Brighton, and full comprehensive analysis, proof of concept and business plan of this technology was draft to fully comprehend the market potential. The project was submitted to a group of MSc students wherein I acted as an external consultant. The final thesis piece was 100+ pages, giving a though breakdown of all factors regarding the development of the technology.

 

Prototyping and Production

Designs are then fully drafted into schematics have been drawn for prototyping. Details into the prototyping and production of these items are currently in a state of non-disclosure, but watch this space for updates!

2m Modular V1