Product Design Shorts: flaming windmills cat robots #ILookLikeAnEngineer and more

Written By: Cat McClintock
  • 8/29/2016

A batch of fresh product design stories, just for you

An Approach “Not Easily Replicated by Competitors”

Transit packaging, those pallets, crates, and boxes that carry products from factory to market, comes with some engineering challenges that are familiar to most of us. Product has to be strong and available in a variety of configurations, as you might expect. But at the same time, it should be cost effective and environmentally friendly.

 PTC partner, Concurrent Engineering, recently gave us an inside look into the industry in a profile video of its customer Nicklin Transit Packaging. While most companies in the transit packaging sector remain low tech, Nicklin’s team has gone all in with 3D CAD, including parametric and direct modeling, simulation tools, and calculation software.

“What our approach in terms of design … helps us do is bring something innovative to the market that’s not easily replicated by our competitors,” says Danny Harrison, business development manager at Nicklin.

 Watch the video here:


Wind, Meet Fire

If you’ve ever traveled on long trips you’ve seen rotating blades in action on hilltops and windy prairies. Dotting the countryside, these machines look slightly sci-fi but serve a real purpose: wind power lowers energy costs and might, just might, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Yes, wind is cheap, clean, and renewable. But it hasn’t been without its challenges. Like being lit, on fire.

 According to a recent report, about a dozen turbines catch fire somewhere in the world every year. It turns out these“small metal buckets of lubricating oil on top of a large metal stick” are frequently struck by lightning. Mechanical and electrical malfunctions can also send sparks flying.

 While we hope this never happens to your products, burning windmills have become a bit of a fascination on YouTube. Here’s a recent example from India. Onlookers said, “It’s as if it’s trying to write our names.”

 Watch it here: 


What Does an Engineer Look Like?

If you answered “Brad Pitt” you’re really funny…and probably delusional. Last year a campaign was launched after a software engineer featured in a recruitment ad caused a cavalcade of nasty, sexist comments and remarks.

 To break the stereotype about the industry (that went beyond software engineering to include women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the engineer, Isis Anchelee, started a hashtag campaign on social media called #ILookLikeAnEngineer. According to the Guardian, “after clocking up more than 75,000 tweets and spreading to more than 50 countries, the hashtag has raised the important issue of the prejudice faced by female engineers and people working in STEM more widely.”

 Here’s her original post announcing the campaign. It’s stunning, sad, but uplifting in how many tweets and pics were used as part of the campaign.

  I Look Like an Engineer ad

The ad that started it all. Source: Isis Anchalee

Gen Z Designs: a Robot Cat

If you’re not familiar with DoD STARBASE, the organization “focuses on elementary students, primarily fifth graders. The goal is to motivate them to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as they continue their education.”

We are down with that. So, when we were on Twitter last week we were delighted to see “product” shots of projects Starbase kids (who were learning how to use Creo) were working on.

 They were asked if they could make anything in Creo, what would it be? One of our favorites: the robot cat. “It would be cool and act like a normal cat. You wouldn’t have to feed it or give it water.” Truer words never spoken.


 Robot Kitty

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About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.