Design Innovations in Plastics winner announced

The Polymer Society
29 Jun 2012

An ingenious and original solution to an everyday, practical
problem has not only won a prestigious award for a university student,
but is also now the subject of a patent application.

Jamie Mansfield, a second year student of furniture and product design
at Nottingham Trent University, has won a £1,000 prize for his
collapsible flat-pack clothes hanger as well as a placement at one of
the world’s leading polymer producers, Bayer MaterialScience, at their
headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany.

Jamie was one of 274 students who registered to enter the 2012 Design
Innovation in Plastics Award. The brief was to design a product to help
those with physical or cognitive impairments that is also appealing to
the mass market. By developing a unique, integral mechanism, Jamie
designed a plastics coat hanger with flexible arms that collapse and
spring back, allowing the user to attach clothing via the neck without
having to take the hanger from the rail or undo buttons.

One of the seven judges, Robin Kent, Managing Director of Tangram Technology, said: “I
have never seen this mechanism before in any form - let alone a coat
hanger. It works well because it offers a strong initial resistance to
movement, but once the 'break' has been made, it is then quite flexible.
It’s a good mechanism with other potential uses, particularly in safety
applications where you need something to resist movement but also be
very flexible”

Described as ‘elegant’ by another judge, James Steiner, Senior Design
Researcher PDD, the hanger has been praised for its robustness and the
fact that minimal energy was used for its manufacture and transport. It
is also ideal for travelling as it packs flat. The product, which is
produced in polypropylene sheet, also satisfies the key sustainability
criteria contained in the brief for reducing, reusing, recycling and
recovering plastics.