Dragos Ciordas, Design Manager, talks about the careful balance between creativity, intelligence, and experience to create considerate design.
What is design?
Design consists of the several processes required to find the most fit-for-purpose solution for a task. It’s the process of finding the best way forward among a world of possible routes, while balancing the safety, needs, and resources of the end user.
We regularly encounter design in daily life: whether that’s which route to take home, what to eat for dinner, or where to go on holiday. These are all actions where the same steps and key design questions show up:
- what do I want?
- what do I need?
- what do I know?
- what resources do I have to do it?
Engineering design is no different. Not unlike these other daily problems, a balanced approach is needed to achieve a practical result.
Creativity allows a step back to think of a different way forward, but can also end up with you commuting to work in a hot air balloon.
Intelligence allows you to make a strategic decision for the future but may end up with you building some lasagne-making gizmo before you can have your dinner!
Experience can take uncertainty out of a decision but may take you back to the same holiday resort for the next five years.
Only by balancing these three aspects can you achieve a considerate design solution that can improve on the past, while allowing you to further learn what you can do in the future.
Considerate design should always give you a more efficient solution, whether that takes the form of faster production, less capital expenditure, less operational expenditure or reduced downtime. This requires a solid understanding of the fundamental principles governing the world around us – technical intelligence. Together with that, decades of combined practical experience can give you insight into what a certain solution would actually work and look like off-screen. It can also give you a creative boost by allowing you to take part of a solution from a different problem and integrate it into a new one.
This just-in-time (JIT) industry is dominated by parallel workflows, with a constant drive to get other cogs moving together with yours as soon as possible. The design approach allows this, by aiming to answer all the questions which make up a solution from the first concept, allowing the rest of the work to start soon after.
Rather than a continuous cycle of think/make/try until the right solution is found, creativity and intelligence must be balanced with the wealth of experience around us to try and form the correct solution the first time. This avoids wasting resources and time on patch-work, in the best case, or starting from scratch, in the worst.
It also allows a clear solution to be formed in advance, enabling the user and all other stakeholders to review the ‘what’, ‘when’, and ‘how much’ before cutting metal. By integrating safety and applicable regulations from the very start, its impact on cost and feasibility can be greatly mitigated. This benefits everybody, as it reduces its perception of being a trade-off, and can instead just be a normal part of everyday work like it should.
ABOUT DRB GROUP
For more than 40 years, we’ve been a trusted partner to production, processing, and heavy industrial customers in the North West. Our 120-strong team support maintenance, project, and operational teams to develop bespoke solutions for new and existing systems to keep their critical plant running efficiently. We do this with technical intelligence and practical experience. We design, manufacture, and build an extensive range of systems and components from machines that safely and swiftly uncouple train wheels from their axles, to refurbishing and adapting complex food packaging conveyor systems, all from our 6.5-acre factory in North Wales.