A student from Teesside university has claimed top prize in the 2022 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition, after designing a re-usable bedpan.
Established in 1985, DIP, a UK initiative supported by The Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining (IOM3), The Worshipful Company of Horners and headline sponsored by polymers manufacturer, Covestro, is the longest-running plastics design competition of its kind for university undergraduates in the UK and Ireland.
This year, students were asked to design a product made primarily of plastics for the healthcare sector, which could be used in demanding applications, but which also exploited the longevity of plastics.
Product design undergraduate, Zara King, designed EasyMode, a re-usable bedpan for a pulp liner to fit inside, providing a safe and comfortable base for people to use in any healthcare setting. The bedpan is moulded with a wide base so that it sits comfortably into the bed and presses down into the mattress, and when the patient is rolled off, it doesn’t tip.
She used reaction injection moulding to create her product, which is made from polyurethane. She designed it after hearing first-hand from a nurse about the awkwardness of using existing bedpans, and the distress it often causes.
Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said Zara was a 'worthy winner' who had tackled a sensitive issue and come up with a product which was already fit to go to market.
“She impressed the judges with her methodical approach to solving a major problem in the NHS,” he said. “Her holistic approach incorporated both user and patient issues, to come up with a solution which met both needs. She gave due consideration to sustainability, manufacturing and the materials used and has registered this product as her intellectual property, so that it is market ready, should she want to take it forward.”
Zara said: “Since entering this competition, I have enjoyed every moment, especially the thought of helping people with a product I’ve designed. Healthcare is definitely a field I’d like to stay involved in.”