What does a typical work week look like for you?
It varies day to day, week to week and month to month, depending on the projects we’re currently working on, and their individual stages of development.
I get into the office for 8am, have a quick chat with colleagues, grab a coffee, and skim through emails for important or urgent tasks that have been sent overnight. I then write / update my to do list and review it with the Design Manager to verify workloads etc. I’d say roughly 20% of the time is the glamorised designing process that most people think of, but 80% of the time, it’s the detailed and thorough engineering that needs to be done to get solutions to work.
I could be sketching quick free hand visuals of covers, or internal mechanisms, producing detailed 3D CAD models, discussing or reviewing current project challenges with the internal team or externally with the client. I could be populating a Bill of Materials, drafting engineering drawings, creating project case studies, supporting another colleague with certain design challenges, rendering visuals for design concepts, prototyping various elements of a design, assembling first off designs, testing prototypes, writing various reports, etc!
What is your favourite part of the design process?
Phase 1 – Concept Design. It’s a chance to design and develop something new, something that people have never seen before, and to wow them. It’s a great time to communicate with everyone that’s involved in the design, from clients, to users, to manufacturers, as well as really understand the user needs, develop a set of design requirements, and then execute these requirements to ensure they meet the needs of the project.
Where do you typically find inspiration?
Everywhere I go, I see design inspiration. It helps that I’ve worked on a number of projects over the years. The more you design things, the more you look at the products around you and wonder how they’ve been made, what the design process must’ve been to develop something and question why they designed it like that, and not like this?
I might, for example, walk through a doorway, see the latch mechanism and be curious of how it works, or see an interior car part and wonder about its complex injection moulded manufacturing features.
I’d say I get most of my inspiration through watching videos on Youtube (some great channels listed below), or scrolling through Behance, and looking at what other companies or talented industrial designers have produced.
Here’s a good list of YouTube Channels for Industrial Designers and Engineers:
AVE, Brick Experiment Channel, CNC Kitchen, ClickSpring, Design Prototype Test, Design Theory, Duke Doks, EMF, Engineerguy, iFixit, I like to Make Stuff, JerryRig Everything, Munro Live, New Mind, Objectivitiy, One Army, Physics Anonymous, Real Engineering, Robert Cowan, Scott Robertson, Smarter Everyday, Stuff Made Here, TED, TheSketchMonkey, This Old Tony, Tom Stanton, Veritasium, Practical Engineering, etc.
What, do you feel, are the current top industry trends in the medical device space?
I’m really interested in the transition from a Linear (take, make, waste) Economy, to a Circular Economy, with the aim to eliminating waste and understanding that we need to collectively change our mindset from ‘less destruction’ to ‘more regeneration’.
I believe that plastics are one of the greatest innovations in modern history, they have impacted people’s lives so significantly however, I also believe that we should be designing plastics respectively and that if plastics are used in a product, the manufacturer has a fully scoped life cycle assessment, otherwise they are being negligent of the potential pollution that their product may result in, with significant long term effects, not just environmentally, but via reputation, and potential future financial fees too.
I also believe that ISO standards are great, but they should be free to access for people all over the world. They’ve been constructed by volunteers who are experts in their respective fields to help other people develop products or services to a particular level of quality. I believe that if this is to be opened up to all, our next and greatest inventors could come from the most remarkable backgrounds.
What would you say to someone hoping to become a Design Development Engineer?
Don’t be under the impression that when you finish your education, all learning will stop. Even when you think you might know everything, you really, really do not (Dunning-Kruger). Throw yourself in at the deep end every now and then. Push yourself to create more, do more, fail more. Don’t be afraid by failure, and if you do fail, ensure that you don’t make the same mistake again. Always improve your knowledge toolset. Engineering is all about walking the fine line between under and over engineered solutions, don’t stop when you design something and it works out of the gate, push it further, test it to death, make it fail, learn how it fails, make it more robust, etc.
Please get in touch to find out more about working with Will and the team at HD to solve your product and medical device design, development and engineering challenges.