Design technology

  • Created by: JodieB01
  • Created on: 02-01-17 13:25


Ergonomics = the study of people in relation to their working environment, in order to maximise efficiency. 

Ergonomic features

  • SHAPE - the product may have rounded corners to aid safety 
  • TEXTURE - the product may have a ribbed or rubber grip to prevent slipping from your hand
  • COLOUR - the colour of a product may have a significant purpose; eg, components under a cars bonnet are colour coded for identification and safety purposes
  • WEIGHT AND SIZE - if a product needs to be moved or lifted it would need to be manufactured specifically to a certain size and weight.
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Evaluating sustainability

Plastics and metals use the earth's resources in their production. If these materials are not reused or recycled, the planet will run out of them. 

A material is said to be sustainable if it can be replaced continuously, or if it can be recycled or resused indefinitley.

In the life cycle of a product, the materials need to be:

  • harversted from forests or extracted from the ground
  • transported to place of processing
  • transportd to place of manufacture
  • transported to the customer
  • transported to place of disposal, reuse or recycle. 

Each of these stages can use huge amounts of energy, causing pollution. 

One way to reduce the consumption of energy is to process the materials and manufacture the products close to the source of the material. 

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other sustainability issues....

Composite materials are produced by mixing together two or more materials,

  • Concrete - can be crushed and used as gravel in new roads, ore aggregate in new concrete
  • Car tyres - can be reused by re-treading them; they can also be reused by shredding them to make floor surfaces.


  • Are the materials from sustainable sources?
  • What happens to the materials in the product at the end of its life?
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Law of recycling

End of life vehicle directive (ELVD)

  • restricts the use of toxic materials in new vehicles
  • all plastic parts have to be labelled to aid recycling
  • manufacturers have to publish information about how to dismantle the vehicle 

Waste electrical and electronic equipment directive (WEEE)

  • WEEE collection points are used and manufactures have to arrange collection from these points
  • designers have to make te products eay to dismantle, reuse and recycle.

Energy labelling directive

  • All electrical items have a label on them describing their energy efficiency ratings
  • This encourages consumers to make choices that are better for the environment 
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Smart materials can be used to make products easier to take apart at the end of their lives

By replacing screws, rivets and clips with fastenings made from smart materials, a product can be designed to 'fall apart', with different materials releasing at specific temperatures 

This process is known as active disassembly.


Designers and manufacturers have to work together to produce new uses for new materials; examples of this include:

  • plastic bottles being used to make clothing (fleeces)
  • Old car tyres ground up and re-bonded to make flooring for children's playgrounds 
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The 6 R's

The 6 R's are words which describe actions which can be taken to reduce the environmental impact on products. 

They are:

  • reduce
  • recycle
  • reuse
  • refuse
  • rethink
  • repair.
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Reduce and Recycle


Manufacturers are looking to design products that:

  • have fewer materials in the product
  • take less energy to manufacture
  • need less packaging to transport


Products are converted back to their basic materials and remade into new products:

  • glass is crushed, melted and made into new bottles
  • aluminium cans are melted down to make new products
  • plastic bottles are recycled into drainage pipes and clothing
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Reuse and Refuse


Designers need to consider how a product may be dismantled at the end of its life so that parts may be reused.

Consumers could sell or donate products they no longer use themselves so that someone else can use them.


The designer and manufacturer have an increasing need to think about how the consumer will react to their products; the consumer has the choice as to whether to buy a product or not. They can ask the following questions:

  • should they refuse the product because it is too inefficient?
  • should they refuse the product because the packaging creates too much waste?
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Rethink and Repair


Designers and manufacturers can make products that do the same job more efficiently. Consumers can ask questions such as:

  • Do I really need this product?
  • Can I do things differently?
  • Can this product be shared with another consumer?


It takes fewer resources to replace a part of a product than to replace the whole item.

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