Adrian Tautscher of Jaguar Land Rover has been on the Alu D&T Challenge judging panel since 2013.  We asked him to share his thoughts on past competitions and offer a few helpful suggestions for students working on their designs for this year’s Challenge.

certificate presentation to school student

Adrian Tautscher with 2015 vehicle design winner, Molly Broome

“Welcome to the Alu D&T Challenge 2016!  I hope you’re enjoying working on your designs.  I’ve been a judge for three years now, so have seen lots of entries and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

So, where should you start? The most important thing is to read the brief, and then read it again! Make sure you understand what you’re being asked to design, who it is for and what features your design needs to have.

The resources pack has seen some small detail changes this year to help steer you through the submission. A checklist has been added to help with this process, so review it regularly as you progress to ensure you stay on track and answer all parts of the design brief. I have seen entries that have fallen short, not due to a lack of good ideas, but because the brief has not been adequately covered. It can be tempting to dive into too much detail in just a few parts of the brief, particularly if it touches on your personal areas of interest. Take a look at the  examples of previous successful entries in the resource pack, these are a useful guide.

The task of keeping your submission on track is even more challenging if you are part of a team. Ensure each person in the team knows what part of the project they are delivering and meet up regularly to monitor, check and agree progress.  This is how teams work in industry, so it’s a great skill to practice.

Aluminium Jaguar Chassis

Aluminium Jaguar chassis

It’s an aluminium competition so make sure your product focuses on using aluminium as a core material. Of course, you can select other materials for key components, but your product should be based around aluminium. Previous submissions have not applied much aluminium, or seemed to add it as an afterthought once the main design idea had been developed. So think carefully about how aluminium can benefit your design and make the best use of its characteristics (e.g. lightweight, corrosion resistance, etc.) and give plenty of thought to the sustainability benefits of aluminium.

Think about how the aluminium you’re using is made and joined. Consider the aluminium product form you will use. Not just stating it is ‘aluminium’, but including the product form as sheet, extruded or another form. Refer to the resource pack and carry out your own research to understand the options. It’s fine to use a number of different product forms to make your design. Consider how the product is joined when it is assembled together; again research the options. It is about selecting the best joining method, or combinations of joining methods that meet all the demands of your product (e.g. weight, toughness, serviceability/ease of removal, etc.).

Finally, think about the 6R’s of sustainable design, and don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas and approaches. Think about where the aluminium comes from to make your product. If you have stated recycled aluminium where will you source it from and where will it be used? What will happen when the product reaches the end of its life? Will it be possible to recycle the materials into another product? Could it be refurbished and used again? Can components be removed and used in another product?  Be creative and think beyond the usual buy, use and disposal approach to products.  Watch our YouTube videos to see how Jaguar Land Rover is focusing on the 6Rs in creating our products.

The competition is a great learning opportunity, but above all, have fun designing your product. I look forward to being inspired by all of your great technology ideas and innovative designs, best of luck!