Creative as students invade Elmia

There’s something of a creative chaos during the fair! Aspiring masters of engineering from Linköping University, LiU, are here to develop new product ideas – and they have the exhibitors to help them. It is all set up as a competition, but the basic idea is to bring students and companies together.

“This is really important,” says Kerstin Johansen of LiU.

Engineering students from the design and product development programme at LiU’s Institute of Technology have one day to develop a brand new product idea, which must meet certain criteria. One requirement is that the product material has to be a polymer.

The students compete in groups, and there have been two teams at the fair on each day. Thursday’s task was to develop a ceiling lamp.

“It’s stressful, but now we’ve decided roughly what it’s going to look like,” says Cecilia Björsell, one of the students.

Her group has designed an exciting lamp that looks like a flower, and the petals can be bent up or down to let out more or less light. The group has discussed the polymer material with various companies, including Elasto where Ulf Ericsson is Key Account Manager. He is very positive to the students’ participation.

“Designers and soon-to-be designers are an important target group for us,” he says.

Kerstin Johansen, doctor of engineering and lecturer in production engineering/wood technique, is carefully following her students’ work and says she is pleasantly surprised about how well the scheme has gone.

“The students are delighted, and it’s important for them to have contact with different companies, as it gives them an idea of what’s expected when they graduate. Also, for the companies it’s a chance to meet today’s students and see how they work. It’s interesting to see how students today place demands on environmentally friendly materials, traceability, energy efficiency and ergonomics, and this will of course eventually affect industry as well,” she explains.

Kerstin Johansen, LiU