Skip to content

Product Design students celebrate achievements at Hydro Extrusions design competition

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and Hydro Aluminium UK Ltd continued their long-established collaboration by inviting BSc (Hons) Product Design students to take part in a competition to design a product that focused on aluminium extrusion. Three NTU students picked up gold and silver awards.

NTU Product Design students experiencing a tour of the Hydro facilities in Derbyshire
NTU BSc (Hons) Product Design Students experiencing a tour of Hydro’s aluminium extrusion site in Tibshelf, Derbyshire

BSc (Hons) Product Design students were challenged by Hydro Extrusions to design a commercially viable product made from an aluminium alloy and manufactured via extrusion. The brief asked students to either design a completely new product or redesign an existing product. Both had to be technically feasible, sustainability focussed and commercially viable. Three students came out on top winning two gold and one silver awards: Jake Inglis (Gold), Finn Miler (Gold), and Keely Woodhead (Silver).

During the competition, students were challenged to communicate the potential benefit of their product whilst accounting for the sustainable values of their designed solution and its environmental impact. Critically, any product had to demonstrate their application to sustainable design principles and balance this against aluminium’s manufacturability.

Dr Luke Siena, Lecturer in Product Design, who led the students throughout the project, said:

“Our collaboration with Hydro Aluminium UK Ltd continues to go from strength to strength and taking part in this competition provides students with a fantastic opportunity to gain insight within a real-life industrial manufacturing environment”..

Finn Miller’s gold winning submission, a modular park bench for rough sleepers.
Finn Miller’s gold winning submission, a modular park bench for rough sleepers.

“We were delighted that Hydro provided their time and expertise by arranging talks by industry experts, as well as providing a tour of their manufacturing facility. All students responded incredibly to undertaking their aluminium extrusion focussed projects and we are extremely proud of their success”

Natalie Connor Compton, Hydro UK Marketing Manager added:

“We get excited every year by the ideas NTU students have for their aluminium extruded projects and it’s very impressive to see them consider so many innovative concepts which could help us to be more sustainable and make us think about how we can use daily products in better ways to help our planet.”

“Our relationship with NTU has been developing for many years and we look forward to continuing this in the future. I’d like to congratulate all the projects entered by students in year, which were very insightful and thought-provoking. In particular well done to the three winners: Jake, Finn and Keely.”

Winners of the main awards were awarded cash prizes ranging from £100-£250 based on the quality of their submissions, the designed solutions technical viability and the marketability of the designed product.

Jake Inglis’s gold winning submission focussed on bicycle storage for homes with limited space.
Jake Inglis’s gold winning submission focussed on bicycle storage for homes with limited space.

Speaking about his experience taking part, gold award winner, Jake Inglis said:

“I chose to design a product based around my passion for cycling and decided on a storage system for cyclists who have limited space in their house and who want a minimalist way to store their bike”.

“With this being my first time working within the constraints of a manufacturing process, there was a lot of details that had to be considered. The visit to the Hydro facilities gave me insight into the production line and how the process works from start to finish. Winning the gold award was something I did not expect but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and can’t wait for the next one”.

Finn Miller was awarded a gold award for his design of a product to support rough sleepers. He explained his process and experience taking part:

"With rough sleeping rising in major UK cities, I wanted to design a product that would help rough sleepers maintain independence but also explore ways of providing a fixed point of information on potential employment, housing, or other suitable aids, whilst also providing somewhere for them to spend the night”.

“Visiting the Hydro factory early in the design process really helped influence the development and helped me make decisions about the finer details and tolerances of each component. I was thrilled to receive a gold award for my submission. It’s given me confidence in exploring topics outside of my comfort zone when developing future product solutions for design briefs".

Keely Woodhead’s Silver award winning submission, a modular multipurpose equine product
Keely Woodhead’s Silver award winning submission, a modular multipurpose equine product.

Keely Woodhead, who was awarded a silver award, reflected on her experience:

“As a passionate equestrian who faces difficulties at competitions, I decided to exploit aluminium’s superior properties by designing a lightweight, modular product for use at home as a storage unit whilst also being adaptable and convertible to use as a saddle stand, stool, or step for competition settings”.

“The trip to the Hydro factory was truly eye opening and the presentation delivered by Hydro’s experts allowed me to gain greater understanding into locking mechanisms, fastenings and what a successful profile looks like. I am shocked at how much I’ve learnt and the level of technical details I was able to provide. To be awarded second place is very rewarding and I’m proud of myself and my course mates for taking on the challenge”.

Congratulations to all the students recognised in this years’ competition:

  • Joint 1st Place (Gold Awards): Jake Inglis and Finn Miller
  • 2nd Place (Silver Award): Keely Woodhead
  • Highly Commended Submissions: Abraham Fisher, Adam Zaki, and Zak Boardman
Published on 27 July 2022
  • Subject area: Architecture and civil engineering
  • Category: Current students; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment