Design Innovation in Plastics 2022 winner announced


University student creates new bedpan solution for patients in healthcare settings

A student from Teesside university has claimed top prize in the 2022 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition, after designing a re-usable bedpan for the healthcare sector.

DIP, which is headline sponsored by Covestro, is the longest running plastics design competition of its kind for university undergraduates in the UK and Ireland.

Product design undergraduate, Zara King, designed EasyMode, a re-usable bedpan for a pulp liner to fit inside, providing a safe and comfortable base for people to use in any healthcare setting. The bedpan is moulded with a wide base so that it sits comfortably into the bed and presses down into the mattress, and when the patient is rolled off, it doesn’t tip.

Zara used reaction injection moulding to create her product, which is made from polyurethane. She designed it after hearing first hand from a nurse about the awkwardness of using existing bedpans, and the distress it often causes.

Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said Zara was a worthy winner who had tackled a sensitive issue and come up with a product which was already fit to go to market.

“She impressed the judges with her methodical approach to solving a major problem in the NHS,” he said. “Her holistic approach incorporated both user and patient issues, to come up with a solution which met both needs. She gave due consideration to sustainability, manufacturing and the materials used and has registered this product as her intellectual property, so that it is market ready, should she want to take it forward.”

Zara said: “Since entering this competition, I have enjoyed every moment, especially the thought of helping people with a product I’ve designed. Healthcare is definitely a field I’d like to stay involved in. This is one of the proudest moments of my life.”

The judges awarded second place to Kenneth Thornton, (Edinburgh Napier University), with his product Catheter Bag Carry, a reusable portable catheter bag holder which conceals and protects the catheter bag. Kenneth used silicone (NinjaFlex) for the bag holder and polypropylene for the belt.

In third place came Charlie Gould-Hocking (Bangor University), with Crutch, a shower stand for amputees with a lower limb loss that allows them to stand whilst showering. He used a combination of reinforced PET with a 30 per cent blend, SEBS and silicone rubber, to create his product.

Highly Commended awards go to three students from London South Bank University: Daniele Di Paolo, who created Cirrus, a device to help with breathing exercises to promote relaxation; Dimitri McGrath-Karvelis with Anap, a double capacity inhaler for asthmatics, that combines the preventer and reliever medication in one compact twist-and-carry device; and Daniel Warren, with Cura, a first aid kit for first responders, incorporating a new way of assessing and treating burns. Students were asked to design a product made primarily of plastics, for the healthcare sector, which can be used in demanding applications, but which also exploits the longevity of plastics.

The competition winner receives a £1,000 cash prize, a placement with a DIP sponsor or an industrial course and an invitation to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet as a guest of the Worshipful Company of Horners. Zara will also be given a year’s membership to the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining (IOM3). The other five finalists also receive cash prizes along with placements or industrial courses and a year’s membership of IOM3.

DIP is supported by IOM3 and the Worshipful Company of Horners. It is headline sponsored by Covestro, along with work placement sponsors, Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and RJG Technologies.

The final results are:

1st        Zara King, Teesside University, with EASYMODE, a reusable bedpan, for use in any healthcare setting

2nd       Kenneth Thornton, Edinburgh Napier University, with CATHETER BAG CARRY, a reusable portable catheter bag

3rd        Charlie Gould-Hocking, Bangor University, with CRUTCH, an adjustable shower or bath stand for amputees


Highly Commended:

  • Daniele Di Paolo, London South Bank University, with CIRRUS, a training aid to improve breathing
  • Dimitri McGrath Karvelis, London South Bank University, with ANAP, a double capacity inhaler for asthmatic
  • Daniel Warren London South Bank University, with CURA, a burns kit for first responders


About the Design Innovation in Plastics Award:

  • Established in 1985, Design Innovation in Plastics is the longest running student plastics design award in Europe. For more information visit www.designinnovationplastics.org
  • The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) is a major UK engineering institution and is the professional body for the advancement of materials, minerals and mining to governments, industry, academia, the public and the professions. For more information visit www.iom3.org
  • The Worshipful Company of Horners is one of the oldest liverycompanies in the City of London and was formed to regulate the horn-working trade. In 1943 it adopted its modern equivalent, the plastics industry. For more information visit www.horners.org.uk

About Covestro:

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and aims to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of around EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021. At the end of 2021, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Forward-looking statements

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