Given the threat of terrorism involving toxic gasses, Draeger Safety, manufacturers of Breathing Apparatus (BA), found that the lung demand valve seal on their BA may loose integrity if exposed to particular gases over time. Watson managed a ‘design-with’ collaborative approach to fully understand the needs of the medical/safety professionals and the various international testing and certificating bodies. This led to an innovative solution involving an elastomeric baffle which could be stretched over the valve, directing the wearers exhaust air in a controlled path around the exterior of the product ensuring that the air around the seals was constantly moving, preventing build up of corrosive toxic gas. Having worked on previous medical design research products, looking at pulmonary function and lung targeted drug delivery, for clients such as Profile Therapeutics and AstraZeneca, Watson was able to apply these principles to the exhaust function of the wearer to eliminate the build up of gasses. Hewitt provided industrial design input to the project. The Draeger Lung Demand Valve (LDV) ‘Boot’ highlighted the value of design thinking as opposed to a more traditional engineering-led approach. The solution was simple, low cost, could be fitted to the full range of the company’s current valves and most importantly did not require the value to be re-certificated for safety. The project was a vehicle for Watson’s research interest and developing knowledge in the field of design driven innovation and IP. The design innovation approach, was capable of implementation and approval by Draeger in 3 months as opposed to 12 had a materials science approach been followed. This enabled a quick response to the new threats to users and ensured that Draeger maintained their position as market leader.
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jul 2003|