The University Record, December 7, 1998

IPD students find solutions to sloshing cup holders

By Rebecca A. Doyle

If you’ve got a cup holder in your car, van or truck, chances are it either won’t hold the size cup you want to put in it or it occasionally sloshes beverages onto your carpeting.

Students in the Integrated Product Development (IPD) course have a solution for you.

Last week, their trade show featured a number of student prototypes for vehicle beverage holders designed to securely hold everything from a six-ounce juice box to a gallon of liquid, hot or cold, without spilling. The accessories are intended as aftermarket products that fit in any vehicle. Two commercial product entries joined the student designs in a contest that asked consumers to help select their favorites.

The Media Union gallery was packed with students, faculty and business people, all with pencil and paper in hand, deciding which product they favored. “Consumer” voters decide which product they would buy, and therefore the success of the product and profits that are theoretically realized.

“There are very few design courses in the county that evaluate the final product along the critical dimensions of satisfying real people with fully functional products at affordable prices,” noted James Bean, professor of engineering, and William Lovejoy, professor of business. The IPD course is, under the umbrella of the Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute, delivered jointly by the Business School, the College of Engineering, the School of Art and Design, Washtenaw Community College and the industrial design firm Sundberg Ferar. All students co-enroll in a machining course at Washtenaw Community College, where they learn how to use the tools in the machine shop to build their product.

The beverage holders ranged in price from about $7 to $15 and their designers are cross-disciplinary teams of engineering, art and marketing students. Together, they work through an intensive exercise of market research, product design and product manufacture, and then compete with other teams.

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