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2018 DIP award winners visit German headquarters of competition sponsor

The winner of this year’s Design Innovation in Plastics competition, Alex Roquero, and the third placed student, Olivia Alexander, have enjoyed a trip to competition headline sponsor, Covestro, in which they did everything from showroom and factory tours to sightseeing of Cologne and its surrounds.

Alex and Olivia, both of whom have completed product design courses, from Brunel and De Montford Universities, respectively, spent three days in Leverkusen, the headquarters of Covestro.

There they were welcomed by members of the design and innovation teams, were able to discuss their products and given tours of the company’s polycarbonate and polyurethane showrooms as well as a factory visit, where products are made. They were also able to get out and about during some downtime, and with the weather proving kind, they enjoyed a tour of the nearby city of Cologne where they discovered more of its history and architectural sights.

Alex said: “I feel grateful for having gone on such a well organised trip. From the beginning at London City Airport, until they dropped us at Dusseldorf airport on our way back, everything was perfectly organised and we didn´t have to worry about anything.

“It was great to see how the role of a designer works in such a big company as Covestro. The designer needs to know about a wide variety of applications in which their product will be used. Furthermore, Covestro works with leading companies, so it was very interesting to see how big companies such as Covestro approach their design processes.

“We had the opportunity to take part in a wonderful guided tour around the city of Cologne, getting to know those unique details that only locals know. I was impressed to see how the city is growing and investing in design and innovation areas.”

Olivia said: “Our visit to Covestro was a wonderful experience; we toured the factory and got the opportunity to see the injection moulding machines and many of the products that use Covestro's materials - I hadn't realised how many projects rely on their plastics!

“Thanks to Covestro's links to Bayer, the global life sciences company, we also got to have a quick tour to Bayer's Bee Care Centre in Monheim, which was particularly interesting and relevant for me as I had the chance to talk to experts about the bee friendly planter I designed for the DIP competition.

“I got valuable insight into how I could take my project further and was also able to visit the on-site beehives and get some wonderful close-up photos of the resident bee colony.”

In common with all six 2018 finalists in this year’s competition, the two students were also awarded short industry placements with other DIP competition sponsors. Those sponsors include PDD, London; Innovate Product Design, Salisbury, and RJG Technologies, Peterborough. A further two sponsors, Hellermann Tyton, Manchester; and Brightworks, Cheddar, provided placements for other finalists.

Olivia obtained a first class degree for her product design course and is now looking for opportunities in the world of innovation and design. Meanwhile, Alex submitted his dissertation after studying for his masters degree for the past 12 months, and is now starting work with a London-based design studio.