Sending castles in the sky | Breakthrough Funding

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sending castles in the sky

ENGINEERING - The story of packing a model building into airline hold luggage

The problem

Architects usually employ specialist model making firms to construct the final model version from their architectural designs. Because these models have to be highly accurate and detailed, they can be very expensive items in themselves. For example, the recent model demonstrating the designs for the Battersea Power station redevelopment by Sir Norman Foster cost approximately £1.2million. While transport via air is often the fastest way to get them to a tender pitch overseas, the handling conditions of airfreight are not suitable for architectural models. Models are now made much more quickly, using new techniques like 3D printing. In addition, changes to the design can occur up to the last minute. How could a package system be designed that would allow these delicate unique items to be shipped as additional hold luggage on a plane, be quick to make up and assemble so that it would make a tender deadline?

The solution

This clever design team used a range of materials to construct a packaging container that gave the optimum mix of low cost, lightweight and protection. They are able to construct impact resistant boxes capable of protecting fragile architect models in five hours, even at the maximum hold luggage size of 1900mm x 750mm x 650mm, (at this size the box only weighs 7.5kg). It has also been designed so it does not set off airport security scanning devices!

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