Expert insight - Jake Richardson
“Hydro’s team of experts can solve the client’s problems before they happen, but only if we are able to contribute from the beginning of the design process. That’s where the biggest win is for us, and them,” says Design Engineer at Hydro, Jake Richardson.
Timing is everything
He has worked at Hydro for nine years as a design engineer, but this is the first time he’s been involved with sheet aluminium and extrusions. The conceptual nature of the Tom Dixon project has meant employing a new style of collaborating, across industries and expertise.
“I usually work with a structured approach, with clear goals on everything: price, design and scheduling. But the Tom Dixon project, has required a more fluid workflow. Sometimes you need to have a plan to get the results you want. Other times you need to allow yourself to break free from strict guidelines in order to create something truly special,” Richardson says.
He usually works on larger fabrication projects, where his role is to manage the process, offer advice on the design and manufacturing, and gather information about the materials. In the Tom Dixon project, all these skills were put to the test.
“The biggest challenge was to find someone who could press the seat of the chair in one piece. We needed to make sure that it could handle the stress of usage, without deforming. All our experts had to come together to solve this issue, and in the end, I am proud to say we did,” he says.
The future of aluminium
New industries are catching on to the many positive qualities of aluminium. In the medical industry, light-weight and durable aluminium instruments can help shape the future of health care. In public transportation, a new floating aluminium floor works to reduce the sound and vibrations inside trains, which makes travelling more comfortable.
“The development is very exciting. We work with such a vast array of industries, and I can imagine that any organization, to some extent, can use aluminium in their products. It would be naïve to say it would work in any design, but the possibilities are endless,” he elaborates.
Making a big impact smaller
Sustainability is defining the way business operate and products are manufactured. Aluminium production makes the smallest impact on the environment when Hydro’s experts can work together with the client to ensure that the product is recyclable. Richardson encourages designers and engineers who are considering using aluminium to reach out as early as possible in the design process.
“Collaborating from the start means we can offer sustainable solutions at better prices, and give guidance based on our experience with other companies. This is most likely information that the client isn’t familiar with, that in many cases will define the success of the project.”