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News Story - Design Student’s concept for Antarctic sledge unveiled

Date: 05 Jun 2009

Sledge concept design - Design student Richard Crowter's concept for a BAS sledge loading system
Sledge concept design - Design student Richard Crowter's concept for a BAS sledge loading system

Coventry University design student Richard Crowter took inspiration from British Antarctic Survey for his final year of his Industrial Product Design degree. His concept ideas for use in Antarctic field expeditions was exhibited at the University’s annual degree show between 30 May and 4 June, 10am – 4pm.

Richard, 23, from Nuneaton, has re-designed a storage system that could be used by polar scientists. He has always been interested in Antarctica and thought that this particular project would be challenging from the design point of view because of the unique conditions that Antarctica presented.

He said:

“Whilst living in The Netherlands, I was thinking about what to do for my final project and I read an article about the British Antarctic Survey, which I thought was interesting, so when I got back to the UK, I contacted them and asked if I could do a design project for them. They told me about the issues they had with their current logistics and storage system, so I decided to take the project on.”

He added:

“The BAS field equipment is placed in handmade storage boxes on sledges, which are towed behind their snowmobiles. I was asked to investigate this system with a view to a redesign, taking into account current cost and usability issues.”

After extensive research, Richard decided to keep the existing wooden sledge design, because of its strength and flexibility; but making it wider and therefore more stable. His idea replaces the handmade boxes with others that fit inside a large bag which has been added to the sledge. This has zipped compartments, allowing quick and easy access; replacing the old technique of roping the equipment in place. This is especially useful for the fuel cans which can now be easily accessed during travel, without having to unload and reload the rest of the sledge equipment. The bag also contains an insulated pocket for electronic equipment.”