ZINC CHALLENGE
20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Test your design skills. 

WHAT IS THE ZINC CHALLENGE?

The Zinc Challenge is a competition created for industrial design students who are currently enrolled at a college or university in North America. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Zinc Challenge and students are encouraged to use their imagination to recreate, redesign, and redevelop an existing product into zinc (see Competition Overview below).

 Three winners will be selected, and each participant or group will receive an award for use at the college or university at which they are currently enrolled. A $2,000 award will go to each of the top three winners and $1,000 will be donated to their faculty advisor for use at his or her discretion within the department.

WHAT’S INVOLVED?

 

1. FILL OUT THE ENTRY FORM

Fill out an entry form for each participating student. Each entry form must be endorsed by a faculty member from the school.

 

2. COMPLETE THE QUESTIONNAIRE

Once you complete the registration form, you will automatically be redirected to a downloadable PDF of the questionnaire. You can also access the questionnaire by clicking the icon above.

 

3. SUBMIT DESIGN AND QUESTIONNAIRE BY THE DEADLINE

Submit your unique design along with the completed questionnaire to ZincChallenge@zinc.org by May 15, 2021.

CONTEST RULES AND FAQ’S

COMPETITION OVERVIEW

The theme of the 2020-2021 Zinc Challenge is a material conversion. What existing product would be better if made in Zinc?

Product designers have an almost unlimited choice for the selection of construction materials and manufacturing processes. However, a poor choice of materials can lead to a negative product perception or compromised performance in use. Sensory modality is important for interaction with many consumer products, and zinc alloys are known for their excellent tactile perception (haptic properties) with implied quality and solidity.  As well, compared to plastics and other casting metals, zinc die casting alloys frequently have higher strength, better thermal conductivity, better electrical conductivity, best surface quality, easier finishing, highest fluidity, ultra-thin wall capability, and lowest draft, while the zinc die casting process provides higher casting productivity, longer die life, lower energy consumption, and net shape casting. What existing product could be enhanced by taking advantage of these properties of zinc and zinc die casting?

The challenge is to improve an existing product with a redesign that takes advantage of the properties of zinc and the flexibility of the zinc die casting process.

The main component of the product design should demonstrate the advantages of zinc alloys and the zinc die casting process. Furthermore, both material and method of manufacture for your unique design need to be justified. Your presentation should convey an understanding of:

  • Appropriate selection of zinc die casting alloy (be specific, i.e. Zamak 3 or ZA-8, etc), and what properties make that alloy a good choice for the product.
  • Design suitable for high pressure die casting
  • Selection of suitable surface finish
  • Compatibility with other materials

ELIGIBILITY 

This competition is open to all undergraduate students enrolled at an engineering or design college or university in North America in the current academic year.

NUMBER OF ENTRIES

Any individual or group involved in producing an entry may submit any number of designs and must fill out an entry form for each design. The design must be endorsed by a faculty member at the design college or university.

Single applicants: Fill in the information requested.

Group applicants: Designate one representative as the applicant, and place this person’s name and contact information in the appropriate sections. The remaining group members must have been listed on the zinc questionnaire and the on the back of the entry form. Limit one entry form per design submission.

SUBMITTING YOUR DESIGN

  1. Complete the electronic entry form.
  2. Submit both the design and questionnaire by May 15, 2021 to: ZincChallenge@zinc.org.

DESIGN RULES

The design entry must be organized on three (3) pages so that the complete concept with development can be understood.  The judge should be required to make any assumptions not clearly shown in the file.

The following layout is suggested but not required:

  • Page 1 should detail the challenge and show the design development for the idea,
  • Page 2 should make clear the selection of a specific zinc alloy and reasons why zinc combined with high pressure die casting is appropriate for the manufacture and use of the part,
  • Page 3 should show the part isolated and in use for the intended application.

Written text should be minimal but is essential. The entry should contain description why zinc is appropriate for the design and why the solution is effective. Include a parts list and any text needed to highlight unique features that may not be clear unless identified.

A review of past winning entries [below] may be beneficial for understanding the requirements.

AWARDS

There will be three awards of $3000.00 each with the money split between the student or team ($2000.00) and the faculty advisor ($1000.00). The awards will acknowledge each designer’s name in all publicity.

JUDGING CRITERIA

The criteria for judging the competition will be based on the score and completeness of the questionnaire and the appropriateness of the solution to the design problem, including but not limited to: quality, originality, thoroughness and the development potential. It is imperative that the information in the submission clearly and completely convey the design concept. 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS

The three (3) winning entries will be posted on this website. Entrance into this competition constitutes permission to post names and submitted designs by IZA for promotional purposes without further consent of the individuals involved.

JURORS

Final selections for awards will be chosen by IZA and outside experts.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Any applicant or group who wishes to protect his/her work by obtaining copyrights, design rights, patents and/or any other intellectual property right must do so at his/her own expense. By entering the competition, the applicant agrees that IZA may use the submitted design for promotional purposes without restrictions or further compensation.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THIS YEAR’S WINNER!

ZINC CHALLENGE: 2019-2020

Wearable Electronic Device

Title: Light Acumen

Designer: Sidona Bradley

School: University of Oregon

Instructor:  Kiersten Muenchinger

Judges’ Comments:

  • “I really like this design. It is unique and original, and it’s clear the designer has thought through many of the challenges of wearing and using such an inventive product.”
  • “The use of zinc (rigid material) makes sense in this wearable.”

PREVIOUS WINNERS

ZINC CHALLENGE: 2018-2019

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – Shielding Capable Document Holder 

Please note that winners are listed in no particular order.

Title: Virago Wallet 

Designer: Brooke Harrington

School: California State University at Long Beach

Instructor:  Jose Rivera-Chang

Judges’ Comments:

  • “The designer clearly understands how the properties of zinc contribute to the functionality for RFID shielding while providing thin walls and the superior surface finishing needed for a high end product.”
  • “Utilizing zinc for the RFID wallet and the stylish clasps ties the design together.”

Title: RFID Wallet 

Designer: Hannah Altshuler-Hansen

School: University of Oregon

Instructor: Kiersten Muenchinger

Judges’ Comments:

  • “The designer complements the warmth of zinc with the use of natural materials on the inside of the wallet in this simple and functional product.”
  • “‘Zinc came out ahead for castability when compared to other possible materials in this design.”

Title: Bikebox 

Designer: Theo Hassim

School: Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Instructor: Tao Huang

  • “The designer’s choice of ZA-27 alloy provides high strength and RFID shielding for this application.”
  • “Cycling is growing in popularity and this design adds secure storage to the bike.”

ZINC CHALLENGE: 2017-2018 – GLASS SUPPORT BRACKETS

Title: Minimalist Utensil Shelf

Designer: Jess Park

School: University of Oregon

Instructor: Jim Arnold

Judges’ Comments:

  • “I like the concept of this design. A very minimal design for utensils only, allowing for more drawer space for other kitchen products. The glass container can also be washed.”
  • “The student makes use of zinc die casting’s high fluidity to make thinner walls as well as the use of ribs to help strengthen the part.”

     

Title: Glass Support Brackets

Designer: Justin Schwarting

School: University of Wisconsin – Stout

Instructor: Benjamin Pratt

Judges’ Comments:

  • “I like the interesting design for hanging glass giving increased flexibility with unlimited wire angles.”

  • “The student takes advantage of the ability to cast accurate dimensions and zinc’s corrosion resistance, which are both important for this application.”

Title: Vulcan: The Modern Balcony

Designer: Simon Elser

School: Purdue University

Instructor: Ted Lu

Judges’ Comments:

  • “I like the use of various bracket designs for the different locations and functions on the balcony rail.” 

  • “The student recognizes the ability of die cast zinc alloys to resist corrosion and still look shiny and beautiful.”

ZINC CHALLENGE: 2016-2017 – COMMERCIAL KITCHEN PRODUCTS

Title: Ulfberht Knife

Designer: Bryan Varga

School: University of Oregon

Instructor: Beth Esponette

Judges Comments:

  • ‘I liked the ergonomic look of this knife, and there may be an application for zinc in knife handles in general.’
  • ‘Very well executed design process. Benefits of using zinc shown in good detail.’
  • ‘Well executed design development with interesting historical reference.’

Title: Save-A-Shot

Designer: Garen Gibbs

School: Purdue

Instructor: Ted Lu

Judges Comments:

  • ‘This is a good add-on product and clearly a good choice in zinc.’
  • ‘Excellent concept presentation. Imaginative solution to a barista’s problems.’
  • ‘Simple aftermarket add-on product with wide market potential and easy integration.’

Title: Zinc Faucet

Designer: Cole Sippel

School: University of Wisconsin – Stout

Instructor: Benjamin Pratt

Judges Comments:

  • ‘Although zinc is already used in faucets, I liked the novel idea of using electronic controls on the nozzle. The reason for using zinc was clearly presented.’
  • ‘New imaginative approach to a one control faucet. Excellent execution of the design process.’
  • ‘One hand control of all functionality of the faucet improves on existing designs.’

ZINC CHALLENGE: 2015-2016 – OUTDOOR CAMPING PRODUCTS

Title: Tinderbox

Designer: Garrett Warnick

School: University of Oregon

Instructor: Elizabeth Esponnette

Title: MODU

Designer: Jacob Stranahan

School: University of Oregon

Instructor: Elizabeth Esponnette

Title: UMB Light

Designer: Robert Caswelch

School: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Instructor: Tao Huang

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