AS Product Analysis
This is part of the module Industrial and Commercial Products and Practices (R1).
The questions always follow the same format - there will be a diagram of a product folowed by a description.
The questions will then follow the assessment criteria chart.
Take careful note of the assessment criteria.
How to get more marks
Write in black, never use red biro.
Clearly write the question part (e.g. 1a) at the start of your answer and then rule a line across the page at the end of each section.
Do not write notes - use proper sentences which justify your points. No one word answers.
There are some areas of overlap especially with quality of the product, quality control and safety. Take care when describing these areas.
Note the number of marks for the question and then answer fully, so that you get all the marks. (There are 16 marks for the section on industrial manufacturing - the chief examiners report notes that this is a common area for weakness.)
Use suitable diagrams especially when answering about industrial production methods.
Use the correct technical vocabulary. e.g. A suitable finish for aluminium would be anodising.
Always relate your answers to the question being asked - e.g. write about the aesthetics of the product in the question.
Revise. Use the text book which covers everything you need to know. Read old papers and look at the mark schemes. Read the examiners reports.
Product design specification
1. Purpose -what is the aim of the product - what is it for?
2. Function - what should the product do to achieve its purpose and how should it be made to do it - what does it do and how does it work?
3. Market - who is to be the target purchaser and the user - who will buy it and who is it bought for? e.g. toys bought for children by parents.
4. Performance- includes ergonomics - how well does the user interact with the product? Is it comfortable? Does it fit? Is it adjustable? Is it well suited to the environment in which it will be used?
5. Aesthetics - the appearance, is it it appropriate for its purpose? Does the surface finish or general appearance have an additional purpose such as water resistance, easy to clean or to give a better grip?
6. Quality standards - quality versus cost. The quality of manufacture and materials used must be appropriate for the performance and purpose of the product.
ISO 9000 is primarily concerned with "quality management". This means what the organization does to fulfil:
7. Safety - safety of the product in use. Must meet relevant standards such as British Standards etc. BSI "Kitemark" and "Safety Mark" The European Union "EC" mark is another standard. ISO standards are also important.
Materials and Components
When choosing materials for a product understanding its properties will be essential. The correct choice will also be a balance of cost, availability and working characteristics.
Manufacturers primary concern is producing their product effectively and making a profit. They will optimise their manufacturing methods and purchasing of components to their advantage i.e. if it is cost effective to sub-contract a sub-assembly then that is likely to happen. Look at JIT in the manufacturing section.
Levels of Production will influence:
For each of these which level of production will be the cheapest/most expensive. Which will give the consumer the least choice/most choice. Which needs to be near good transport and power links. Which is the most expensive to set up. Which would make use of jigs. Which would use automated machines and robots the most. Would CNC machines be used for one-off production (the answer here is most definitely yes).
Stages of Production
Product Quality Issues
See above but especially deal with quality control in production and how it would be met, refer to the standards - BSI Kitemark, EC and ISO9000. Quality of the product in use -do a simple evaluation!
Health and Safety
This is easier, first deal with safety of the product in use, is it safe in use - well balanced, no sharp edges, stable in use (Will it tip over?), electrical safety (trailing leads etc). Be critical(good & bad) and also suggest improvements.
Secondly deal with safety issues in production - machine guards, dust extraction, good lighting,noise, electrical safety, as well as personal safety such as eye protection and protective clothing. Training, maintenance, working conditions (lighting, overcrowding and poor housekeeping) are also safety issues. (Health and Safety act at Work legislation makes the employee responsible for their own safety.)
Your answer must relate to the product and its manufacture.
You can discuss two in detail or all four in less detail to gain the eight marks. You must discuss the product in the question.
When discussing FORM you may include not only shape but colour, surface texture, feel -heavy or light, warm or cold, optical properties such as shiny or matt, how it makes you feel (does it remind you of something)etc. You can of course be critical and discuss why you you do not like it and how its form could be improved - more comfortable handles, smoother edges and corners etc.
Function is essentially what it does and how it works - discuss how well - evaluate it! Safety can be mentioned again here.
Trend/Styles - a good test of your design education. You ould relate the products design to what you know about Modernism and the Bauhaus - ' truth to the material' and 'form follows function', or the way modern materials such as polymers(plastics) make the design possible. The idea of a quality product versus a consumer product with built in obsolesence (a short lifespan because of lower quality parts and materials).