Turning an academic invention into innovation in the market Lucas Marques Otsuka Sao Paulo | FAU-USP | 2017
UNIVERSITY OF SAO PAULO FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM
Turning an academic invention into innovation in the market
Lucas Marques Otsuka advisor:
Prof. Dr. AndrÃ© Leme Fleury
Final Paper Design FAU-USP June 2017
Otsuka, Lucas M. Retrolley: Transformando a invenção acadêmica em inovação no mercado / Lucas Marques Otsuka. -- São Paulo, 2017. 170 f. : il Orientador: Prof. Dr. André Leme Fleury. TCC (Graduação - Design) -- Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade de São Paulo, 2017. 1. Vale da Morte. 2. Ecossistemas de Inovação. 3. Design de Produto. 4. Patente. 5. Reciclagem de Resíduos da Aviação. I. Leme Fleury, Prof. Dr. André.
I thank everyone who has contributed directly
believing in our potential and giving us all the
or indirectly to this work, since the beginning
necessary support to realize our dream, and
of the project in the university. Especially, my
3D Systems, mainly Rene Paris, Raul Ferraguz,
advisor Dr. Andre Fleury, for the trust, patience
Junior Marques, Danilo Grosso and Dovair,
and support during the development of this
for helping us making our concept tangible.
project and paper. Also, to the professors Dr. Robinson Salata and Dr. Fausto Mascia, for
I am also very grateful to my family, for
the guidance during the first phases of the
understanding and for supporting me in
project and for supporting its continuation.
my studies. To Henrique Morfeu, for the companionship and help in this phase. Also
Many thanks to my friends Denise Ikuno, Lucas
to my friends Camilla Annarumma, Felipe
Neumann, Maki Shintate, Tadeu Omae and Gabriel
Massami and all the people from the Design
Reis, who made Retrolley come alive with great
course at FAU-USP. To everyone we talked to
effort. To the people working at Airbus Group,
understand how to develop the right product.
especially Ralf Schliwa, Matthias Reiss, Nicolas Jourdan, Don De Gutz and Oliver Family, for
I feel privileged to have you by my side.
This work presents the creation process of the Retrolley project, a product for waste collecting in the aircraft. The project began with a concept creation in the academic environment and has been improved to become a commercially viable product. Retrolley proposes a solution to the problem of commercial airline waste. Currently, almost no waste volume is recycled, and procedures with this type of material generate several problems during and between flights, since it is all mixed together, taking up a lot of space and time, in a context in which both factors are essential. Retrolley allows you to collect efficiently and prepares materials for recycling, saving space and time. This project was awarded in an Airbus innovation contest, which led the company to support its continuation, financing the construction of physical models for demonstration to potential clients and protecting the idea for possible licensing. As university projects have a high mortality rate until their arrival in the market, the work documents the main challenges and the strategies proposed in the process of conducting the project from the university to the reality of the market and compares it to the theory about the Valley of Death between invention and innovation. Keywords: innovation, cart; trolley; waste; aircraft; recycling; marketplace; university;
Table of Contents
THE USP CONTEXT
THE PROJECT IN THE ACADEMY
THE USERS 44
FIELD RESEARCH 46 BENCHMARKING 49 IDEATION 53
THE SOLUTION 59 LESSONS LEARNED 67
THE INNOVATION SEQUENCE
THE VALLEY OF DEATH
OVERCOMING THE VALLEY OF DEATH 30 POST-ACADEMIC CONTEXT
FLY YOUR IDEAS 2015
LESSONS LEARNED 83
THE CONTINUATION PROPOSAL
HOW TO PROTECT THE IDEA
THE NEW MEMBER
PATHS TO FOLLOW
NEW CHALLENGES 123
REDESIGNING THE PRODUCT
MAIN MECHANISM 124
AIRBUS’ FIRST VISIT
THE PROTOTYPE COMPANY
AIRBUS’ THIRD VISIT
SEARCHING AN ENGINEER
DESIGN REVIEW 128
USE MODE 130 PATENT PENDING
PRODUCTION 131 THE FIRST ISSUES
THE FIRST MODEL DESIGN
THE NEW PLANNING
AIRBUS’ SECOND VISIT
UPDATING THE RESEARCH
MAIN COMPACTADOR 134
THE FINAL DESIGN
THE FINAL TEST
LESSONS LEARNED 117
LESSONS LEARNED 146
MARKET 149 THE EVOLUTION OF THE PATENT
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS’ FEEDBACK
CRYSTAL CABIN CONTEST
LESSONS LEARNED 153 NEXT STEPS 153 REFLECTION 154 REFERENCES 156
â€œKnowledge is increasingly perceived as a central driver of economic growth and innovation (OECD, 1997)â€?
INTRODUCTION The Oslo Manual, developed by the Organization
competition, increasingly globalized. According
for Economic Cooperation and Development
to Verganti (2009), “radical innovations, although
(OECD), proves the strategic role of knowledge
risky, are one of the greatest sources of competitive
in increasing investments in intangible aspects,
advantage in the long run.” Thus, academic programs
such as Research & Development, Education
focused on teaching the development process of
and others, which in most countries have
innovative products and services have multiplied in
escalated faster than physical investments in
universities around the world. However, there is a
the last decades. These resources applications
great deficiency in transforming innovative projects
in innovative activities result in technological
generated by the academy into marketed products
advancement, which opens opportunities to
that bring an improvement of life for its users.
increase productive capacity, generating longterm jobs and income. Therefore, the Oslo Manual
As Perlman (2013) states in an Forbes magazine
argues that one of the government’s key tasks is
article: “Innovation is not the idea, but what you do with
to create conditions that induce organizations to
it.” When the project really reaches the end user,
undertake investments and innovative activities
one notices the beneficial impact of the invention on
necessary to promote technological change.
society. Therefore, it is important to foster academic projects until they can cross the university’s borders
The corporate world has increasingly embraced
and contribute positively to the community.
innovation as a key element to stand out from the
GOALS This Final Paper presents how a product invention
understand why, once the academic cycle is over, it is
can emerge in the academic environment and
so difficult to bring studentsâ€™ ideas into the market.
overcome the "Valley of Death" to become a market innovation. In order to do so, it seeks to analyze
The study of the process reports how innovation
the case of an academic project carried out during
was possible even in an industry rigidly regulated
the undergraduate course in Design at FAU-USP:
by international rules, and investigates how
the Retrolley project. This project began in the
players in the university and market ecosystem
search for a relevant solution to a complex aviation
act and contribute to the evolution of projects.
industry problem, which is waste management.
The study also focuses on the work in tune with designers, engineers and companies after the
By investigating the events during the process, this
academic context. By explaining what steps were
paper reflects on the positive and negative points,
taken and how they occurred during the project,
and can serve as a reference for future projects.
this paper aims to become a reference for Design
Thus, it compares what the group has learned from
students who wish that their ideas generated during
each phase to the theory that has been researched
college achieve their goal to be put into practice in
in the review. Reflecting on this serves precisely to
reality, improving the quality of life of its users.
MOTIVATION Throughout my academic life, hundreds of hours
hard, complicated, costly and often too risky for
were spent to develop projects that sought to be
the university or companies to undertake.
relevant, innovative and that would really make sense to be produced in the real world. However,
In spite of receiving other awards, it was only after
a constant source of frustration was the difficulty
winning a prize in an international innovation
of taking these projects forward, so that they
contest that it seemed possible that an academic
would not remain only as concepts, but impact
project I participated could cross the university’s
the people to whom they were designed.
borders. This motivated the documentation of the process so that it could be consulted by
The definition of Industrial Design presented
students who have created a concept during their
in the World Design Organization (ICSID)
graduation, but do not know how to proceed.
official website in 2017 states: Another motivation is the relevance of the “Industrial Design is a strategic problem-solving
waste disposal theme, which has an increasing
process that drives innovation, builds business success,
importance in the design of products and services.
and leads to a better quality of life through innovative
Recycling of aviation waste is an issue that has
products, systems, services and experiences.”
not been addressed effectively and can be left behind in an extremely competitive industry. The
Because the result of Design is to improve
different management of airports, airlines and
people’s quality of life, when a project does not
catering companies in the country and the world
reach them, it is as if it had failed. In fact, most
has some difficulty in separating and sending the
academic projects end up being just a concept,
waste to their respective recycling sites, which is
and never marketed, even among awards-
a fertile field for the development of the project.
winners. The steps to achieve production are
METHODOLOGY This Final Paper began to be written in the first
In each cycle, the description of the problems
half of 2016, while the Retrolley project was in
discovered, the challenges faced and the positive
the phase of building the first physical model for
and negative points of the final solution seek to
Airbus Group. To achieve the proposed goal of this
emphasize the interaction between all the players
study, it was divided into the following main steps:
and the lessons learned. In order to obtain a more dynamic and holistic view of the phenomenon under
First, before the narrative of the project’s
investigation in the context studied, several sources
development, this paper contemplated a study
were used: interviews with participants, specialists
of design, project development and innovation
and users; books, articles and videos, as well as
literature on the generation of innovative products
publications and data provided by participating
in the Academy and how to market them. This
companies and other secondary sources.
study focused not only on innovation ecosystems, but especially on the main difficulties faced by
Finally, it confronts the theory with practice,
academic projects when they attempt to arrive in
taking the lessons learned from the practical
the market, and how the theory holds that this can
part and confronting with the theory, to
be improved. Thus, special emphasis was placed
understand what took place and what
on the Valley of Death phenomenon during the
did not become reality in practice.
sequence of innovation and solutions to overcome it. Within the field of study of this work, we Second, after the literature review, qualitative
sought to understand mainly explanations
research was used, based on the single case study
for the question: how can an academic
method by participatory observation, to analyze
invention be transformed into innovation?
with depth and proximity the evolution of the Retrolley project towards its commercialization.
From this, the whole study of the practical phase
The Retrolley project was chosen because the
was guided by the following main questions:
author has been involved since its beginning. »»
What environmental factors allowed the
For the study, the project was divided into
emergence of the Retrolley project in the context of
cycles according to the context in which
they occurred and their ultimate goal:
What are the possible steps to market academic
What are the barriers that prevent an academic
product project from reaching the market?
production of the prototype of the product happens in
an efficient and consistent way with the concept?
What aspects should be reviewed so that the
What were the strategies considered by the
Retrolley project to overcome the Valley of Death?
Figure 1.â€‚ phases of the project. Source: author
INNOVATION ECOSYSTEMS Within the field of study of this paper, it sought to
is an independent institutional sphere, but
understand mainly what happens between invention
works in cooperation with others through
and innovation. According to Garel and Mock
knowledge flows (STAL; FUJINO, 2005).
(2012), invention is the activity of imagining and realizing new goods, services and techniques. It may
This concept is related to the transformation
originate from a research or world reinterpretation
of the Industrial Society, focused on industry-
by the inventor, and may be commercially
government partnerships in the Knowledge
successful. Innovation, however, is an invention
Society, with the growing economic importance
transformed into a product or service, and exploited
of universities and research institutions
in a market or diffused in society. The innovation
in the production of knowledge.
addressed here is centered on the creation of new products, like the Retrolley. The transformation
There are three different configurations
of an invention into innovation depends on the
of power within the Triple Helix according
players’ perception of the reward of their efforts -
to Etzkowitz et al. (2000):
financial returns that the marketing of the product can bring. According to Garel and Mock (2012):
“innovation diffuses and socializes the invention”.
a fundamental role in conducting and also limiting
static configuration, in which government plays
industrial and academic players; For Jucevicius et al. (2016), innovation is the result
of the complex interaction between several separate
players are the predominant force behind the process
elements, and the functioning of innovation
of innovation and
ecosystems is dependent on the quality of both their
elements and their relationships in the system. The
institutions - universities, research institutes - are in
Stanford University Innovation Ecosystem Network
partnership with other players of the system or even
on its website defines an innovation ecosystem as:
lead the innovation process.
laissez-faire configuration, in which industry
balanced configuration, where the knowledge
“... inter-organizational, political, economic,
The latter configuration, which predicts overlapping
environmental, and technological systems through
exchange relationships reorganizing institutional
which a milieu conducive to business growth
arrangements, is generally considered the most
is catalyzed, sustained, and supported.”
desirable. Each of the helices develops internally, but also interacts with the others exchanging goods,
Within the study of innovation ecosystems,
services and functions (ETZKOWITZ et al., 2000)
there is the concept of Triple Helix that Etzkovitz (1994) describes as a spiral model of innovation
According to Jucevicius et al. (2016), a sustainable
that takes into account the multiple reciprocal
innovation ecosystem requires a different mentality
relations between Government-University-
from the traditional institutional-regulatory
Industry at different stages of the generation
approach, generally adopted in national innovation
and dissemination of knowledge. Each helix
systems, and implies a constant search for a delicate
Figure 2. Triple Helix development phases. Source: adapted from Dossa and Segatto (2012)
balance between several factors: public and private,
long-term and short-term interventions on demand
Underdeveloped innovation and industry
and supply, among others. To that paper, some ecosystems are dominated by the supply side factor
They often have very capable individual
and the strong public and institutional infrastructure
players, but they do not have the collective
- such as France. Others are more influenced by the
capabilities at the system level.
demand side, with more pronounced micro-level entrepreneurship factors - such as Poland. There
However, Brazil has made progress in the face
are also ecosystems that can balance supply and
of these challenges, in which Triple helix became
demand factors, public and private, macro and
a “movement” for generating incubators in the
micro-factors - such as Germany and Israel - and
university context (ALMEIDA, 2005). Even
often have a higher innovation performance.
Etzkowitz (2013) recognizes the country’s progress, particularly in the evolution of incubators at a
In the case of emerging innovation ecosystems,
more advanced level than in the US, where they
Jucevicius et al. (2016) argue that they generally
were originated: “Implications of imported concepts
depend on fragmented, high-energy microeconomic
such as the incubator were more fully realized than
initiatives that are not systematically supported
at their home of origin and new formats of hybrid
by institutions and organizations. In other
innovation were created as the firm-in-a-lab”, provided
words, they lack the supply factors. For example
in the Brazilian Innovation Act in 2004, which
in Latin America, Arocena and Sutz (2000)
consists of a group of academic research group
observe that innovation systems have:
and company producing research results, articles and products at the same time in a common unit
Loose links between the players in the ecosystem;
housed at the university. According to him, “the main
Less public and private funding;
direction of innovation in Brazil has been displaced
by bottom-up initiatives and lateral interactions
in Brazil because of three main constraints:
as a consequence of the political transition.” »»
the gigantic tributary cost;
In this context, the university is moving from an
the cost of interest and an anomalous exchange,
institution centered essentially on teaching, to
where it is worth investing more in applications than
an organization that Etzkowitz (2003) calls the
in research and
Entrepreneurial University. For the author, with
the immense labor cost.
redefined structures and functions, she is able to direct a strategy from the formulation of clear
He points out that in São Paulo the situation is
academic objectives as to the allocation of her
somewhat better, as companies in the region
resources and research potential to a new social
face more international competition, which in
contract between her and her environment,
a way forces them to invest in innovation.
focused on economic development Society in which it operates. According to him, it is an
These discussions of technology transfer
environment conducive to innovation, by the
often revolve around the tension between the
concentration of intellectual capital, in which
university’s traditional public role and a more
students are a source of potential entrepreneurs.
entrepreneurial one, characterized by partnerships with industry, as argued by Gulbrandsen (2009).
As universities seek a new definition of their
Such partnerships are needed not only to fund
role in society, companies want new alternatives
costly research programs but also to keep the
to guarantee their permanence in the market
academy competitive in a global economy.
(FISCHMANN; CUNHA, 2003). Perlman (2013) argues that to innovate companies must work
However, critics claim that such relationships
on the connection between: strategy, process,
undermine the freedom of academic research
structure and capacity of the company. For this,
and can take knowledge out of the public
companies can supplement their shortcomings
domain. According to Segatto (1996), this
in some of these aspects with the help of the
erroneous view that in order to guarantee the
Academy. According to Perez (1999), this is
autonomy and freedom of research, the State
beneficial to the innovation ecosystem since no
should be the sole financier of them, it creates
technological development strategy will succeed
a barrier in the relation between the helices.
without a vigorous business environment research system, as for example in the USA, where only
Frenkel and Maital (2014) note that every
5% of patents come from the Academy.
innovation ecosystem suffers from an inherent paradox: the short-run business economy must
In Brazil, companies invest little in R & D compared
be strongly linked to the long-term, but at the
to other countries and this is related to the low
same time isolated, research economy. Marcovitch
number of researchers working in companies,
(1999) states that the university needs to find
as Carlos Brito Cruz points out in an interview
the right way to relate to companies, and they
with the Fapesp Agency website in 2011. He
must also know how to request the collaboration
adds that companies also Face major challenges
of the academy. For him, the intervention of
agents that better articulate this interface and
Therefore, it is concluded that improving this
value interdisciplinarity is usually necessary.
marketing process is not only a question of resources, but of executing it efficiently with
As Gaudenzi (2015) argues, societal pressure is
inventions that are really relevant to society. This
especially strong when regions try to overcome
is in line with what Perlman (2013) advocates:
an economic recession or stimulate a particularly promising industry, such as biotechnology, so
“Execution is the innovation multiplier - which means
governments increasingly seek to direct society’s
that an organization that can perform well on some
resources to Encourage universities to generate
good innovations is more powerful than one that has
economically viable technology, heating the
several great ideas with no way to execute them.”
economy. However, Frenkel and Maital (2014) argue that government interventions undermine
As it turns out, the university must answer
the performance of the innovation ecosystem in
two major questions in this regard:
the long run and Segatto (1996) also argues that government should not influence the university-
enterprise relationship because it inhibits
university will generate inventions relevant to society
flexibility and diversity between Organizations.
through quality programs and teaching that enable
first, the problem is how to ensure that the
staff to generate innovation; As Shane (2012) argues in an article on the
Bloomberg website, just targeting resources, grants,
this innovation, so that it does not only remain in the
and prizes for universities to come up with more
academic environment but rather diffuses through
projects does not mean they will become better
later, the question is how to effectively market
at generating relevant inventions and may even encourage poor, Result itself. As he argues, in 2010, inventions at American universities resulted in 657 new products - according to the Association of University Technology Managers - and that figure is similar for the past three years as well. It runs counter to policy makers who argue that doubling financial incentives for universities could double the number of new products. For him, the success in marketing these university projects requires not only capital, but mainly the ability to produce valuable inventions. He argues that while they seem beneficial, such stimuli bring a cost, which can cause the university body to neglect teaching and research by directing its marketing efforts, which is a very expensive part. In addition, universities must bear the costs of patents and agencies to handle licensing.
THE INNOVATION SEQUENCE This process of transforming the idea into a
Sequence of Innovation, used by Ford et al. (2007),
commercial product is called the Sequence of
which brings together Phases 3 and 4 into one.
Innovation, based on the studies of Johnson (1966). He states that “innovation is a temporal
Within the Innovation Sequence is the Development
sequence that occurs over an extended period”
of New Products, also known as NPD (New
and divides this sequence into four stages:
Product Development), which is the set of activities necessary to transform a market opportunity into
The original idea or recognition of the need for
a product available for sale, as Krishnan states.
a product or an improved process leading to the
Karl (2001). Otto and Wood (2003) complement
research, perhaps resulting in an invention and patent
that this group includes from the initial vision of
the product to the efforts of marketing, production
An affirmative decision of technical and
planning, product validation, among others.
economic viability leads to the development work and prototypes and executions of experimental
The development of relevant products at the
Academy is essential if the idea is to have the “fuel”
With the translation to commercial production, the
needed to become an innovation. In this, Design
innovation process does not stop, but continues with
is important. As postulated by Bonsiepe (1997):
improvements and dissemination to other companies
“Design refers to a special kind of innovative
and industries (“imitation”);
action that takes care of the concerns of a
The stage of dissemination and improvement
community of users. Design without innovative
of innovation at national level has a new phase as it
component is obviously a contradiction. However,
spreads to international use.
innovative action that produces something new is not enough to characterize design to its fullest
Johnson (1966) notes that the economy as a whole
extent. Breder (2009) argues that design today
receives no benefit until Phase 3 is achieved, even
represents a greater process than just solving
though Phases 1 and 2 are essential. For this work,
problems, but rather poses as the modus facendi
it was considered a simplified version of Johnson’s
that enables companies to innovate in the market.
Figure 3. Innovation Sequence. Source: adapted from Ford et al. (2007).
THE VALLEY OF DEATH Within the Sequence of Innovation, the passage
project to continue.
from invention to innovation is mediated by the
In the financial pitfall of Valley of Death,
Valley of Death allegory presented by Branscomb
inventors face both high capital demands to put
& Auerswald (2001). It is a metaphor to describe
the invention into practice and difficulty raising
the gap between academic innovation and its
funds (MURPHY; EDWARDS, 2003). According
commercial application in the market, as defined
to Ford et al. (2007), governments focus their
by Gulbrandsen (2009). In the literature, there are
investments on fundamental research by drawing
distinct interpretations of what exactly this phase
the left-hand curve of the chart, and the industry
of the Valley of Death consists of, and the House
is heavily invested in product development for
of Commons Science and Technology Committee
rapid commercialization, tracing the right-hand
(HCSTC, 2013) stipulates that there may already
curve. According to Jucevicius et al. (2016), in the
be a functional prototype of the idea, but not yet
intermediate phase of the Innovation Sequence,
Was developed enough to raise funds with sales.
costs may increase approximately fivefold compared to previous phases, so partnerships
The Valley of Death is related to the riskiest
or government support are needed, but ROI
stage following innovation, which involves
is very uncertain: 9 in every 10 investment
technology demonstration, customer
projects fail. Discouraged, private investors
validation, and prototyping on a larger scale
opt for safer investment alternatives and often
than laboratorial, but smaller than industrial
abandon projects related to innovation.
scale (JUCEVICIUS ET AL., 2016). According to Arrow (1962), it is expected that For Branscomb & Auerswald (2001), there are
without intervention, private industry will tend to
several gaps or issues between the two extremes of
invest little in research and development because
Valley of Death to be overcome, especially the gaps:
of the risks. So he concluded that it is necessary for the government or some other non-profit-
Financial, which includes resources to finance
oriented agency to fund research. According to
the generation of ideas, the demonstration of
Ford et al. (2007), not even a large and growing
the functioning of its principle and the necessary
venture capital industry, specializing in high-risk
resources to transform it into a ready-to-market
ventures, is sufficient to eliminate all inefficiencies
prototype, ie with specifications, production costs and
at the intermediate stage of the sequence, since
it has been proven that these firms actually
Research, which involves substantial research
concentrated more and more Their efforts in larger
required to transform the initial idea into a product
projects and more evolved over time. Thus, venture
with sufficient quality, cost and functionality to
capital funds are rarely available at a reasonable
survive in the marketplace.
cost for intermediate-stage projects. Auerswald
Information and Trust, which includes conflict of
interests, cultural differences and perceptions that
and Branscomb (2003) point out that only 4% of venture capital investments are at this stage.
reside in each of the fundamental players of the Innovation Sequence and that must be solved for the
For Ford et al. (2007) the presence of what is called
Figure 4. Valley of Death in the Innovation Sequence. Source: adapted from Jucevicius et al. (2016)
“non-economic activities” in the early stages of the
Segatto (1996), fundamental research usually
R & D process is what creates a “voucher” later in
implies results only achieved in the long term, while
the intermediate stage of the innovation sequence.
companies often do not have this time availability.
These activities refer to government investments in early-stage basic research that are not made for
Murphy and Edwards (2003) add that it is difficult
only potential gains to the private sector. According
to conduct high-risk long-term research in the
to the authors, these activities are not necessarily
early stages to please the public sector, while
inappropriate, since only encouraging research
prioritizing the development of a market-driven
with an economic objective also does not generate
product for private finance. According to them,
excellent results. Government may be the largest
the strong focus on technical development often
non-economic agent, who sponsors basic research
results in a naive understanding of business and
for a number of reasons beyond the development of
markets by the creator. For them, this focus can
direct economic profit, but there are also privately
keep resources and attention away from issues
funded research institutions and even researchers
that can make a business a success. They also
looking for research only to expand the knowledge.
add that the private sector deems the project to be attractive not only for technology but also
This discussion refers again to the barriers in
for management, market, liquidity and project
the relations between the three propellers and
structure in that order of priority. But often the
also to the problems found in the Branscomb &
invention does not have a team of managers
Auerswald (2001) research gap. According to
capable of bringing the invention to market.
Table S-1. Key Characteristics & Perspectives of Public and Private Sector Investors Public Sector Investors
Private Sector Investors
!" Develop promising technology options that meet public sector needs by reducing early technology risks that private sector investors would otherwise not assume !" Private sector will subsequently exercise its option to invest !" Technology Focused development of high quality innovations o Early, high risk RD&D o Technology performance and cost reduction o Technology certification and performance verification !" Technical showstoppers
!" Profitable investments in technology based businesses that address real market needs investments that are technology neutral within the context of meeting customer needs
Other key contributing investor insights / expertise / strengths
!" Technology based perspectives on: o Capabilities, benefits and applications o Technical competition (possible) !" Macro market perspectives on energy needs and trends !" Perspective on public policy and public good needs & trends, as well as the potential to impact !" Standards development
!" Business and Financial perspectives on: o Market driven, customer benefits o Broader (beyond energy) sets of industry applications o Market competition !" Specific market perspectives and trends for energy and other applications including market beachhead, and entry strategies !" Ability to factor public policy impacts into investment and business formation decisions effectively
Key constraints on collaborations
!" Investment collaborations must abide by governmental regulations including those for fairness of opportunities, and not competing with the private sector !" Commercialization viewed as responsibility of private sector !" Collaborations that accelerate the deployment and use of the technology in which the public sector invests
!" Investment collaborations should reduce the risk and improve the profitability of investments
Key enablers needed
Differences in funding Process
!" Competitive written proposals judged mainly by a technology focused review team; decisions sometimes appealed !" Non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) not unusual
!" Technology is commercialized and public good goals are met including energy diversity, security, and environmental protection !" Public sector has no direct ownership
!" Early, prudent investments in market focused businesses that emphasize: o Strong management teams o Products - not technologies o Market development and access to these markets; customer driven !"
Customer and market showstoppers
!" Access to the information, people, knowledge and data necessary for sound investments !" Entrepreneurs that are predisposed to, and/or already focused on, market /customer product and business development issues !" Final decisions based in large part on presentations by management team; supported by extensive due diligence; decisions seldom reconsidered and not subject to review by higher authority !" NDA’s very rarely used !" Profit through capital appreciation, i.e., increase in value of ownership stake. Profits are often realized at later investment stages through an exit strategy
Figure 5. private public Source: Murphy e Edwards For their part, and DOE and sector NREL investors’perspectives. are often constrained, by public policy and (2003) legal
mandates, to treat commercialization as the responsibility of the private sector – public sector managers know they can’t be perceived as picking winners and losers in the marketplace. Rather, the public sector sees its role as funding high-risk, long-term research and occasionally funding cost-
OVERCOMING THE VALLEY OF DEATH These observations are in line with the article by
Jucevicius et al. (2016) argues that even the
Muth and Rosenzweig (2016), which emphasizes the
healthiest ecosystems can not eliminate
difficulty of academic professionals in recognizing
the Valley of Death, but because they have
the commercial potential of scientific discoveries
a balance between demand and supply of
due to the lack of effective training on the subject.
solutions, they can minimize its effects.
Even when this potential is recognized, it is common that the end result of scientific research is just a
For Murphy and Edwards (2003), there are 3 major
patent, which is often left untouched by the lack of
challenges to overcoming the Valley of Death:
interest of academia or companies in pursuing the development and commercialization of technology.
Reduce discrepancies and asymmetries of
information between public and private sectors; In the information and trust gap, Murphy
and Edwards (2003) point out that there are
focus to market focus;
asymmetries of values between the public and
private sectors, which have only a vague notion of
partnerships with the private sector.
Encourage an accelerated shift from technology Explore and develop new cooperative investment
what motivates each one. For example, the public sector believes that the private sector will invest
The authors acknowledge that challenges and
depending on the quality of the technology. After
solutions are often interrelated. This may be
the creation of the technology, the public sector
a reason to associate them with each of the
believes that it is not its role to continue investing
shortcomings presented by Branscomb &
in the idea so that it can be commercialized and
Auerswald (2001), for example, the information
left in the hands of private investors to evaluate
and confidence gap can be overcome through the
what is good for the market. But to invest, the
recommendations of Murphy and Edwards (2003)
private sector is actually looking for safer projects
to reduce asymmetries among the players:
with high financial returns and robust markets. The authors add that none of the sectors believe
that it is their role to support the transition to
between the public sector, industry and investors. By
commercialization. Therefore, the challenge
working on good relationships between stakeholders,
is to grow from academic production with a
this helps to leverage investors’ knowledge of market
focus on technology to focus on the market.
identification and creation and can reduce time to
Encourage early and frequent interactions
market and the size of the Valley of Death; Other asymmetries involve the requirement of
confidentiality on the part of companies, which
assistance, and information as public domain on the
prevent the sharing of academic discoveries
macro-level market and technical data;
with society. While universities maintain a
disregard for the needs of the productive
private sector investors to access public technology
sector, this in turn focuses on competitive
programs and their managers in advance, in addition
advantages and profit, mostly sought in the
to data and related insights within the constraints of
short term (Murphy and Edwards, 2003).
the public sector;
Provide investors with advice and technical
Establish appropriate procedures that enable
Include the opinion of private investors on the
Muth and Rosenzweig (2016) argue that although
valuation criteria that public investors use to select
American programs to encourage academic
their investments, improving their ability to invest.
inventions are quite successful, “there is a growing realization that the time lag between initial scientific discovery and the development and introduction
On this gap, HCSTC (2013) looked at the
of technologies or products to the market remains
entrepreneurship environment in UK universities
Very large - in many cases, about 20 years! “.
and concluded that companies need to feel
According to Brito Cruz in an interview with Globo
the government’s confidence in these policies
University in 2013, in order for the bases of future
so that support for innovation in the future is
development to be solid and the benefits of the
clear. Creating the right environment requires
medium term also happen, a country’s research
the encouragement of research, intellectual
portfolio must have a balanced content between
property and the building of effective policies.
applied research and fundamental research, In Brazil, where companies invest little in research.
For HCSTC (2013), the prolonged presence of industry people with reasonable funds within
Even so, technology transfer offices, technology
colleges would facilitate a greater understanding
parks, business incubators have been created at
of business imperatives and the most effective
the interface between universities, companies
ways of involving university resources. However,
and the market with the purpose of conducting
the study recognizes that a very aggressive
basic research, but with industrial relevance in
innovation agenda should not be imposed on the
Brazil (SBRAGIA, 2006). For Jucevicius et al.
academy because it can undermine the quality
(2016), emerging ecosystems should not be based
of teaching and research. Finally, it is important
on the institutionalist approach, for even with its
that the strategy is not fragmented but that the
advantages, the ultimate success of innovative
path to be followed to reach the market is clear.
initiatives stems from the entrepreneurial spirit, motivation and capabilities of the players in the
According to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan
system. Therefore, despite the importance of
(CURTIS, 2013), the way out of this voucher
investing in innovation support infrastructure,
would be to focus on the long-term potential of
we must continue to focus on building an
technology and the true value it can bring. Ankit
entrepreneurial culture and stronger standards of
Shukla, Director of Practice for this consultancy,
behavior. According to them, emerging ecosystems
says innovative products are different because
are able to show good practices in this area to
they do not fit into existing standards:
their more institutionalized partners, but they must refine their strategies to discover some
“Sometimes the revenue is not so obvious and
deeper patterns and a more original competitive
the return on investment (ROI) can take longer.
identity. Thus, they need to gradually complement
The important thing here is to educate end users
their entrepreneurial forces with institutions,
and society about the benefits that innovative
resources and the capacity for collective learning.
technology products can bring.”
Para ajudar a resolver a lacuna financeira, os To
by speeding up the marketing process and
help solve the financial gap, projects have some
increasing the return on investments. The
limited options to find needed funding (HCSTC,
four key elements of these programs are:
2013). One is to look for investors, such as angel investors and Venture Capital funds, which are often
international funds that gain much of the control of
opportunities for entrepreneurs to present their
the project, causing the original inventors to lose
business cases to a panel of experts and executives.
their autonomy, and above all, that resources leave
the country Prematurely, since the project could
committed to incubating and providing business
generate even more jobs and income for the country.
services to entrepreneurs in the sector. 3.
Forums similar to venture capital forums that offer
Alliance of the best incubators in the country
Directory containing contact and profile
The study states that alternatively, programs can
information for more than a dozen investors who are
try government programs as financial support,
currently interested in making quality investments
but must face the extremely bureaucratic steps,
in the industry and helping the business owner to
a fierce competition and that usually results in
become a success in the market.
only a timely aid to get the idea of the paper. The
study therefore recommends that the government
that are looking for financing opportunities,
re-examine its portfolio of interventions to
partnerships and growth, so investors can find
determine where gaps are located and ensure
technologies that combine their investments and
that funding is consistently spread across the
An online directory of companies in the industry
spectrum of small to large business needs. Murphy and Edwards (2003) argue that new
As for the research gap, Murphy and
co-investment partnerships with the private
Edwards (2003) advocates an accelerated
sector should be explored and developed. To do
shift to focus on the market:
this, the private sector’s risk perception needs to be reduced, such as trying to demonstrate
the effectiveness of the solution before a
and technical aspects while receiving guidance from
wider application is considered. In addition,
investors, incubators and other experts as well
recommendations can be followed to overcome
as from potential technology users and product
the other two gaps - research and information and
trust. For example, providing investors with more
technical knowledge, giving investors access to
the progress of the idea toward additional goals and
early-stage public sector ventures, among others.
milestones that address its feasibility. For example,
Encourage companies to develop both business
Continue to offer public funding depending on
these milestones may be linked to receiving invitations According to the authors, in the US, business
to presentations in forums, being accepted into an
development programs act as catalysts for
incubator, obtaining a substantial licensing agreement,
promoting bonds and partnerships between
investors, entrepreneurs and other players
in the marketing process. These partnerships
opportunities in a timely manner before competition
can help reduce the risk of new investments
can overcome them, and analyze how public sector
Promote creators’ ability to respond to market
requirements for cost sharing may be limiting such
entrepreneurship opportunities, stimulating the
development of entrepreneurial ideas that can later
Encourage the development of technologies that
be allocated to programs for students and academic
are platforms for multiple applications and products
to increase the value of technologies and reduce the
risk to the private sector;
coaching sessions that support startups teams
Encourage ventures to access and use the best
Provide access to counseling, coaching and
to compose and learn the right mix of skills and
business development experience available, including
knowledge for their endeavor;
that available in incubators.
Create a collaborative network of investors,
managers and advisors to help beginners gain access to resources and build social capital; HCSTC (2013) concludes that the key stages in
bringing academic innovation further include
governing the university’s spin-off process, to improve
identifying the ideas worth investing in, finding the
the fair treatment of the parties involved, and to
means to finance it, and providing the necessary
separate the spin-off process from academic and
technological and human capacity. As resources
teaching research; and
are scarce, it is important to find the winners,
that is, the ventures and ideas that will use the
entrepreneurship through the creation of rules and
resources in the best possible way. The paper
examples that motivate entrepreneurial behavior.
To clearly define the rules and procedures
To shape university culture so that it reinforces
questions the UK government’s choice criteria, opting only for safe, well-presented investments, and ignoring the most interesting ideas. The
In the context of the Dutch institutions, these
government must take into account the sector
guidelines have configured success factors in the
of the economy that it intends to stimulate as
commercialization of projects. In analyzing this
a criterion in the selection of the “winners”.
Dutch study, Barr et al. (2009) sought to analyze the teaching process of NPD and its commercialization
To generate innovations it is important to know how
in the context of a North American university.
to produce relevant inventions in the university.
The term COT (Commercialization of Technology)
In this context, an important paper on this was
is widely used to describe this process in the
written by Van Burg et al. (2009) defending five
specialized literature. The Americans conclude
pillars for success in creating university spin-offs.
that most of the elements proposed by Van
Spin-off, in this case, is the term used to designate
Burg et al. (2009) are present in their academic
a new venture that was born from a research group
program, with the exception of the fourth point,
of a university with the purpose of exploring a
which advocates the teaching and research
new product or service. According to the study, an
division of the university’s spin-off, because they
infrastructure for the creation of spin-offs, which
think the spin-off process is useful for teaching
includes a collaborative network of investors,
students technological entrepreneurship.
managers and advisors, should be created first, and then follow the following guidelines:
Barr et al. (2009) also conclude that “the use of real technologies in a team environment, with
To raise awareness in the institution about
content and specialists who support teams, allows
students to be fully involved in the early stages of
all members to make evolution easier; Work for
the TOC process, than in an education based more
longer and more spaced periods of time than several
tradition In case studies or in creating business
smaller and more frequent periods; Emphasize the
plans around an existing business concept. “ These
importance of the business model at all stages;
initial phases are the most crucial for the creation
Work with diversity in the team, among others.
of value proposition, in which the ideal relationship between technology-product-market is identified. This relationship allows students to start from technology, but quickly seeks to understand the decisive role in the commercialization of product and market forces, thus effectively integrating two important concepts of business logic: “technology push” and “market pull”. In the North American context, four are the requirements to build an academic program geared toward developing innovations for the market. According to Barr et al. (2009), the program should be: »»
Real: the opportunity to create entrepreneurship
must be perceived as authentic by the students from the beginning, and students who do not have this ambition must be aware of this in enrollment; »»
Intensive: initial research efforts should be
strengthened mainly in the early stages to build consistent proposals that will stand up to the obstacles that will come in the next stages; »»
Interdisciplinary: working with people from
different areas helps to create an environment where everyone is ignorant in at least some area of knowledge and fosters openness to learn new skills; »»
Iterative: the nonlinear process forces students
to become accustomed to reviewing decisions as surprises happen, reinforcing project effectiveness and avoiding underestimation of scope;
The document also complements the list with other suggestions such as splitting the project into small steps with tasks explicitly presented to
THE USP CONTEXT Within the discussion of the university’s role, one
passed to the project groups during the courses. It
must study the context in which the Retrolley
is common to see people with quite different skills
project was born. In the context of the University of
and career goals composing the same project team.
São Paulo (USP), in 2006, the graduation course in Design was implemented, based on the suggestion
In spite of being a FAU course, it also has the
of creation and allocation of this course at the
collaborations of the Polytechnic School (Poli-USP),
Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU-USP),
the School of Communications and Arts (ECA-USP)
made by the Federation of Industries of the State
and the Faculty of Economics and Administration of
of São Paulo (FIESP) to the Secretariat of Science
the University of São Paulo (FEA-USP ), Which gives
and Technology and Economic Development of
the formation a very multidisciplinary character,
the State of São Paulo. As noted, the industry
characteristic of the field of Design. For example,
itself called for the university to create more
the academic project that is the object of study of
competent people to respond to the challenges
this work resulted from the scope of integrated
of market design. The FAU-USP program has a
design courses of the Design course during the
comprehensive field training, with no specific
second semester of 2011. The discipline Project
skills in Visual Design or Product Design. Because
of Product IV - Transportation (AUP-2408) was
it is a panoramic field course, this in a way gives
offered by Prof . Dr. Robinson Salata and was
students a certain heterogeneity, which can be
integrated to the discipline of Product Engineering
Figure 6. University of Sao Paulo, Butantã campus. Source: author
Project II (PRO-2718) offered by Prof. Dr. Fausto
gradually multidisciplinary teams collaborating
Mascia of Poli-USP. The subject of the semester was
to generate innovation. Therefore, the University
work and the context of the disciplines planned to
of SĂŁo Paulo in recent years has created some
elaborate a design project to solve some problem
disciplines that encompass students from various
of the aeronautical industry. The same work for
courses for a common goal, such as the 7600001
these disciplines should also be presented in the
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship discipline,
discipline of Ergonomics I - taught by Profa. Dr. Uiara
promoted by the USP Innovation Agency (AUSPIN),
Montedo, also from Poli-USP. The integration of
with a workload divided between Online and
materials has the advantage of being able to produce
in person. In addition, the Integrated Product
more complete projects, which cover different
Development discipline offered by the Polytechnic
areas, so a more holistic Design thinking is needed.
School of USP (Poli-USP), more specifically by the Department of Production Engineering, is
Even so, it is important to note that because it is a
a good example of multidisciplinary teaching
Design course, the technical skills of other areas
to generate product development. This course,
such as Engineering and Marketing are taught only
inspired by ME310 Design Innovation at Stanford
superficially, since they are not the focus. Thus,
University, California, brings together students
although it is possible to achieve a high degree of
from diverse courses in multidisciplinary groups
development in product design, often when the
to solve a problem usually posed by a company or
proposal is innovative and requires the application
organization. The quality of the professionals that
of technology in an unconventional way, the final
the university shape increases as they come into
proposals are somewhat incomplete. This fact
contact with the process of product development
in itself does not greatly affect the training of
with real requirements. When designing for
students, but for most complex products, it does
existing business limitations, design can go out
not offer the necessary instruments for a project in
of the conceptual phase and really be doable
a discipline to result in a complete product, closer
with local conditions. However, even with the
to reality to be produced, presented to a potential
participation of companies, the projects face great
manufacturer Or at least protected by patent
obstacles in order to be implemented in reality.
more effectively. As a lawyer interview, a product that results only from a design project can hardly achieve effective protection over the idea, without a company being able to copy by altering just a few elements, as will be discussed further below. The multidisciplinarity of the FAU-USP Design course makes the students have contact with teachers from other areas, but the lack of contact with students from other careers composing a project group is detrimental in preparing students adequately for the reality of the market , With
THE PROJECT IN THE ACADEMY
Figure 7. team members. Source: author
As previously mentioned, the object of study
products and services. In areas where technical
of this work is an academic project originated
constraints are extremely rigid, designing the
from two compulsory subjects of the FAUUSP
equipment is almost entirely done by technical
Design course grid in the second semester of
people - such as engineers, technologists,
2011 - Product Design IV - Transport and Product
standards experts - making radical innovations
Engineering Project II. Since the theme of the
brought not by design - because they are more
semester was work, students should form groups
difficult to implement - but by technology.
of up to 5 members to develop a design project that solved some problem of the aeronautical
Using design methods such as Human-Centered
industry, focusing on the activities of the workers.
Design and the methods cited by Baxter (1998), students were encouraged by teachers to follow
During this six-month project, students were
the basic structure of Design methods:
challenged to look to the aviation industry to find a problem with potential innovation opportunity.
Identify the problem
Aviation industry companies are heavily reliant
Analyse the data
on innovation to remain relevant in the market.
However, this is an industry that is also heavily
Troubleshoot the problem
regulated by international bodies, which can cause a number of limitations on the design of
UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM They thus developed a project that could help
During the research, in addition to the interviews,
significantly reduce a problem while bringing
several articles and information were found from
benefits to players throughout the chain.
different sources dealing with the problem of disposal in airlines and airports. In a February
After visiting the factory of Embraer, a Brazilian
2010 issue, The New York Times published a story
manufacturer of aircraft, the international airports
on the subject, in which it denounced the lack of
of Congonhas and Guarulhos, and talking to various
zeal of the air system as a whole to address the
players in the airline industry (pilots, passengers,
environmental problem. It is an industry based
commissioners, among others) what most attracted
on high consumption of fossil fuels and leaves
the attention of the group were the various
a great “environmental footprint” on the planet.
comments And complaints about waste and its
Airports and airlines should, according to the
management. With more in-depth research, both
newspaper, create programs that can reduce
with desk research and field research, the group
this impact through better management of their
concluded that collecting, managing and recycling
waste. Despite the pressure from both clients,
passenger waste was a very problematic and
employees and the media have increased in recent
unsatisfactory part of the industry, thus a fertile
years, the current numbers remain disastrous.
ground for improvement and innovation. Therefore, the group formed by the students Lucas Otsuka,
The same article cites data collected in the
Lucas Neumann, Maki Shintate, Tadeu Omae and
United States that estimate that less than 20% of
Denise Ikuno decided to look for a solution for
the waste produced at the country’s airports is
the wastes collected during the flight, especially
recycled, which is even lower than the country’s
regarding the work of the commissioners today.
31% annual recycling average. Only aluminum cans discarded annually at American airports
These same disciplines were also studied by another
would provide enough raw material for the
group of students, who chose to address the
construction of 58 Boeing 737 aircraft. In 2004,
problem of loading luggage on airplanes. This project
9,000 tons of plastic were discarded. Projections
also managed to elaborate an innovative solution
show, for example, that a recycling rate of 70%
and will be better addressed in this paper later.
of this material would be equivalent to removing 80,000 vehicles from American roads. An extensive report published by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in 2006 suggests that airlines could save more than $ 100,000 per year through recycling and waste management. This same study also states that there is not only one culprit in the issue of waste management, but rather a shared responsibility between all parties involved in the ecosystem, which in this case are airports, airlines, suppliers,
Figure 8. meal in a TAP flight. Source: author
Figure 9. waste generated in-flight. Source: author
Figure 10. meal example. Source: Airline Meals
Figure 11. meal example. Source: Airline Meals
Figure 12. trolley at a TAM flight. Source: Retrolley
Figure 13. meal during a flight by TAM. Source: Retrolley
municipalities, private waste companies and
Obviously, although necessary, on-board screening
agencies Of national security. Half of the waste is
can bring a host of new concerns for airlines. Most
produced by airlines, while the other half comes
of them and their crew know that the lack of space
from the airports themselves, such as toilets, shops,
on the aircraft as well as lack of time both for air
restaurants and offices. For example, it would be
and ground procedures are the main limitations
of no use, for example, the selective collection of
to the practice of recycling does not happen.
materials in flight if there is no proper collection service on the ground. And the opposite is also
The catering companies that receive this waste then
true, as the separation of the garbage in the early
end up spending a lot of resources to send the waste
stages of its disposal is what streamlines the
to an incineration company, and the recyclable
process on land and makes it viable. Otherwise,
part, which costs nothing to be withdrawn by
according to the report, the system does not work.
recycling companies, ends up being tiny.
According to the Airport Council International,
Even with the hurdles, not only airlines, but
aircraft waste management, despite traveling
corporations and communities are looking for
thousands of miles across the globe, is a
changes. Delta Airlines and Virgin America have
local problem, given the importance of land
already developed a number of procedures to
infrastructure. Each airport has its peculiarities and
improve their recycling rates. Toyota North America
spatial organization, which makes a standardized
has already achieved its goal of sending less than 5%
collection protocol very difficult to implement.
of its waste to landfills. They are working to expand
According to the airlines and their crew there is a
new recycling, composting and waste conversion
lack of information on the facilities of each airport,
opportunities to achieve their zero waste goal
which makes it impossible to know if sorting
in 2020. This type of strategy and commitment
recyclables on board is necessary or only a waste of
shows that there is a major environmental concern
time, since if the terrestrial infrastructure is non-
going on and people are moving with the cause.
existent, everything will be mixed again at the end. A very important actor in this context is the set of standards present in Animal By-products Regulations (2005) which places restrictions on how International catering waste (Cat 1 ICW) should be handled, stored and discarded in order to prevent the spread of diseases . Where there is any type or by-product of meat or fish, the entire waste bag is considered contaminated and requires incineration. Therefore, for any material used in flight to be recycled, it is imperative that the sorting of waste is carried out on board, avoiding that the recyclable materials come into contact with animal by-products.
THE USERS Waste management in civil aviation depends largely
in cases of cleaning and sanitation, and trolleys
on trolleys, which is an English term meaning
leaving the aircraft are only those carrying food,
stroller. They are used inside the aircraft both for
the responsibility of the catering company. They
food supply and for collecting waste. This work
also said that the two garbage trolleys on Embraer
is mostly performed by commissioners. Thus, the
model 190 and 195 airplanes are often not
end-users of the solution would mainly be airline
enough to collect the waste from all passengers.
flight attendants with on-board service. There are also employees of cleaning companies inside the
All respondents agreed that waste collection was
plane, airport commissioner services, employees
usually rushed due to time and space constraints.
of Catering companies, among others. For the
Some companies do not use trolleys in the hallway
discipline, the students got some interviews with
and their stewards pass just by holding plastic
stewards and employees of a catering company.
bags wearing gloves. These bags are then taken to the kitchen where they will be deposited in the
In October 2011, the group interviewed some
trash (a full-size trolley) or on an electric trash
commissioners from the company TAM (now
compactor. There is no separation of recyclable
Latam) and Azul, who passed on to the team
materials in this procedure, the only things that
information on procedures and waste on board.
are separate are cutlery, crockery and large
Among other matters discussed, they noted that
bottles that are stored in the trolleys used for
garbage trolleys do not leave the aircraft, only
meals, collected by the catering company.
A330 / A340
A319 / 320
A319 / 320
Gate Gourmet Catering
A319 / 320
S. J. Campos
Figure 14. list of interviews. Source: author
Figure 15. list of organizations visited. Source: author
Figure 16. grup visiting Congonhas Airport. Source: Retrolley
Figure 17. stewards sorting recyclables after meal. Source: G1
FIELD RESEARCH Even with the interviews, there were still several
for some time and the weight of the trolleys
new doubts, increasingly specific, ranging
also depends on the airlines. The calculation
from simple tasks of the routine of the users,
is done according to the balancing of the
which needed to be explained in more detail, to
airplane (galleys, crew, fuel, passenger, etc.).
particularities of the logistics performed for food
Galley is the term used to designate the aircraft
and garbage in the aircraft of different companies.
kitchen, where food is stored and prepared
It was then necessary to meet with people from
It is important to note that no hot food comes
different specialties of the airline industry to
out of the company except soup and other hot
expose the group’s first ideas about the product
liquids that come in thermal bottles, even foods
and identify possible problems that had not been
that are served hot to the passenger, leave the
thought out. The group contacted Gate Gourmet
catering company refrigerated and only on the
catering company - responsible for the service
aircraft is they are heated in the oven . Usually
on airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Air
it is the airlines that provide the packaging,
Lines - in October 2011. This visit made possible
both disposable and dishwasher safe. There are
the knowledge of the materials (packaging,
rarer cases where outsourcing occurs, that is,
dishes, disposables) that are normally used in
the packaging is bought from other suppliers;
the service. The process of preparing the food. Due to the limited number of vacancies, only
From the airline’s point of view, it is beneficial
two members of the group were present and
to provide your own packaging for the sake
the visit was led by the quality manager and the
of design while maintaining a standardized
company’s administrative coordinator. As is often
language consistent with your identity. Keeping
the case with corporate visits, it was not possible
its own packaging in circulation helps the
to record any photos or video of the visit.
company to increase its credibility among customers, demonstrating care and quality
It was found that the production of food takes place
in the products supplied to passengers;
according to the requirements of the customers, that is, of the airlines. Each company has its own menu
Large companies such as Gate Gourmet serve
and usually the meal cycle changes each month.
more than one airline, so the supplied packages are stored separately by airline, as well as cutlery and
There are meals that are mounted directly on trays
crockery, which are sanitized at Gate Gourmet.
- which will be stored in the food trolley - and are usually the meals of the crew. Others are assembled
For hot meals on board, dishes can be used,
on the plane by the stewards, in which case the
“hot” - a term used in the area of a luminum
plates are placed separately on the trolleys.
packaging - and packages of melanin. The latter is also not disposable, but returnable,
About the logistics, some trolleys have dry ice
and if heated alone can melt, but by containing
in an attempt to keep the temperature low
food it remains in its original form.
As it was found that the airline has the power to
The liquids that remain in the bottles have two
decide on most of the elements that influence the
destinations: either they keep in the bottle
design of the current trolleys, the group decided
or they are thrown into a sink that throws
to look for the contact of some of them. The only
the liquid out of the airplane, spraying it. The
one that was successful was Gol, who designated
company does not use beverage cans to serve
Memory Gol to summon the professionals
passengers, which is a specific decision of the
needed for a visit. A meeting was scheduled for
company, and the juices left in the box of TetraPak
November 2011, in the company’s building in
are not discarded but used in other smaller
São Paulo, where it was possible to discuss with
flights, ie do not throw the juice left out.
different professionals issues related to the waste collection process. For security reasons, it was not
To obtain a parameter for all the information
possible to authorize a visit to an actual aircraft
discussed in the interview, an example of a
cabin, or even access to trolley storage areas.
188-passenger flight from an overhead bridge was used as an example. Thus, the collection of
During the visit, the group obtained more specific
waste occurs twice: once after passing the food
data on the volume, weights, quantities of food and
cart, and another few minutes before landing.
also on the system of collection of waste. However,
These gatherings last, on average, 10 minutes.
it should be noted that they refer to the systems that
The second pickup is made only with a tote
Gol uses, with some points that are specific to the
bag without the trolley, ie two commissioners
airline, but which were useful for the group, since it
pass through the aisle holding a tote bag by the
was the first time direct contact happened, involving
hand, and after that, it is stored in the toilet.
the Group with problems and punctual situations that, in fact, appear in an air trip. There were two
On average, between 1 and 3 disposable cups per
persons responsible for cleaning the aircraft, as well
passenger are consumed, and all these numbers
as the chief of commissioners and a flight attendant.
are usually exactly the amount consumed, so as not to generate overweight on the plane.
It was discovered that there are 3 types of waste inside the aircraft:
Normally, there are two waste trolleys in the aircraft - one in the front galley and the other
aircraft waste, collected in trolleys;
cleaning companies waste and
catering company waste, such as packaging that is
2 L PET bottle
are: bottles of soda, juice, glasses, napkins
Tetra Pak boxes
and packaging, the rest of the collection
1,5 L water bottles
collected by the catering companies, who return to it. At Gol, the waste that the trolleys collect
is made by the Catering company. Figure 18. waste composition supplied by GOL.
Figure 19. waste inside a trolley during a regular
Figure 20. trolley with meal trays inside a galley.
flight. Source: interviewee
in the back - and two fixed dumps - one in the
Interestingly, the company even mentioned
other rear. To discharge the waste, only the bags
that it has a trash separation trolley
leave the aircraft after landing, the garbage
project, but with Infraero’s unsustainable
trolleys only leave the aircraft for sanitation.
policy, the project was stopped.
BENCHMARKING To better understand the problems faced by
of space by pushing with the own hands the trash
workers, it was crucial to know the options of
trolleys in the market today. Current trolleys are
Non-intuitive door locking;
produced by a few multinational companies, with
The need to change the garbage bag during the
Zodiac Corporation being the most important.
journey, which implies a second compartment to
A little smaller companies like Iacobucci also
house the first one;
have a portion of the international market. In addition, there are electric waste compactors installed in galleys that can be used in addition
It is important to note that there are basically two
to trolleys to reduce the volume of waste.
predominant types of galleys on the market, the so-called ATLAS and KSSU, and they interfere
The choice of lightweight materials is justified so as
with the trolley models that can be used in
not to compromise the flight of the aircraft, but it is
them. The difference between these types is
also necessary that the structure of the trolleys hold
in the spacing between the shelves or drawers,
the entire weight of the food trays or the amount of
the ATLAS type has a pattern of fittings every
litter. Thus, aluminum is a material commonly used to
60mm, or KSSU, every 30mm, ie, comparing
structure them, more specifically aviation aluminum,
the two types in a same height, the type KSSU
which has in copper and zinc the main elements of
has more shelves than the ATLAS type.
the alloy, being resistant as structural aluminum, but also with a layer of surface protection.
The KSSU type is the least used by airlines (including KLM, Swissair, United and Cathay
At the time, trolleys and market procedures were
Pacific), the vast majority (from 80 to 90%) use
studied through user observation and interviews.
ATLAS. Both types are compatible, that is, they can
The main problems faced by users were:
be exchanged between them, since they have an interchangeable system between the two types.
the height the garbage bag must be lifted to
remove it from the trolley;
In addition to analyzing the products on the market,
low quality pedals that lock during travel;
the study of ways to collect the residues on board
displacement of the trolley made difficult by not
has been studied. It has been found that collecting
presenting any type of retreat for the steps; »»
absence of a container to discard liquids, having
the waste generated by on-board services is a challenge that runs up against the problems of:
to throw them in the bathroom sink, which is neither operational nor practical during the collection of
waste from the passengers;
diversity of materials to be collected,
dafety on board and
easy filling of trolley space with large volumes
of air such as cups, metal and paper food packaging, napkins and cans. This forces the commissar to change the bags during the flight or to force the opening
In a peculiar way, the airline service Azul presents
provide a comfortable seating position, so it is often
a model of non-adhesion of the food trolley to
seen that they are supporting the tray and baskets
serve its passengers, considering that their absence
in the armchair or at the waist. In addition, noting
reduces the weight of the airplane and leaves the
the orders, then transporting the required foods,
on-board service more personal. In addition, in case
generates a continuous flow in the aisles of the
of unexpected turbulence, commissioners can move
airplane, and this can generate trays and baskets,
more easily through the corridors. Customer service
and a possible drop in food or injury. Another
is as follows: as described in the Airline Trends
problem generated by this model is that the food
article: Commissioners pass through the corridors,
takes a long time to reach the passengers, as the
noting the passengersâ€™ drink requests, which can
team gets overwhelmed with the first drink orders.
choose between four varieties of soft drinks and water, and then return with the Orders on a tray.
It has also been found that many airlines rely
Another part of the team offers some brand-name
on electric compactors, which are present
salty varieties in large baskets, also encouraging
on most A380s, and about 70% of the A330
customers to pick up as many as they wish. Airlines
/ 340, according to Airbus experts.
around the world are opting for salads rather than more complete meals to reduce the price of tickets,
The advantage is the high compression ratio, which
even in other countries not including any food, but
enables up to 1000 liters of waste (equivalent
the sale of food a la carte on board, as does Virgin
to 4 full-size carts) could be packed to 110 liters,
Airlines and their ramifications in the world.
which is a half-size trolley. However, these compressors weigh about 80 kg, have a high
This attitude of Azul is differentiated, since there
cost and use up to 1.7 kW of aircraft energy. In
are claims for the use of trolleys coming from the
addition, the airline must purchase the patented
National Union of Aeronauts (see References),
cartons in which the waste is compacted.
as well as a series of criticisms by the passengers for the consequences of the decision, reported in several blogs of critics of the service air. A disadvantage would be the fact that the trays and baskets that commissioners must carry do not
Figure 21.â€‚ half-size trolley details. Source: interviewee
ELECTRIC WASTE COMPACTOR
1 half space
1 full space
Waste Capacity in Passengers
Waste Capacity in Passengers
Figure 23. half-size trolley and its specifications.
Figure 22. Monogram waste compactor and its
specifications. Sourse: Monogram Systems - Zodiac Aerospace
PROJECT REQUIREMENTS From the problem analysis, the group generated
a list of fundamental and desirable requirements
the product when not used;
to guide the product design process. Thus, the
Be devoid of sharp edges that could harm users;
product for the collection of waste should:
Keep the material discarded safe and insulated
Keep possible moving parts secure and fixed to
from passengers’ contact; »»
Enable the selection of recyclable wastes from
Optimize space utilization within the aircraft by
integrating into the current galley system of most
Contain surfaces that are easy to clean and that
do not accumulate dirt; »»
Cover up the garbage so it is not visible to
commercial aircraft; »»
Have a maximum height of 103 cm and a maximum
width of 31 cm, so that they are compatible with the
In addition, some other desirable
features have been listed to be possibly
To allow the separation of liquid waste in an
incorporated into the project, including:
appropriate place, as well as to provide for the disposal of leftovers from the beverages;
The possibility of independent separation of
Compacting the waste, preferably manually;
aluminum cans and PET bottles;
Allowing the waste disposal operation to occur at
equal or preferably less than current time; »»
Avoid the use of electro-electronic devices,
to reduce the cost of the product, against the competition of electronic compactors, and for the energy saving of the aircraft;
Improving the way garbage is removed from the
trolley, avoiding uncomfortable movements; »»
Approximately 200 disposable cups, preferably
IDEATION With the first round of brainstorming, the group
realized that it would be better to choose simpler
came up with different proposals with a variety of
solutions, without having to replan the entire
approaches. Brainstorming, analogies, and other
airplane to be implemented, and if possible,
methods of ideation were used and allowed the
without using electronic or electrical equipment,
group to seek to innovate in each of the proposals
which would add complexity to the product. The
to generate interesting solutions. Some of them
almost standardized way in which the service is
included individual garbage in the passenger seat,
implemented in all companies - when it refers
so that they themselves could collect and organize
to the equipment used - already gives room for
the garbage; Or a railing system that would allow
a better solution to be found within the system
the trolleys to get around the airplane better; Or
itself, since it is very deficient. Soon, the group
an improvement of the garbage reception galley.
chose to keep the project within the limits of the redesign of the garbage collector itself, and in a
As they began to select ideas, the group soon
second round, generated ideas within this concept.
Figure 24.â€‚ sketches. Source: Retrolley
Figure 25. sketches. Source: Retrolley
Figure 26. test with cups. Source: Retrolley
Figure 27. test with cans. Source: Retrolley
The shape of the cart can be changed as long as
model. As Buxton (2007) states, “sketches are
the points in which it is docked in the galley are
social tools”. This type of rapid communication was
present, the half-size cart model, which takes up
also powerful among designers and engineers
half the space of a full-size dining cart, has been
in the post-discipline prototyping phase.
adopted as a volumetric limit, opening Space in the galley if the waste is stored efficiently.
From the problems found with the first model, made of cardboard, the group decided to build
The problem is basically logistic and volume, so
a model that offered more credibility to the
the group decided to set up a fast cardboard
compaction system. In order for the second
model, to carry out tests with garbage and think
model to be more reliable in terms of the
constructively. The first tests consisted of learning
grouping principle, a model was developed that
more about the volume of waste. An equivalent
would allow better structural and functional
amount of material - 200 plastic cups and 100 paper
analysis of the design with more resistant
napkins - was collected randomly into the carton.
materials: MDF, acrylic and aluminum profiles.
The observed result is that the trash occupies a volume much larger than expected, and even did
In this model, a garbage compaction system
not fit in the box. The next step was to perform
was built along with a rail that guided the front
the same experiment, but this time organizing
door. In it were compaction tests with waste that
the cups in a stack, and the result was plenty of
could be found in a garbage trolley (packages
room for other wastes. The same procedure was
of processed foods, plastic cups and napkins)
performed with kneaded cans to reduce the volume.
and, in fact, it was concluded that the system would function as imagined by the group. It is
Following these steps, the group conducted
important to note that debris within the main
the model studies of how their compartments
compartment does not escape above the trolley
and devices would be, positioning the stack
when the volume is compacted due to the rubbing
at the back, closest to the user, along with a
of the waste materials. Only then would such an
conceptual aluminum tinsmith; And in the
idea be possible without essentially depending
front part the compartment for the rest of the
on an upper port at the time of compaction.
common garbage, separated in dry and humid. With the advancement of the analysis of the built As far as the compaction of the waste bags
model, it was possible to add more elements to
is concerned, by means of an extendable
the trolley design, such as the remaining liquid
compartment, it would be possible to increase
accumulation in the containers, the storage
the useful area of t he trolley, so that more
gallon of these liquids and the compartment
trash could be discarded, and then compacted,
of the crushed cans. Four castors were also
returning the cart to its original volume.
attached to the bottom of the model. Thus it was possible to verify its movement and stability
The group also generated several sketches
with the compaction system already installed.
as a way of communicating and generating ideas. Through them, it was possible to test the
This second scale model was essential for the
configurations to be tested in the constructed
discussion and choice of the proposed solutions.
Aspects of compaction, volume of elements, heights and comfortable dimensions for the user, and some other questions that still remained open, could only be solved after the tests with this MDF model.
Figure 28. scheme of the waste compaction
principle. Source: Retrolley
Figure 29. model de papelão aberto com resíduos.
Figure 30. model de papelão compactado com
resíduos. Source: Retrolley
Figure 31. opened wood model. Source: Retrolley
Figure 32. manual compaction in the wood
model. Source: Retrolley
Figure 33. wood model with waste inside. Source: Retrolley
Figure 34.â€‚ opened and closed trolley. Source: Retrolley
Figure 35.â€‚ color variations of the trolley. Source: Retrolley
THE SOLUTION As a result of the conclusions from the stages of
safe operation, since the latches at the bottom of
ideation and prototyping, the group finally came
each compartment prevent them from detaching
up with a proposal for the trolley. It uses a half-size
from the trolley in the event of turbulence.
format already found in the current system and allows separation of the various types of waste
The upper interface consists of a small tray
into compartments. Operation is performed by the
near the user, where it can separate cups and
user through the top and rear interfaces, which
liquids, and the main compartment, further
have specific parts for stacking cups, a sink for
forward, where she separates the recyclables
receiving liquids and ice, a can crusher and the
from the organic waste into two bags.
main compartment for garbage compaction. Stacking cups in two towers is a simple solution to The rear part exposes three compartments: for
lessen the large space they occupy when they are
cups, liquids and cans. They were designed as
simply dumped in bags. Thus, the space occupied
simple injected plastic containers with handles that
by them is much smaller and already separates
facilitate their handling. This allows for quick and
them from the remaining materials. The height of
organic waste bags
recyclable waste bags
sink for liquids cups dispenser
Figure 36.â€‚ top view of the trolley. Source: Retrolley
Figure 37.â€‚ back view of the trolley. Source: Retrolley
Figure 38. cups & liquids containers. Source: Retrolley
Figure 39. plastic containers. Source: Retrolley
the towers (40cm) comprises 200 glasses in total.
the other containers in the trolley design. Also, discarding the bottle itself would increase
Because liquids are currently being disposed
the number of steps before recycling.
directly in bags or aircraft sinks, the trolley design offers a smarter solution with a container to isolate
In addition to these containers, a telescopic
this waste. It should support at least the average
handlebar provides comfort, to push the trolley
volume of liquids estimated by the group, which
from sufficient distance from the body. Pushing
is approximately 1.4 liters. If it exceeds it, the
the button in the center of the handlebar releases
container could be easily dislodged from the trolley
it, like travel bags mechanisms. The handlebar
and emptied in the bathroom sink. This container
also controls the waste compaction mechanism
also has a handle to facilitate its removal from the
in the main compartment. For this, the user
trolley and thus enable the disposal of liquids.
presses the two lateral buttons. Their texture was thought to be different from the handle so
There is also a sink and a lid which isolate the
to indicate it’s location only through touch.
container from spilling liquids upwards. The lid can be operated by a slider-type button on the side of
After unlocking the side buttons, the user raises the
the sink. The button prevents the direct contact
handlebar about 10 or 15 cm and, when lowering
of the flight attendants with the cover, which
it, the front door is brought back, compressing
could get dirty easily. The lid is also important
the bags inside the compartment. To reduce the
in case of turbulence, so there is no reflux. It is
required force, the movement is done two or
wide, so that the ice, still in large pieces, can pass
three times to entirely compact the waste. The
without difficulty and melt inside the bucket.
trash of the bags then loses volume, decreasing on average one third of the original volume.
The possibility of using the PET bottles themselves as a container for liquids was considered, but
The mechanism used is known in engineering
later discarded, as it would take considerable
as “ratchet”, used analogously in the bicycle hub.
space and would make it difficult to position
It can be rotated in both directions, but in only
Figure 40. compaction states. Source: author
Figure 41. expanded handlebar and opened main compatment. Source: Retrolley
Figure 42. can should be placed in horizontal
Figure 43. pedal activates the can crusher. Source:
position. Source: Retrolley
one there is the activation of the mechanism,
be despatched. The pedals have been redesigned
compacting the compartment. It is a simple
and repositioned for their best handling. While
mechanical system, that does not require
in the original trolley there were two pedals, one
electricity, fulfilling the requirements listed.
for brake and one to release the movement of the castors, in this design it is made by only one
The main compartment is therefore configured to
pedal: when it is activated, the left pedal with the
receive two waste bags side by side. The campaign
corresponding inscription brakes the trolley. When
of the Brazilian Federal Government encourages
the user steps on it again, the cart is released.
the separation of waste only between wet and dry. In this way, recycling becomes easier, for waste
The entire trolley is surrounded by high
pickers in companies, because the garbage trucks
strength structural walls. These are honeycomb
themselves often do not have separation for each
polycarbonate walls, impact and mechanical
different type of recyclables, joining them together
shock resistant. They have four linear cavities to
anyway. It was decided to use two colors, orange
structure and improve the aesthetics of the trolley.
and green, to better identify the waste, but later the group knew that this could bring some problems,
At the top, it was necessary to have a cover that
which will be explained later. This chromatic
would hold the waste when the trolley was not
scheme was chosen because it is also widely used
in operation. A sliding door (analogous to that
by different systems to differentiate between
used in the sink) was considered by the group
organic wet garbage and recyclable dry garbage.
as an option that is not very feasible, since it demands that a large space be unused for it to
After studying possible ways to fix the trash bags
be operated. A reference was found for existing
in the compartment - like magnets, cables, or even
cleaning trolleys in use in shopping malls and
just folding the edges of the bag over the edges of
hotels. This alternative was implemented in the
the compartment - a simple clipping mechanism was
project due to its practicality and pertinence.
chosen. Since the bags are made of plastic, the inner
Thus, the cover is composed of several articulated
part of the clippers is rubberized, providing greater
elements and runs through internal rails.
adhesion between the materials, in a way that makes bags unintentional removal impossible. To attach
Finally, the designed trolley carries the garbage
the bag to the clippers it is only necessary to press
volume produced by the aircraft in general, such
the catch and position the plastic bag under it.
as juice packs, magazine and newspaper papers, and also what the group estimates each passenger
In the waste, what deserved special attention
produces. In the project, it is also taken into account
was the aluminum cans, as they are economically
the volume occupied by each type of garbage,
profitable for recycling. Separating them can avoid
as well as its destination. For example, plastic
them to pierce the garbage bags. Also compacting
cups, when notorganized, take up a lot of space,
them allows more cans to be recycled. The
most of which is filled with air. Organic waste
compaction occurs horizontally and is activated by a
produced can be treated to generate fuel for the
pedal, close to the caster locking pedal. After being
aircraft itself. Some companies already invest
crushed, the can falls through a hole and arrives
in this new fuel, which is another reason for the
in a plastic container with a plastic bag, ready to
present project to be accepted by the market.
Figura 44. exploded view Source: Retrolley
Figura 45. expanded handlebar. Source: Retrolley
Figura 46. top lid. Source: author
At the end, the project was concluded in February
enough to reach the objectives of the courses.
2012, shortly after FAU common deadline, in the
After the final presentation at university, the team
middle of a troubled semester because of the USP
understood that the product concept was innovative
students strike. Until that moment, the group had
and that there was a chance that people in the
the cardboard volumetric model and another one
industry would become interested in the idea later.
slightly more evolved, made by wood, that were
Figure 47.â€‚ trolley general dimensions. Source: Retrolley
Figure 48.â€‚ use mode illustrations. Source: author
LESSONS LEARNED 1. The broad scope and the methodology applied
2. Frequent and intense meetings are
favored the creation of an innovative product
important, especially in the research phase
In spite of the atypical semester, the group
The process of searching for the final solution was
managed to achieve a good degree of innovation
quite complete and intense, and included data
in an academic project, mainly because the
collection, data processing, ideation, prototyping
disciplines did not only propose to solve a
and presentation. This intensity is a factor
specific problem of a company, but they allowed
mentioned in the study by Barr et al. (2009) as
the students to go further and carry out a
good practice in generating innovation, especially
broader research of the sector by then choosing
during the research phase, to identify and overcome
one of their complex challenges. As stated by
obstacles that will come in the next stages. He adds,
Nogueira (2006): “why continue to propose, as
“easier pedagogical demands seem to undermine the
theme, projects with a traditional client profile?”
mastery experience and result in students who respond less positively to the obstacles later in the course.
The proposal for waste separation in the trolley
When students experienced the first six very difficult
is not just for flight attendants and cleaners
weeks, gains in self-efficacy become robust against the
who work directly with the pickup inside the
more serious technological and business setbacks that
aircraft, but benefits the whole chain, such as
otherwise might surprise them much later in the year.”
companies and corporate recyclers who need the recyclable waste to be in certain conditions.
At this stage of the project, team members had
With this waste sorting, the cups and cans are
more time to devote to the topic and met not
ready for recycling, plastic containers will be
only during the week but also on weekends
separated and cleaned more easily and organic
when they could work for longer periods of time.
waste can properly be directed to composting.
With constant contact, the issues have been worked out thoroughly and it can be said that
Although the final proposal was not presented to the
the project has advanced at a faster pace than
companies that helped in the research phase, some
in other later phases of the project.
flight attendants saw it and gave a very positive feedback. The methodology applied proved that it
3. Fast iteration cooperates for a
is important to ask the correct questions for making
better decision making process
the right choices, in order to obtain the best possible
With the fast pace, it was possible to quickly
result within the technical and academic limitations.
iterate the project, always testing alternatives
This resulted in a product that would meet the
and evaluating them with more data brought
needs with enough quality, enabling the separation
by complementary research. Barr et al. (2009)
and compaction of commercial airlines waste, in
argues that this type of non-linear process
a practical and efficient way, when compared to
contributes to the effectiveness of the project,
the disorganization or almost indifference with
as it forces the team to review decisions as
which it is currently treated. Therefore, it can
these new data are collected, and also become
be said that it was possible to generate a project
accustomed to overcome surprising obstacles.
with innovative potential in the Academy.
4. Opting for the simplest solution helped
unable to get on a plane and observe how the
bring the solution closer to reality
flight attendants work. As a result, decisions in the
The decision to filter the alternatives according to
design were difficult by not fully understanding
simplicity was beneficial to develop a solution closer
the users and the players in context. .
to reality. Without the use of electronic or electrical equipment, the product was simpler to design and
7. Limited contact with industry professionals
more feasible to be adopted by a national aviation
caused failing to fully understand the
company, for example. This thinking would bear the
technical limitations and needs of airlines
greatest fruit in the next phases of the project.
Despite the end user being flight attendants, the paying customer would be the airlines. The contact
5. The absence of an engineer member
with players in the private sector, as Murphy and
left the product design incomplete
Edwards (2003) suggest, really happened even
Despite having professors from other USP
if in an incipient way. However, it could be better
faculties, the course at FAU-USP does not embrace
exploited not only to collect data but to better
multidisciplinary teams, due to the university’s
understand the needs of the market and mainly
own configuration. Barr et al. (2009) advocate
receive feedback on the design proposals during
working with diversity in the team to generate
the alternatives selection phase, thus increasing
innovation. The lack of an engineer member in
their chances of survival. As Muth and Rosenzweig
the group resulted in an incomplete product
(2016) argue, academic professionals find it difficult
design from the technical point of view, since
to recognize the commercial potential of ideas.
the internal mechanisms were not designed, but
In addition, the academic course did not have the
only dimensioned according the Engineering
concern of discuss the cost issue and proposing
professor’s orientation. It was not certain whether
a business model for the product. It does not
the mechanisms would really occupy the proposed
compromise the student design training, but would
space or whether it was necessary to redesign the
be important for the Valley of Death phase.
components. Thus, it was impossible to construct physical models closer to reality for more faithful
8. Model building allows more
tests with users and real scenarios. This, in fact,
effectively proposals validation
was even more impactful in the continuation
The disciplines did not require an appearance model,
of the project, as will be discussed later.
because of the large dimensions of the product, but only a volumetric model for understanding the
6. Difficulty in observing users in their
elements configuration. Large complex models are
context slows down decisions
not feasible for the reality of the Design course,
Innovating for civil aviation is not a small challenge
since students themselves must finance most of
as there are a lot of technical standards that apply.
them, especially when they involve materials not
In addition, responsibility for waste handling is a
available in college. Therefore, the final models
subject in which few players were willing to discuss.
hardly come close to the necessary fidelity of a
For this reason, as well as security concerns at
prototype, which can be presented and convince a
airports and aircraft, companies do not provide
possible manufacturer to invest in the idea. The lack
much information needed to make the project
of prototype makes the investment riskier in the
really implementable, for example, the team was
eyes of potential investors, since prototypes help
to discover important limitations that will reflect in the final design and production of the product. Although the courses are unable to help students passing through the Valley of Death later on, these details do not prevent the concept created from serving as a reference for the later development of a real product with reasonable price and production.
POST-ACADEMIC CONTEXT After handing the project to professors in
prizes at the IDEA Brazil awards, the projects
February 2012, it entered the Valley of Death. The
gain some visibility in the national design
team understood that the product concept was
community and also in certain industry sectors.
innovative, but the dream of making a product
However, no contact of possible manufacturer
for civil aviation still did not seem believable due
or airline company was conducted with the
to the industry’s numerous certifications and
student group. The members’ professional and
rules and the immense capital needed to protect
academic lives were also becoming busier and
and produce such a product. So the first strategy
the project was headed for the fateful oblivion.
adopted by the group was only to publicize and gain visibility for the project. Without much hope to produce the product, the students continued the academic course with other subjects and
FLY YOUR IDEAS 2015
the project was placed in the background. Airbus is a multinational company in the aerospace Students learned that there was an international
and defense sectors. Headquartered in Toulouse,
Airbus competition for aviation projects. Professors
France, the Airbus Group operates in more than
encouraged the groups to register, but there was
170 locations around the world. The company’s
much skepticism in the group about the viability
activities in Brazil, however, are more focused on
of the idea. It seemed very difficult to get some
helicopter manufacturing and satellite images.
relevant achievement in such a big contest with an idea about waste. All this and the team members’
The Fly Your Ideas contest is promoted by
frenetic routine ended discouraging participation
Airbus biennially and had, in the 2015 edition,
in the 2013 edition of the competition.
3,700 students enrolled in 518 groups from 104 countries. The competition unfolds for a
However, the group opted to enroll in the Idea
year from approximately May and is comprised
Brazil award, which is the Brazilian version of the
of three phases, judged by a panel of judges
famous American design award by IDSA - Industrial
composed of the company and industry experts.
Designers Society of America. It is a relatively inexpensive entry fee, which makes it much easier
As the company itself explains in a
for students to participate, and since there was no
press release on the 2015 edition:
need to have a prototype, it was not necessary to bear shipping costs. Therefore, this type of award
“Airbus launched Fly Your Ideas in 2008 to engage
is much more democratic, actually encouraging
with universities and students around the world and
new projects from different areas to appear to
from all backgrounds. FYI’s main objectives are to
the public, unlike other contests that charge
stimulate innovative ideas for a more sustainable
high fees, such as the IF Awards and Red Dot, or
aviation industry and to identify opportunities
contests that require submission of a prototype.
for Development of Research & Technology and interaction with academic research teams. The
Although the winners do not receive cash
competition, which was sponsored by UNESCO in
2012, is part of the ‘Talent’ pillar of the Future by
Airbus program - a vision of air travel in 2050.”
Encouraged by Levar group’s success, the team decided to apply for the contest in November 2014,
The previous edition of 2013 had the participation
despite the fact that most of its members were
of a group of colleagues who did the same courses
studying abroad. All groups should have an academic
at FAU-USP. The team formed by Marcos Philipson,
mentor, who in this case was Prof. Dr. Fausto Mascia.
Leonardo Akamatsu, Adriano Furtado, Caio Reis and Henrique Corazza, guided by Prof. Dr. Robinson
The group chose to enroll in the Efficiency
Salata, took the maximum prize of 30,000 euros with
category. For the inscription was also necessary
the Levar project, a design for loading and unloading
to invent a name for the team, that previously did
luggage system for aircraft compartments,
not exist, and the name Retrolley was chosen.
which reduces the workload of employees who
The suffix “Re” refers to the recycling, which is
handle baggage at airports by up to 30%.
a fundamental theme that needs to be thought for the future, while also making a connection
As part of the award, the company promoted an
with the “redesign” of an aircraft trolley.
Innovation Week at USP. As the aviation theme was proposed during the course in two consecutive
At this stage, the team needed to answer some
years, some groups were invited to present their
questions from a form about the relevance of the
concepts resulting from it. So the trolley group
product to the context of the aviation industry,
had the opportunity to present their product
as well as attach images about the project.
to an Airbus team and receive feedback from these industry experts. At the time, they judged the matter of waste quite pertinent and the
manual compaction solution was highly praised,
On December 19, 2014, the team discovered that
due to the ease of implementation, without
from the 518 teams it was one of approximately
compromising the aircraft’s electrical systems.
100 that were chosen to continue to Phase 2. At
With positive feedback, the group was encouraged
that stage, they were to elaborate the project
to sign up for the next edition of the contest.
in more detail, now also involving an Airbus mentor, who is an expert Airbus employee that
The themes of the 2015 edition were: Energy;
can help answering questions of the group. It
Efficiency; Viable Growth; Traffic Growth;
was necessary to deliver a video and a report
Passenger Experience and Community Friendliness.
on the project in English until March 30.
Although most of the teams come from programs
At this stage, the team received feedback
related to aeronautical engineering, the competition
on the points exposed in Phase 1:
is open to students from any area since they form groups of 3 to 5 people, which is why the
You described your idea clearly and accurately.
USP design students team was able to enroll.
You have shown a good knowledge of the state of
the art in your proposal area
Figure 49. first logo developed for the competition. Source: Retrolley
You have demonstrated a good understanding of
the current developments in your proposal area
they could better develop the idea. With his help until the final deadline, the team got valuable
His idea and key elements were well described
information to plan a strategy to convince the
The idea seems interesting and innovative
jury that the idea was worthy of the final.
compared to the known current practice »»
You have clearly explained the potential benefits
of your idea »»
You were able to outline the potential economic
and financial benefits of your idea »»
You have shown a good understanding of how you
want to develop your idea »»
We do not think you have sufficiently identified
When the group had specific doubts, the mentor turned to another Airbus specialist to get an answer. Thus, it was possible to discover that although Airbus does not directly manufacture trolleys, they license these types of technologies to the cabin, and they even showed an example of an on-board trash compactor they developed for licensing.
some of the challenges and barriers to implementing your idea »»
You have not demonstrated enough how you can
According to them, for Airbus, the benefits of Retrolley could be:
quantify the benefits of your idea »»
Reducing the ecological impact of air travel
In short, there were enough positive points for
Decreasing the overall weight of the aircraft,
the idea, but it was also important to identify the
which reduces fuel burn
weaknesses to be improved in the next Phase and
Reducing times between flights at the airport
how to prove the solution with more concrete
Improving the ecological image of customers
data. For this, it was necessary to complement the research, with new interviews, data about industry
It was also possible to ask precise doubts,
standards and Airbus engineers’ feedback. With
which probably the team would not have
the collection of qualitative and quantitative data
access by interviewing flight attendants,
the project became increasingly complete and
for example: How many liters of fuel are
feasible for the current reality of the airlines.
needed to transport 1 kg of waste?
In January, the team met the Airbus mentor who
According to the mentor, all trolleys must withstand
would be responsible for helping the team at that
fire and smoke safety tests for certification. ABS
Phase and talked through video-conference how
plastic may be flammable, so it should be avoided.
soiled paper, transparent PS, food and glass among others. Clean paper (such as newspapers and magazines) makes up by far the majority of waste by weight. The study suggests that all these materials could be recycled if sorting procedures were to be adopted by airlines.
3% aluminum cans
7% others 4% film plastics
32% clean paper
9% food 15% soiled paper 13% transparent PS 4% rigid plastics
Figure 50. waste composition by Li X et al. (2003). Source: Retrolley
Total waste by flight type, in kilograms FLIGHT TYPEto use aluminumTOTAL It is recommended or composite
ECONOMY C.potential BUSINESS C. FIRST will be the customers of the C. product. As
Long Haul 0.56 2.84 sandwich panels that are treated for fire resistance. 0.38presented by 1.14 the Brazilian Association of Airline Medium Haul
0.48 0.85 1.57price of a plane Companies (ABEAR), most of the
Short Haul 0.40 1stweight class concern In addition to the conversations with the mentor, the0.21ticket is made1.20 up of fuel costs, *sono the
team also found some relevant data to complement waste per passenger, inthe kilograms the Total research. An article was found on on-board
is essential for every product that will be on board.
waste composition that could be used to prove the FLIGHTofTYPE TOTAL importance the idea. According to a study by Li
It is known that a current half-size trash trolley ECONOMY C. BUSINESS FIRSTAs C.Retrolley has weighs approximately 18C. kg empty.
Haulon waste reduction and 234recycling X et Long al. (2003)
119 additional mechanisms 64 51 and compartments, the final Medium Haul 226 150 48 28 strategies for on-board services, more than 50% of weight is estimated to be around 24 kg. Although Short Haul 134 66 68 holds much more * no 1st class all aircraft cabin waste could be recycled. On most heavier, Retrolley trash in a more
flights, the waste consists of clean paper, dirty paper,
limited space, which can be a great advantage to
RETROLLEY FYI Report 2015 transparent PS,| Airbus food, glass, among others. Clean
free up space in galleys. In addition, according to
paper from newspapers and magazines, for example,
Airbus’ mentor, almost all Airbus A380 aircraft
constitute the largest weight within it. The study
models have electric waste compactors weighing
suggests that all of these materials can be recycled
approximately 80 kg. On the A330 and A340
if sorting procedures get approved by airlines.
models they are present in approximately 70% of the aircraft and can be used about 4 times in one
With the new research, other aspects in the design
flight. They can work with a compression ratio of
of the trolley gained importance, such as weight.
up to 9: 1 and take about a minute to pack a load.
Previously, in the Design course, the weight of the trolley was not such a relevant factor in the
The mentor commented that from the document
project, but after feedback from Airbus experts,
Getting to Grips with Fuel Economy, published
it was found to be a fundamental fact. The more
by Airbus in 2004, it is possible to deduce that
weight inside the plane, the more fuel it should use,
reducing 10 kg on the plane means $ 40,000 in
and therefore the higher the cost to airlines, who
savings per year for airlines. Retrolley’s proposal
Figure 51. one Retrolley replaces one full-size trolley. Source: Retrolley
is precisely to eliminate the need for those heavy
next takeoff, at least four teams ‘hit’ the plane at
compactors while taking up less space, so it
the same time: cleaning, fuel, food and luggage ...
can actually be worth for many companies.
This haste is not only a requirement of the airline, interested in leaving the plane stopped as short as
It was possible to simulate scenarios in which
possible: the pit-stop runs following rules established
Retrolley could be applied and compare them
by international aviation organizations and by sanitary
with what is currently happening, so that one
surveillance .... So they have five to ten minutes to
could get a better idea of the size of the benefit.
do their work, before the next shipment begins.”
In remaking the garbage compaction tests, the
This makes it clear that handling the Retrolley
group concluded from the calculations that it is
waste at the airport had to be done quickly and
possible that only one Retrolley would be able to
efficiently, so the group redesigned the cups
receive the same amount of waste as a current
containers and cans to hold bags to collect the
full-size trolley, occupying half the size in the galley.
waste. As the screening of the waste in the
This characteristic was then the main attraction for
airplane was necessary, this could increase the
the idea. With this advantage, aircraft companies
time of the collection procedure. The group then
and airlines could better plan their galleys for more
concluded that passengers could be advised
efficient trolleys while saving space and weight.
to already dispose of recyclable waste in order to reduce crew time. In fact, catering materials
In addition to the concern about weight, Airbus
could also be better engineered in this regard.
experts pointed out that there should be more study on the time needed for procedures. As
According to Mundo Estranho (2007), only
the “Mundo Estranho” magazine emphasizes:
Congonhas Airport in São Paulo supplies 17,000 meals a day, 90% of which are sandwiches. Special
“In the 20 minutes separating the landing from the
trucks bring the trolleys with up to 56 trays each.
Detailing the Outcomes
Retrolley had to be thought of in this context.
concept value. To better communicate the idea to
thementor public, finally the brand design was developed. In round two we worked together with our Airbus to understand, The teamon also investigated is classified based the feedback how fromwaste Round 1, our project’s main strengths and according to international standards. In 2010, final video also conceived after weaknesses. Our main task was to quantify moreThe precisely thewas benefits Sustainable Aviation document several videoconference of our ideas, so wepublished went ona to search listing for more reliable data, numbers sessions with the best theas collection of recyclable team members, twoand of whom were in exchange andpractices facts, asfor well more detailed information about procedures materials duringofthe according to Animal involvement allflight stakeholders. By-Product Regulations 2005 (CAT 1 ICW).
abroad, so they worked remotely. In the end, the video was recorded at FAU-USP, also using
Thus, the group tried to think of division of the same video clips found on the Internet to complement We verified that Retrolley is the able to hold amount of waste that a waste as itfull is practiced by the airline An explanatory using a 3D model current size trolley does, justindustry. by staking cups,it.crushing cans, video and slightly was also produced after a lot of effort and compressing the rest of the waste. According to Airbus experts, it was necessary to
everything was then sent to Airbus on time.
forecast scenarios explaining how the product would help customers on each type of flight. Therefore, it was necessary to study in detail the
architecture of each airplane of the company, the
On April 16, 2015, the team received an email
components and procedures in each type of flight.
that an Airbus team would like to hold an 2 :saying 1 urgent videoconference to clear some doubts about
In the academic context, there had been no thought
the project. So the entire team logged on. As the
of a way to offer modular compartments. But with
videoconference began, the Airbus team introduced
the help of the Airbus mentor it was discovered
themselves and asked if the team was available to
that it would be a key factor if the trolley design
be in Hamburg the following month. The group had
was adapted to suit different airlines with different
been one of five groups chosen to spend a week in
demands on their waste and procedures.
Hamburg, home to one of the company’s largest factories, to present the idea in the final. Until then,
Finally, the group managed to list the main benefits
a coach would give lessons by videoconference to
of the idea for the players in the aeronautical VS. NORMAL help the team prepare for the final presentation. COMPARISON CHART : RETROLLEY TROLLEY industry, which facilitated the trolley perception of the240L = 70kg = 100 passengers’ waste Considering a full-size holds
Qt per 100
in normal trolley
10 : 1 (Stacked)
4 : 1 (Compressed)
3 : 1 (Compressed)
Figure 52. comparison between Retrolley e full-size trolley for 100 passengers. Source: Retrolley
RETROLLEY | Airbus FYI Report 2015
CASE 01: A320, 180 PASSENGERS & 480L OF WASTE Considering a full-size trolley holds 240L = 70kg = 100 passengers EQUIPMENT OPTIONS
Galley space used
1 electronic compactor
1 full slot
2 full size trolleys
2 full slots
1 full slot
RESULT 02 full size trolleys
-1 galley slot
01 full size compactor
same qt. of galley slots*
CASE 02 : A330-300, 300 PASSENGERS & 720 L OF WASTE Considering a full-size trolley holds 240L = 70kg = 100 passengers EQUIPMENT OPTIONS
Galley space used
1 electronic compactor
1 full slot
3 full size trolleys
3 full slots
RESULT 03 full size trolleys
-1.5 galley slot
01 full size compactor
+0.5 galley slots*
CASE 03 : A380, 554 PASSENGERS & 1305L OF WASTE Considering a full-size trolley holds 240L = 70kg = 100 passengers EQUIPMENT OPTIONS
Galley space used
2 electronic compactors
2 full slot
6 full size trolleys
6 full slots
3 full spaces
RESULT 06 full size trolleys
-3 galley slots
02 electronic compactor
+1 galley slots*
* Conservative estimates do not consider waste that is stored outside compactors and use up extra space. Please keep in mind that Retrolley stores all the waste inside itself. Figure 53.â€‚ scenarios comparison. Source: Retrolley RETROLLEY | Airbus FYI Report 2015
Best practices to sorting cabin waste for recycling Upon arrival inAviation Hamburg,has thepublished students contacted to get a better of the idea. One of Sustainable in 2010 the Aircraft Cabinunderstanding Waste Airbus professionals who helped teams prepare thefor people who approached the Retrolley team Recycling Guide, in which arethe listed best practices collecting recyclables the final the presentation during flight. and get to know the company.
were two representatives of the Crystal Cabin Award, who liked the idea and would like to see it
On May 27, 2015, all finalist teams gathered at the in the next edition of the contest. The team was These procedures consider Animal By-Product Regulations 2005 (CAT Airbus building in Hamburg to finally present their very excited and was attentive for the publication 1 ICW), which puts restrictions on how the waste has to be handled in ideas to the jury and an audience of collaborators of the next tender notice for a few months. order to prevent the spread of diseases. The regulation states that every and players in the industry. After a relaxation waste bad containing products of animal origin, such as meat or honey, is session with the trainer, one by one the teams were Afterwards, the teams headed to a hotel in Hamburg considered contaminated. If the aim is for materials to be recycled after called to present in a maximum of 20 minutes. where the final celebration dinner would take landing, these items have to be separated from the recyclables during the After that, the teams and mentors were able to place announcing the awards winners. During flight. have lunch as the audience approached the groups dinner, it was possible to talk to several people
GROUP 1: RECYCLABLE MATERIALS Includes newpapers, magazines, printed paper, plastic cups, water bottles, soft drink bottles, aluminum cans, carboard boxes and packaging.
GROUP 2: ANIMAL PRODUCTS AND CONTAMINATED Includes meat and fish products and any material in contact with it. Also tetrapak packaging, used napkins, shrink wrap plastic and other composite materials
GROUP 3: CATERING MATERIAL These are materials used during serving and that go immediately back into the service trolley. Includes washable kitchenware, glass bottles and large drink containers and bottles. These are sent back to the catering company.
Figure 54.â€‚ waste classification according to Animal By-Product Regulations 2005 (CAT 1 ICW). Source: RETROLLEY | Airbus FYI Report 2015 Retrolley
RETROLLEY BENEFITS Visibility
ALLOWS MATERIALS TO BE SORTED AND THUS RECYCLED AFTER LANDING Sorting waste during the flight is currently the only way to make sure 1.35 billion tonnes of waste get recycled.
SORTED MATERIALS CAN BE SOLD TO RECYCLING PLANS The total market value of common recyclable materials generated from U.S. passenger aircraft flights is estimated at $18 to $26 million annually. Sorting organics may also enable production of fuel.
REDUCES UP TO 30KG IN GALLEY EQUIPMENT Reduces fuel consumption
FREES UP TO 3 FULL GALLEY SLOTS Extra space can be used to fit more seating, store duty free products or expanded food and beverage service.
IMPROVED HANDLING ERGONOMICS Flight attendants can walk the isles more comfortably, and don’t need to lift heavy and bulky bin bags.
PURCHASE PRICE LOWER THAN ELECTRIC COMPACTORS Simplicity of design and smaller size makes galley equipping cheaper.
USES ZERO ELECTRICITY There’s no need for special galley setup, and allows for fuel savings.
RETROLLEY | Airbusbenefits. FYI Report 2015 Retrolley Figure 55. Retrolley Source:
with important positions in airlines and other
Runners-Up prize, of 15,000 euros. The big winner
companies in the sector. Everyone encouraged
was a project from the Netherlands, which used
the group to continue to progress with the idea, at
the movement of the wings of the airplane to
least to patent it. The patent is important because
generate energy for it. The finalist projects were
with it, you can stop the manufacture, sale and
very interesting for the future, but as it turns out,
even import of products equal to the protected.
difficult to implement in the short term. What attracted the juryâ€™s attention to Retrolley was
At the end of the third phase, at the awards
that no one had proposed something of a kind
ceremony, the Brazilian project received the
to a problem that has become quite large.
Figure 56.â€‚ Airbus simulation of the Retrolley in use. Source: Airbus Group
Figure 57.â€‚ new generated images for Fly Your Ideas 2015 Source: Retrolley
LESSONS LEARNED 9. Expert feedback empowers the solution
2001) was beginning to be overcome with
The greatest competition’s contribution to the
this stronger interaction with the market.
project was the deepening of the research, that brought new data and a new perspective
10. Quantifying the benefits facilitates
to validate the concept ideas. The team was
the evaluation of the idea
able to clear important doubts, which they
The team mentor was an Airbus engineer who
probably would not have access to during
brought a complementary knowledge to the
interviews with flight attendants and airlines.
designers, collaborating to find the numbers that proved the viability of the product. The
As recommended by the article by van Burg et
economics calculations in the scenarios in which
al. (2009), the counseling and coaching sessions
the Retrolley could be applied facilitated the
are fundamental to the refinement of the project,
communication of the benefits to the public, which
bringing it closer to reality. The information gap in
even the design team did not understand so well.
the Valley of Death (BRANSCOMB; AUERSWALD,
Figure 58. team Retrolley at Fly Your Ideas 2015 final ceremony. Source: Airbus
11. Contact with the market helped the
needing to integrate it with the airplane circuit. This,
group to understand how to sell the idea
along with the fact that it is a relevant and little
The Valley of Death research gap was beginning
explored topic, attracted the attention of jurors
to diminish as the project focused on the potential
and later also of the people capable of investing
market, with the help of Airbus professionals, to
in the idea. However, it is likely that because it
understand what the industry perceived to be
was considered simple and not so ambitious, the
most relevant in the concept. The key word to
idea did not win the top prize in the contest.
sell the idea was eco-efficiency, a term widely sought by the industry. Thus, Retrolley was
13. Lack of vision after the course
seen as a solution focused on environmental
hinders projects continuation
sustainability not only for recycling, but mainly
Although USP courses generated products with
to better organize the space and weight of waste
innovative potential, after completion, students
on board and at the airport. The product could
did not envisage any possibility of the project
then replace the heavy electric compactors and
becoming a real product. Nor was it clear to
generate savings for the electric company.
students what steps to take to continue the project, and this ultimately demotivated the team
Thanks to the exchange with the mentor,
in the Valley of Death. As the paper by Barr et
the modularity of components to meet the
al. (2009) defends, it is important to reinforce
companies’ different procedures also proved
the real and authentic aspect of development by
to be a market need not properly identified
making the “program focused on the creation of
previously. The experience of the final presentation
real companies. [...] Every year, students of the
in Hamburg opened the door for the team to
North American program start from 2 to 4 new
know how the industry and its players operate.
ventures involving about 25% of students and
The students group was also able to receive
projects enrolled ... Every year, current students are
training to present the project more effectively,
interested in learning about the startups created
which greatly aided in the final presentation.
and getting to know the students behind them. “
The members’ Design background cooperated so that the project distinguished itself for its
Only after seeing the success of the Levar group
report, presentation video and final presentation
and being encouraged to participate in the
design among so many other engineering
competition did the moods change. At first, the
students. A well-presented idea is powerful.
group’s motivation was only to gain visibility, but the competition eventually opened up new
12. The simplicity of the solution
opportunities. Therefore, it is necessary to create
caught the jury’s attention
a university culture that leverages the projects
The Retrolley concept caught the attention of
after the disciplines are over, currently this
Airbus as a simple solution to a complex problem.
depends on a lot of effort and having contacts
The fact of not requiring electricity facilitates
from people in the specific sector of the project.
the solution adoption by the companies, without
Figure 59.â€‚ new image generated for Fly Your Ideas 2015 Source: Retrolley
THE CONTINUATION PROPOSAL Although it was not the Fly Your Ideas 2015 big
among its own customers to find a possible
winner, Retrolley caught the Airbus’ attention as
interested manufacturer. One possible intention
a simple solution to a complex problem. So simple
of the company was to license the technology, as it
that it could be manufactured easily, without heavy
already does with other technologies for galleys.
investments in cutting-edge technology, as it is common in concepts for the future. As result, the
Airbus also mentioned that the Aircraft Interiors
Airbus innovation team began to establish contact
Expo, held annually in Hamburg, could be a great
with the group for a possible conversation about the
opportunity for companies to showcase the news
project direction. A month after the award, Retrolley
to customers in the aviation industry. Airbus’s
team members who were still residing in Europe
interest in the project then was to have a prototype
were invited by Airbus to participate in the Paris Air
ready to be presented at this event in April 2016.
Show 2015. In Paris, there would also be a company event at Unesco headquarters, a sponsor of Fly
After the meeting at the Unesco headquarters
Your Ideas, to celebrate the success of the 2015
in Paris, the Retrolley team gathered all
edition. This event would be an especially valuable
members to discuss some key points that
opportunity for Brazilians to meet Airbus people
should be considered before the decision:
who were really interested in the project’s future. »»
The team members’ career objective was very
As arranged by email, the group met two people
diverse, so it was important to understand if everyone
from Airbus. After a brief meeting, they explained
agreed to continue with the project;
how they believed cooperation might occur and
asked the students to discuss whether they would
endeavor, if it offered some type of cooperation
really like to continue with the project and under
program in those circumstances;
what conditions. Initially, it was important to
decide if the team would like to create a startup
dedicate themselves to this project in the future and
to market the product and what kind of business
face the risks, even after graduating.
What would be the university’s role in this
The willingness and motivation of each member to
model it could have. It was important to know if there was a willingness on the part of the
From start, it became clear that the project
students to devote themselves to this project,
evolution could suffer greatly from the team’s
and whether it would be interesting to involve
short time availability, with all members employed
the university in some way to assist them.
in internships and activities with a large weekly load. Gathering the whole group was always a
From the beginning, it became clear that Airbus was
difficult task, which could greatly compromise the
not interested in putting a trolley in its assembly line
speed of the process. Under these circumstances,
to market it, since its business is focused on aircraft
a team member was chosen to be responsible for
and not exactly on equipment for them. However,
communicating with Airbus and managing the
there was a possibility that the company could
tasks during the project. Since then, the Retrolley
foster innovation in the industry, helping the group
group and the Airbus team have kept in touch
to design a prototype, which could be presented
through emails and biweekly meetings via video
Figure 60. Airbus event at Unesco headquarters in Paris. Source: Airbus
conferencing. The goal was to find out what
According to Ipiranga et al. (2010), patent
strategies were possible to seal a partnership
registration and technology transfer needs
between the group, the company and other parties
to be better understood among the three
capable of producing a prototype or even the
helix, especially among universities that are
product itself. What not only Airbus insisted on, as
technology developers but need to establish
well as the jury of Fly Your Ideas and experts who
relationships with the productive sector so that
came to talk to the group, was that it was important
their creations produce benefits to society.
for the group to think about patenting the product as soon as possible, to protect the idea worldwide.
“Countries have very diverse intellectual property cultures, with different assessments of what can be considered patentable. Brazil is in 19th place, with 41,453 valid patents. The Brazilian position is also
HOW TO PROTECT THE IDEA
related to the delay in the applications’ analysis. The process between patent filing and granting
“A patent is a legal right of ownership over
takes between eight and 14 years and in 2016 the
an invention, guaranteed by national patent
organization closed the year with a queue of 243,820
offices. A patent grants its holder exclusive rights
pending applications, only 25,481 were completed,
(for a certain period) to exploit the patented
and 31,020 new applications filed in the institute’s
invention. At the same time, it discloses the
queue in 2016. ‘Our ability to evaluate requests has
invention’s details as means of enabling their
been less than the inflow of these requests’, recons
wider social use.” (OSLO MANUAL, 2005)
Luiz Pimentel, president of INPI” (ANDRADE, 2017)
When depositing the patent to INPI, one can
It turned out that there are three basic
notify any company that is copying the product.
requirements for a product to achieve the patent:
Even so, it is only possible to appeal to Justice when the patent is already published, which takes
an average of eight years after the deposit.
public prior to the filing date), 2.
It is considered a novelty (not to be available to the Be an inventive activity (not obvious, but rather a
It is important to emphasize that “the patent has
result of a research effort) and
no purpose in itself. The patent’s final goal is its
Be applied industrially.
licensing, which allows its economic exploitation by one or more companies. The license is an authorization
In the first point the project Retrolley was already at
granted by the holder of the intellectual record
disadvantage because it was partially presented in
who wants to manufacture or commercialize the
2012 and then in Fly Your Ideas in 2015. According
product. The contract between the parties stipulates,
to Ana Maria Nunes Gimenez, researcher of the
for example, manufacturing deadlines, royalties
Department of Science and Technology Policy of the
to be paid and fines.” (ANDRADE, 2017)
State University of Campinas (DPCT-Unicamp) in an article to Fapesp Magazine (ANDRADE, 2017), it is
As advised, the first step after gaining visibility
important to “avoid disclosing unpublished information
with the contest was to get the idea protection. In
at scientific events or publications before filing the
2014, Levar project was able to deposit a national
application, which may later compromise the patent.”
patent application with the USP Innovation Agency (AUSPIN) help, but did not patent the idea in other
Students needed help with specific questions to
countries. At the time, the agency had a contractor
fill out the forms, because the Retrolley case was
to assist with the patent procedure, which instructed
atypical. However, there was no effective discussion
the responsible professor and the staff to fill out
on the possibilities for the project’s and no further
the documents correctly and manage to continue
clarification on the patent process, among other
the patent application. It was first necessary
common doubts at this stage of the project.
to talk to the colleagues in the Levar group to understand how their patenting process was.
The group felt the need for counseling and thus with the indication of Prof. Dr. Robinson Salata, a
AUSPIN aims to identify, support, promote,
patent attorney was consulted regarding costs and
stimulate and implement partnerships with the
procedures. According to him, there is not exactly
corporate, governmental and non-governmental
an international patent valid for all countries, since
sectors in the search for results for society. It can
it is a territorial right. Usually the idea is patented
help to patent ideas originating from students
in Brazil first and then patented in each country
during the university course, including funding it.
desired. Another way is to take advantage of the fact that Brazil is part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty
Upon contact, AUSPIN has sent the Retrolley
(PCT) and file an international patent application
team documents to guide the process and
under the PCT, in order to simultaneously seek
forms to fill out. These documents are also
the protection of an invention in most countries.
available on the agency’s website and helped answering many questions from the group.
The idea had already been presented publicly in
Figure 61.â€‚ PCT path. Source: World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo), adapted
the contest. This would make it unfeasible for
protected, but rather the components configuration,
protection in the United States, for example, but
the mechanisms and their functionality.
it can be considered in Brazil, which allows the patent to be requested up to 12 months after
The interesting thing is that these legal details in the
the first public presentation. For the patent in
Brazilian system not even the Airbus people, who
Brazil, there is an annuity to be paid according to
was in contact with the Retrolley group, was very
company size and the depositor has up to 3 years to
knowledgeable. So after consulting the lawyer, there
request the examination of his patent application.
was a videoconference between the Retrolley and Airbus team and a person specializing in company
In Brazil, an alternative to the patent is the
patents. In that conversation, the expert said that
Protection of Industrial Design, which covers the
Airbus still should not fund a patent, since it would
objectâ€™s ornamental or aesthetic aspect. Its validity
not market the product and would not profit from it.
is 10 years, counted from the date of deposit. This kind of aesthetic protection, although cheaper, is
Another problem was that the internal mechanisms
also easier to be circumvented, since there are many
of the trolley had not been designed, which left
cases in which other companies produce very similar
the group with only the Protection of Industrial
products and have to go to court to decide whether
Design option. Given this, for the patent to be
or not it is plagiarism. In the case of Retrolley, it
feasible, first there should be the design of the
was not the aesthetic aspect that needed to be
mechanisms inside the trolley and then this
unprecedented project could be patented.
If USP were responsible for producing the physical models, it was uncertain whether it would have
The strategy of patenting the invention
the structure to manufacture all the necessary
was then abandoned because of these
components with quality. It was not clear if the
obstacles. The group focused on developing
model could be produced at FAU-USP’s LAME
the mechanisms and the new design.
(Laboratory of Models and Tests), because there were modular components that required certain precision and special production methods, for example, the liquid reservoir should look like
PATHS TO FOLLOW
plastic and the prototype’s structure would probably have to be made by some sturdy and
As the discussions on the patent progressed, the
light metal. Even if the infrastructure issue were
future possibilities for the project became clearer.
solved, it remained unknown who would produce
Since new development was needed, the team needed the physical model, since all team members to strategize how mechanisms and design could be
were employed. There had to be some form of
developed and produced in the real world. Based on
financial compensation so they could work on the
the university-industry-government cooperation
project. In addition, it was necessary to design
models from Etzkowitz’s Triple Helix, the first most
the mechanisms and to operate the machines,
appropriate option seemed a possible partnership
so only the design team would not be enough.
with USP to produce the models as a research project. In a conversation with FAU-USP professors and For this option, the team needed to understand
staff, the group found that when partnerships
how partnerships with private companies
like this are established, they often require
operate at USP and how this financial support
long-term cooperation. The resources go to the
happens. Also, it was necessary to decide the
University and it was not clear if the students
people who would work on the project.
would have enough control on how to apply them properly in what the project needs.
Partnerships at USP are usually sealed through agreements between a faculty and a company. For
As Van Burg et al. (2009), for the creation of
this, it is necessary to estipulate the defined object,
a successful spin-off in the academic context
work plan, goals, execution schedule, financial plan.
it is necessary to clearly define the rules and procedures, the responsibilities and rights of the
“The university’s innovative environment is combined
parties, as well as to publicize the opportunities of
with the company’s potential for investment and
entrepreneurship in the academic environment.
realization, generating beneficial results in a Win-Win
In the case of this project, it was not clear how
relationship. The University fulfills its social role of
the agreement would fit into the short-time
generating knowledge and technologies, and the
requirement. In addition, there was no university
company adds value, differentiates itself and increases
counseling to students about which strategy
its competitiveness nationally and internationally.”
to follow in the specific case of Retrolley.
(BAGNATO; ORTEGA; MARCOLAN, 2015) The bureaucracy to close this type of partnership
would prevent the negotiation in the time suggested
contacting you because if they do, they are
by Airbus and the uncertainty about universityâ€™s
potentially creating legal problems for themselves
infrastructure and human resources to produce
if in the future they develop something in the same
the models weighed in the decision to look for
general area. Even so, licensing or assigning rights
a company to manufacture the prototypes.
to the invention for financial gains is a simpler and less costly route than manufacturing and selling it.
So another strategy had to be planned. One
Licensing offers a way to put the product on the
option would be for students to form a startup
market, but most often a patent is required. The
to develop the concept especially with Airbus
reason for this is that companies are always working
support or even with a possible incubation at USP.
to develop and bring their own ideas to market.
Otherwise, the alternative would be to sell the idea.
Many of them will not even look at an idea unless it is already patent-pending, especially because they
According to Breder (2009), there are three
expect to get something that can be protected. If
topics to consider before starting up a company:
they bring a product to market and have to pay an
clarifying personal goals, evaluating strategies
inventor, they are at a disadvantage if one of the
for meeting those goals, and finally checking
competitors decides to market a similar product.
the ability to execute the strategy. As already mentioned, the main concern of forming a
Therefore, the situation was more on the
company was that members would need some
side of the partnership with Airbus. It was
kind of financial reward to sustain themselves
only necessary to understand thoroughly the
during the project, if they had to leave their jobs.
terms that would be given. Airbus, as a giant in the industry, could perhaps cover all the
Otherwise, to sell the idea to an interested
gaps in Valley of Death for the project.
manufacturer, the question was how to find a manufacturer. It is difficult to even make the right contacts because companies may be working on something similar, and they will avoid even
REDESIGNING THE PRODUCT Because the existing product could not be patented, the designers knew that they should go back to the drawing board and analyze the positives and negatives aspects of the first proposed design. The redesign process could have been easier if the members were not all employed. Even so, the group managed to meet at alternative hours during the weekend.
STATE OF ART In 2011, during the design project in the university, the students conducted extensive benchmark research and found various equipment related to aircraft trolleys and other waste management solutions. Most of these solutions were already
Figure 62. sketches 1:1 redesign. Source: Retrolley
available in the market. In 2015, with the need to rethink the design and propose a better product, the Retrolley team sought references to trolley designs in the context of aviation. Interestingly, there was no concept developed by designers for waste collection. All of what was found focused on serving the food to passengers. This reinforces the idea that waste is indeed a problem that does not receive proper attention. However, it was discovered that for the collection of recyclable waste, some companies adapt the same trolleys to serve food, with bags that fit in their rails. In this way, they can put one bag for
Figure 63. project Orbit. Source: ZDnet
recyclables next to another for non-recyclables. Some interesting concepts were thinner trolleys that does not clog the aisle and trolleys integrated into modular galleys.
DEVELOPMENT The Retrolley team needed once again to identify the requirements for this new design, so the aspects that could be improved were listed:
Figure 64. project A.C.S.C. Source: Behance
The trolley could provide some sort of solution to
hen, faced with these new design requirements,
accommodate the trays of catering companies for long
the group moved into the ideation phase. With
these design decisions to be made in the short
The rear should be better detailed to allow
modularity, so praised during the contest; 3.
It would be desirable for the can compartment to
accommodate more cans; 4.
The number of components can be reduced or
their manufacturing simplified;
term, the group needed some kind of a real-scale model to decide the heights and the volumes of what was being designed. Since there was no time or resources for a cardboard or wood prototype, the views were first drawn on a blackboard and then the real-scale views were printed. Finally, the result of this phase was a design that proposed a system of trolleys. This was a more comprehensive solution to the waste collection problem, which also included designing the catering trolley that brings meals to the plane. The catering trolley had the same features as a current dining trolley, except that it could be attached to the waste trolley for long flights. This is because these flights provide more complete meals, usually with flatware and returnable trays. So the commissioner would pick up the tray, throw the recyclables and organics into the waste trolley, and place the tray with the cutlery and crockery in the Catering trolley. For the waste trolley, the major effort at this stage was to optimize the components’ shape in order to simplify manufacturing. The group decided to put a lever to crush the cans, since it did not seem possible to make a pedal mechanism, without redesigning the wheels locking mechanism. At this stage the designers did not have the help of any engineer to design the mechanisms, so it was not possible to have a clear idea about the forces and efforts that would be present in these mechanisms. Thus, the lever seemed the most viable solution at the time.
Figure 65. 2 connected trolleys. Source: Retrolley
Figure 66. views with dimensions. Source: Retrolley
AIRBUS’ FIRST VISIT To kick-off the project, Airbus would like to visit the team in Brazil, so an agenda needed to be organized. The mechanisms represented a key problem that was difficult to resolve. Because of students’ inexperience in dealing with fellow engineers, it was extremely difficult to recruit someone trustful, as it was not yet known whether there would be a budget to pay for an engineer. As Van Burg (2009) argues, it is necessary to create a collaborative network that ensures that projects have access to financial and human resources to develop, and this was clearly not the case in Retrolley at the moment. Figure 67. perspective view. Source: Retrolley
On December 14, 2015, in a co-working room in
Presenting the redesign of Retrolley for Airbus at
Sao Paulo, the first meeting between the Airbus
the first face-to-face meeting in Brazil, they became
representative and the group took place. With
very interested in the concept, but decided to follow
the first face-to-face meeting, the possibilities
only the main waste trolley for prototyping. It was
of getting the project together became clear,
stipulated that they would in fact be two physical
after almost six months of researching and
models, one meant to present the concept and make
discussing strategies for the project.
a good impression during the event in Hamburg, and the other, to be delivered later, with the aim of being
It is important to remember that Airbus does
delivered to airlines for testing. Thus, the date for
not sign project contracts with individuals.
the first delivery would be early April, the second
Another detail is that the students group had
being approximately one or two months later.
no interest in creating a startup just to market this project, since they wanted to take another course in their respective careers, although they wanted to see the project take shape.
THE PROTOTYPE COMPANY
Thus, Airbus presented three possibilities to support students in the project continuation:
After the students’ face-to-face meeting with Airbus, it was necessary to get to know prototype
The students group would startup a company,
companies to seal an agreement. There was an
which could be called Retrolley, for example, and thus
incessant research on companies that could
would sign the contract with Airbus respecting all its
prototype the product, preferably in the city of São
requirements to make two trolley prototypes, and hire
Paulo or surroundings. SQ Maquetes was a company
a manufacturer to do so;
chosen for a visit. It specializes in architecture
The students group would open a company to
mock-ups, despite having some experience with
offer Design services to Airbus and in parallel, Airbus
other types of projects. It is a relatively small studio
would hire a company to produce the two physical
with few employees, so it was not clear if they
would be able to work with the materials needed
The students group was looking for a company to
for the model, such as aluminum and plastic. The
manufacture the models and to sign the contract with
owner was able to speak English fluently, which
Airbus, so the students would work as contractors of
would greatly facilitate the conversation with
the prototype company.
Airbus, and promised a budget for the next few days. SQ Maquetes was concerned about the short
Como o processo legal para se abrir uma empresa
time to deadline, but it could execute the project
As the legal process to open a company could
so as long as the design was defined quickly.
take a lot of time, this could delay the project. The last option then was the one that looked
At the last minute, the group got the contact of
more appealing to the group of designers,
another company in the great São Paulo. 3D Systems
even if it was possibly the least lucrative.
is a multinational company specialized in rapid prototyping that bought Robtec do Brasil, located
in Diadema. In a hurried meeting, Airbus visited the
two alternatives to make a quick decision.
company’s facilities and talked to the company’s key people. The Retrolley team presented the
Producing prototypes in Brazil was something
project and a budget was also promised for the next
unheard of for the Airbus team, which was
few days. They also expressed concern about not
accustomed to European and American
having a finished design yet and a short deadline.
suppliers. In the end, the cost of production in the country was quite advantageous compared
At the end of the visit, a videoconference
to the other options, although it was riskier due
meeting was held in which the Retrolley
to the physical distance to follow the project.
group presented the project to other Airbus specialists. From then on they began to
Airbus concluded that the production of the
follow the progress of the tasks, including
models should be carried out by 3D Systems,
participating in the weekly videoconferences.
given their experience in the field of prototyping. The infrastructure seemed more robust and
Airbus’s visit in São Paulo was over so the company
adapted to the needs of the project.
had to analyze the budgets and capacity of the
Figure 68. models by 3D Systems. Source: Retrolley
Figure 69. model by 3D Systems. Source: Retrolley
SEARCHING AN ENGINEER After the visit, it was still unclear how much budget
in engineering issues regarding the prototype
the Retrolley group would have to hire an engineer
production, and not in designing a mechanism from
if necessary. This is because there was a possibility
scratch. So the group urgently needed to find an
that the prototype company itself could take over
engineer who would agree to work on the budget
the engineering part of the project. Both companies
revealed by Airbus. After Prof. Dr. Fausto Mascia
would have technical knowledge for such, especially
announced the position in the Poli-USP community,
3D Systems, which has a team of engineers. After a
some candidates appeared. Interviews with the
few weeks of conversation with the parties, it was
candidates were carried out and then a student
decided that 3D Systems would sign the contract
of the last year of Mechanical Engineering with
with Airbus for producing the prototypes and hire
some experience with real mechanical projects
the group of designers to carry out the project.
was chosen, although his English was not fluent.
However, 3D Systems would only provide help
marketing & support
RETROLLEY redesign & engineering
Figure 70.â€‚ relationship diagram. Source: Retrolley
LESSONS LEARNED 14. The research of the possible
there was no effective advice on the best way
paths lead to a better decision
forward. At that moment information was important
After Fly Your Ideas, there was a demand to
but the group needed coaching and mentoring.
demonstrate the product with physical models to
“[..] in Latin America, it is a relatively common task to
get suppliers interested in producing it, exactly
create organizations to foster innovation, but these
the situation described by Murphy and Edwards
organizations rarely function as bridges between
(2003) about the Valley of Death. The group’s
players.” (AROCEMA and SUTZ, 2000). Jucevivius
research on the differences between licensing,
et al. (2016) argues that it is not enough to build
selling and entrepreneurship contributed to a
the “right” elements - institutions, resources - but
more sensible decision at that time. The students
it is necessary to develop adequate productive
concluded that they did not want to start a
links and a certain culture of coordination.
business, because of their different profiles and because they needed to take care of marketing,
16. Seeking foreign companies to
production, administration, among other issues.
continue the project can be fruitful
Thus, the licensing or selling the idea way seemed
During Valley of Death, when the possibility of
more feasible, backed up by Airbus’ than support.
continuing the project with Airbus had not yet arisen, the search for companies that might be
15. Lot of effort is required to understand the
interested in the product was demotivating,
possible strategies for university partnership
because the risk for them could be very high
Even with Airbus’ support, it was necessary to
and the Valley of Death confidence gap was
find a way to produce the physical models, so a
difficult to overcome. The fact that the students
partnership with USP was considered. But the
participated in Fly Your Ideas may have helped
process of deciding what strategy to follow was
reduce this gap in the first moment, but also Airbus,
complicated and confusing. As Van Burg et al.
in addition to having more capital and market
(2009), opportunities should be more explicit
data, had a vision for how the product could be
to students since the beginning of the academic
positioned in the market and become viable.
project as this also increases their motivation and commitment during development. According
Carlos de Brito Cruz, former Unicamp dean,
to him, it is necessary to clearly define the rules
says in an interview at Exame’s website in 2008
and procedures, responsibilities and rights of
that the problem in Brazil is that the culture that
the parties, as well as publicize opportunities for
innovation is the source of wealth is not yet fully
entrepreneurship in the academic environment. In
established because “companies always lived in
Retrolley’s case, this was not clear, since the policies
a very protected environment, with the economy
present disconnected and confusing information.
closed until 1990”. He also adds in an interview with Agência Fapesp in 2011, companies from
When AUSPIN was contacted about partnerships,
developed countries invest heavily in R & D,
the students were asked to talk to FAU-USP, since
financing most of the country’s patents, because
the agreements are made with the faculties. But
they “do not face the severe restrictions that Brazilian
companies need to face. The three main constraints are
the university working with the long term and
the huge tax cost, the cost of interest, an anomalous
the private sector, with the short term, since
exchange rate and a huge labor cost. It does not to
the partnership contracts anticipated a much
mean that Brazilian companies do not know or do
longer term than the project was waiting for.
not want to invest in research. What happens is that they cannot do so, because the weight of these
18. The intense exchange with specialists allowed
restrictions is very great. The environment is hostile. In
to prioritize the functionalities of the product
São Paulo the situation is a little better because more
Specialists in the area know how to prioritize
companies in the region compete internationally”.
the development of functionalities according to the needs of the market. For example, weight
Another interesting fact to be considered when
before was not so properly considered by the
seeking companies for partnership is that, according
team, and then became a fundamental aspect
to Brito Cruz, “American companies are progressively
of the product as much as modularity.
making more R & D outside the US ... and a part of that comes to Brazil. An interesting opportunity for
19. For the patent to be worth, it is better
the country. Even though it is a foreign company,
to develop also the product technology
it helps create an innovative environment here.” In
It was not possible to patent the idea as the group
the Retrolley case, you can say that Airbus was
would like, since much of it had already been publicly
interested in producing the models in Brazil also
presented to the public and especially because the
because the cost was lower than in other countries.
engineering part was incomplete, leaving only the aesthetic protection as an option. If the project had
Thus, it is important to understand the
the engineering part more detailed, the protection
context in which national companies are
would be facilitated. Even so, patenting in other
inserted before seeking partnerships,
countries would remain unworkable for most
and also to search for alternatives from
students, without a partnership with an investor.
companies from countries where investing in innovation projects is not so complicated.
20. Protection is neglected by the Academy
According to Righetti on Folha’s website in 2013: 17. The academy privileges the long
“Although Brazilian universities are better than
term, the market, the short term
companies in the innovation scenario (in the analysis
When the group sought to partner with the
of innovation by patent applications), scientists
university, it encountered once more the
still flounder to request their inventions’ protection
information and trust gap, more specifically
and prefer to publish papers. It makes sense: they
with the asymmetries of values of each actor. At
are evaluated by the government for their scientific
first, a cooperation with the university seemed
production.” Members of the academy are still
the best plan but proved to be inadequate for
unaware of the patent’s benefits and this affects the
the needs of the project. The group faced what
lack of concern about patenting before disclosing.
Frenkel and Maital (2014) pointed out about
21. Private accelerator was an alternative
to formally support the project Airbus decided to put the Retrolley project within the company’s incubation program, Airbus BizLab, to better support it formally. Airbus BizLab is a global aerospace business accelerator where Airbus startups and intrapreneurs accelerate the transformation of innovative ideas into valuable business. Airbus BizLab has developed a “hybrid” concept to collaborate closely with startups, while allowing smaller organizations to better understand the needs and ways of working in large groups.
THE FIRST MODEL DESIGN With the team complete, it started detailing the
how would the pedal function, in order to not
project. The meetings within the headquarters of
disturb the user during waste collection and
3D Systems occurred from one to three times a
when the Retrolley was stored in the galley.
week, in order to decide on mechanismsâ€™ details, components fabrication, materials, among others.
When it comes to the main mechanism, the first idea to reduce the componentsâ€™ weight using a
The prototype company purchased a used trolley,
fabric tape or steel cables to pull the front door
which would then be dismantled, for analyzing
during compaction. An idea that looked promising,
its construction. The base of this trolley would be
but that floundered with maintenance problems,
reused in this first model, so the group would not
dirt accumulation and safety recommendations
have to design the casters locking mechanism.
for onboard equipment. Thus, a system of gears was partially sketched and prototyped.
But first step, the team built a volumetric model, in wood with the purpose of correctly dimensioning
As the idea of modular containers was very well
the components. During the discussion sessions,
received during the Fly Your Ideas, it was essential
although the main compaction mechanism had
that the group showed how the container modules
the most critical function of the design, the can
could be attached in a practical way. After several
crusher mechanism was the one that seemed more
attempts, the dovetail docking was the most
challenging, because it was unsure what space it
appropriate solution. The intention was not for these
would require and if it would be triggered by the
modules to be reconfigured for each flight, but for
hand or foot. Without this information it was quite
the airline to acquire the necessary modules for its
difficult to proceed with the dimensioning of the
operation and change the configuration from time to
parts. Therefore, the first engineerâ€™s task would then
time according to demand, procedures policy, etc.
be to develop several alternatives of mechanisms, operated by hand and foot. In parallel, some rapid
At that time, the proposals were prototyped
physical models were made to be tested with cans.
rapidly for the tests, with materials such as MDF, high density polyurethane foam,
At this stage of the project, videoconferencing
stereolithography and laser sintering materials.
meetings with Airbus were already taking place every week and in one of them it was decided
The entire trolley was remodeled using 3D
that the pedal mechanism solution would be
SolidWorks software, as it offered the most
ideal for the project, since the compression
flexibility and mechanism simulation. The problem
force would be better performed by the feet.
with it was that most of the group members lacked ability with the tool, which gave a somewhat
Considering this, the group generated alternatives to cans storage in the trolley and
slow pace to the progress of the project.
Figure 71. first can crusher model.
Figure 72. virtual model Source:
Figure 73. trolley and mock-up.
Figure 74. tape separating the
Figure 75. PU modules. Source:
Figure 76. cans and cups stacked.
spaces. Source: Retrolley
Figure 77. main compaction mechanism. Source:
Figure 78. main mechanism. Source: Retrolley
Figure 80. sketches of components and mechanisms. Source: Retrolley
AIRBUS’ SECOND VISIT As commented on the company’s first visit to Brazil, there was an interest by them to return to Brazil in a more advanced stage of prototyping to check project decisions and test some crucial aspects. In February then, just before delivering the first prototype, the company brought two more employees, besides the one that had already come on the first visit. One was a waste management specialist and the other was an American engineer with extensive experience with trolleys and galleys. It is important to note that these employees do not work in the same city or country, so all work was done remotely.
Figure 79. planning for wood model production. Source: 3D Systems
The main mechanism until then would be solved
and making it easier to clean the trolley.
with a system of gears. However, when the Airbus team saw it, they were suspicious that this would
As it turns out, with all the key stakeholders involved
generate a lot of maintenance and jamming
personally, much of the project was changed and
problems. So, by the time everyone was together,
decided in a few hours. That’s why this kind of
other alternatives had to be created quickly
intense interaction is important whenever possible.
without compromising the project deadline. With the Airbus team, everyone started dismantling the purchased trolley to understand how it was
UPDATING THE RESEARCH
built, in order to have more ideas. Soon it was clear it would be a much more arduous task than expected.
According to the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Cathay Pacific has reduced
A possible alternative to gears would be bars.
food waste through improved waste management,
They were quickly prototyped with materials
directing it to local hog farms. According to APEX,
available in 3D Systems. Although they were
from 2007 to 2014, Delta Air Lines’ in-flight
more promising than the other, it was not so clear
recycling program transformed savings from 4,500
if they would sustain the compaction force.
tons of waste to $ 600,000, funding six houses of Habitat for Humanity in cities around its network.
Until the last day of the visit, the cans mechanism was still a mystery, but it was certain that it
In 2010, Qantas conducted a joint audit with the
should be triggered by the foot. The problem
Closed Loop recycling consultancy to get a better
was to understand if the small space to put
picture of the waste left after international flights
the foot in the trolley was enough to apply
and reported to Waste Management Review that:
the necessary force to crush the can. “Airlines have full knowledge and control over One idea was to put a retractable pedal, slightly
what they carry, but most do not measure what
larger than the module, that would stretch out
they unload. [..] We found that most water bottles
the trolley to be activated. This idea, although
and plastic packaging were left in the pockets
promising, was not easy to design by the engineer
of banks and almost half of the amenities kits
and also presented some safety problems as it should not obstruct the trolley locking pedals and neither offer a risk of stumbling. The Airbus team was concerned about the dirt that the waste in the trolley’s trash bags could leave in the main compartment, so bin boxes became necessary. They would be compartments with four main functions: receiving the waste bags, supporting the bags fixation, preventing dirt from falling into the main compartment
Figure 81. retractable pedal idea Source: author
Figure 82.â€‚ models tested during the visit. Source: 3D Systems
were left unused. By weight, we determined
were contacted. The solution presented in Fly Your
that 59% of these waste could be recycled.”
Ideas was shown to them to receive feedback. In an interview, everyone agreed that the product
In addition to this information, Airbus asked the
would be relevant, it remained unsure if the airlines
group to find companies that deal with trolleys to
would like to pay to have a product like this.
try a possible interview. But to the surprise of the group, the companies’ did not feel comfortable
One noted that a major concern in his job was
doing an interview with a company as big as
to make sure the trolleys would not bump
Airbus, due to possible clients’ confidentiality
into any distracted passengers as they passed
problems that it could generate. Therefore, the
the corridor. Therefore, the group should
group started approaching the companies for an
think of rounded corners to try to soften
interview with the students only, without omitting
a hit, with perhaps a softer material.
that the project won an Airbus award. The physical models development was still under secrecy. In
He informed that for the airline he worked, on
March 2016, the author scheduled a visit to the
the A319 and A320, they shipped 9 cans of soda,
Servair facilities in Guarulhos, near the city’s
regardless of flight time and 12 cans of beer. This is
international airport. There, the director got to
a number much lower than expected, but adequate
know the project and was interested in the idea.
for sizing the can compartment in Retrolley.
It turned out that despite being an international
This company uses three aircraft models for
company both in the area of catering and
domestic flights: A319, A320 and A321. All
aircraft cleaning, the company’s operations
these aircraft have two galleys, with a bin
in Brazil were still incipient, working only
trolley in each and most of the times are full-
with catering. The company attended only
size. At the time of pickup, two trolleys are
Gol at that moment and although the group
needed to collect all the garbage, and during
needed more focused answers on the handling
the service on the A321, up to three trolleys
of garbage trolleys, information about the
are required, as there are 220 passengers.
Catering process was be very useful as well. The flight attendant revealed that the company During the visit, it was discovered that the
had an on-board waste recycling program, which
cleaning process of the trolleys is done manually
collected the trash in a tray trolley with two bags.
with a hose and cleaning products. The cutlery
The passengers were instructed to help separate
and trays are sanitized by a machine. Gol always
the waste before the stewards passed by to
uses standard trays to serve meals. This could be
collect it. This, he said, was a welcome attitude by
an obstacle to the implementation of Retrolley.
the passengers, who even praised the initiative.
The ideal would be for the company to give
This supports that the passengers themselves
up the tray, avoiding this additional cost.
would be willing to help reduce the procedure time, once the garbage will be recycled.
In addition to the visit to the catering company, once again the previously interviewed flight attendants
Different colored bags for recyclables and
non-recyclables were also used in this program,
He explained that because of personal and
but they faced problems from different airport
professional problems he could no longer devote
administrations, which sometimes did not have bags
more time to this project, but at the request
of the correct color. Thus, the idea of differentiating
of the designers, he solved the doubts so that
waste by the color of the bag often failed.
the pieces could be minimally modeled in the software and sent to production. Many other
Finally, a flight attendant expressed concern
doubts about the mechanism emerged later, but
that the can crusher would cause discomfort
they had to be treated during production.
to passengers because of the noise. This could be an obstacle to the implementation of the
Due to delays and inconvenience with the engineer,
crusher module in Retrolley. However, the Airbus
3D Systems was left with a short time to finalize
team decided to continue the idea to better
the production of the model and the finish did
understand the concerns of other companies.
not go as expected. Moreover, the detailing of the mechanisms was incomplete, and thus 3D Systems could not solve the main mechanism in the ideal way. For example, when raising the
THE FINAL DESIGN
handlebar, the front door would open, but it was impossible to lower the handlebar and keep
With less than a month left to finish the project,
the door open because the mechanism would
it was important to completely finish the virtual
not disengage itself from the handlebar.
model in a timely manner so that the components could be produced by 3D Systems. However, the
The engineer had planned that by pushing the side
group did not imagine that they would have to
buttons, the door would open automatically, so
go through some issues with the engineer. Just
the handlebar remained in horizontal position to
days before the virtual model final delivery to 3D
be pushed. What made it impossible to operate
Systems, the engineer had not yet handed the
on the physical model was the spring that would
detailing of the mechanisms so that the designers could model the parts correctly in SolidWorks, and also had not given any explanation for the delays. The group tried several times to communicate with him by various means, but rarely obtained any assertive response. With the undefined mechanism, it was impossible to predict the spaces that should be left in the main compartment to project the other pieces that were in charge of the designers. For the can module there was also no guidance that could be passed on to 3D Systems so they could get started with the production. When the deadline was already quite critical, the
Figure 83.â€‚ 14 March was the deadline for sending the
group could meet in person with the engineer.
3d model to 3D Systems. Source: author
Figure 84.â€‚ rendering with colors. Source: author
be inside the button, coupling and uncoupling
demonstrated the principle but would not be able
the mechanism, due to the flexibility of the SLS
to crush real cans. The pedal would remain parallel
rapid prototyping material, was not working.
to the floor all the time and the user should put his foot inside the module to step on it. However, in the
In short, it was not possible to demonstrate with
end, despite appearing narrow and uncomfortable,
this model that the flight attendants would push the
the pedal was triggered without discomfort.
trolley with the handlebar in horizontal position and the compartment door open for waste collection.
The container modules were made with rapid prototyping methods and so were not fully
In the engineerâ€™s absence, the mechanism can
functional. For example, the liquid container was
crusher was also too premature. Thus, a decision was
not completely hollow and neither could the cup
made to produce a schematic mechanism that only
compartment actually receive 200 glasses as
The group also realized that it had not planned well the necessary gaps between the parts in the 3D model and this reflected in a model that required a lot of rework after they leave the rapid prototyping machines. There was an axis that went through the main compartment from side to side that could annoy the user by putting some types of garbage. Unfortunately, due to structure and operation, it was not possible to eliminate it. As a model of presentation, it was also decided that one of the side walls should contain a window capable of showing the mechanism inside, as well as the waste bag. This feature is not part of the Retrolley project, so it should not be present in the next prototype. There would be no time to produce the articulated upper door as it was in the previous solution. In short, the first model was finalized at the latest to be sent to the event. Unfortunately, due to the Figure 85.â€‚ simulation of the window. Source: author
absence of an engineer in the final stages, the mechanisms were incomplete, not reflecting exactly the expected operation. However, the finish of
planned. These limitations were due to the way the
the model was enough to present the idea to key
components were produced, since rapid prototyping
stakeholders during the event and collect important
machines generally do not support large pieces.
opinions that guided the design of the next model.
Figure 86.â€‚ use mode sequence for the compaction mechanism Source: author
Figure 87.â€‚ model assembly by 3D Systems Source: author
FEEDBACK The shipment of the Retrolley to Europe also
the product and offering their conclusions.
went through customs problems, but fortunately Airbus was able to receive the prototype, even
The idea of separating the liquids in a container
if only an hour before it was presented to the
and the can crusher were praised by the event
first customer. Big global airlines said they were
visitors. Upon receiving and presenting the first
willing to test the idea only after analyzing
prototype the Airbus team delivered its opinion:
POSITIVE POINTS »»
Greater concern was required with the gaps,
that prevented the modules from falling out of the trolley was not sufficient and the container of liquids
tolerances and more precision in the fabrication of the
detached, breaking into pieces with the fall. This
components, especially the mechanism, which should
is also due to the fact that it is manufactured with
work perfectly for the next prototype.
sterolithography material, that although easier to
The fear of the trolley to be instable was finally
produce, it is also quite fragile.
discarded by realizing that the base of a current trolley
During cleaning, the water should not accumulate
gave high resistance to the prototype, even with it
between the components of the mechanism nor in the
open. The ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) on
the walls may have contributed to this.
The stacking of cups must not become clogged
during garbage collection, since no time should be lost POINTS TO IMPROVE »»
in this procedure.
As for the main mechanism, although it worked
partially, it was critical to ensure that it closed in
All of these points were exposed to the Retrolley
any situation for the final product without binding,
team and 3D Systems to increase the chances
especially in case of turbulence.
of success in developing the functional model.
However, during the presentation, the protection
Figure 88. photos of Airbus receiving the model Source: Airbus
LESSONS LEARNED 22. Producing a preliminary model allows
23. Intermediate phase also cooperates to
training for the prototype development
strengthen trust between the parties
“If you’re not ashamed of the first version of your
The cooperative work for the model helped to
product, you’ve launched too late,” says Reid Hoffman,
overcome information and trust gaps between
founder of LinkedIn, on his website. The first model
Airbus, Retrolley and 3D Systems as they were able
of Retrolley contained a number of unexpected
to get accustomed to each other’s work process and
problems, but it yielded many learning, mainly
adjust expectations. Gaio et al. (2007) commented
technicians, that better trained the team to face
that “trust and information are fundamental, since the
the development of the future prototype, such as:
investor usually knows how to take new products to the market, something the entrepreneur is not generally
The Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) for
aware of. But at the same time, the investor must trust
the walls proved to be strong enough to impart the
the entrepreneur, when it comes to technological issues.”
required robustness, even though the boards were
With the model delivered on time and the idea
only glued and not screwed;
receiving positive feedback from the industry, the
The construction of the model allowed the group
group was able to proceed with the next phase.
to finally evaluate the dimensions of the components that come into contact with the user. With the model ready, the pedal of the crusher was considered not as uncomfortable as imagined. »»
The group was confident by that time that using
aluminum for the engines seemed like a sensible decision; »»
Some details, such as the hinge, that were
purchased in this product, would in the prototype really need to be designed to keep the product language coherent and perform its function better; »»
The translucent finish of the liquid container to
show the liquid level has given too much fragility to the part; »»
Opening the door automatically with the side
buttons, as planned, may be a security risk for unsuspecting users and passengers; »»
Crushing cans can make a lot of noise, but due
to buzzing inside the cabin, this might not bother so much.
Figure 89. broken liquids containerSource: Airbus
24. One must not rely so much on 3D software
model of the mechanism with gears that it is
As students were not accustomed to producing
possible to decide for another solution.
functional models, they ended up making the mistake of relying too much on 3D software. For
28. Recruitment is an important
example, they underestimated the necessary
part of project success
gaps between each component and when
Communication problems with the engineer
they went to assemble in the real world, the
revealed the need for some kind of training or
parts did not fit perfectly. This required a
guidance when recruiting new people for the
time for adaptation that could be avoided.
team. The team’s difficulty in finding right human resources is an important barrier that was
25. It is important to plan the number of iterations
somewhat neglected by the group. With the delay
The various preliminary mechanisms and
in detailing the mechanisms, the entire production
configurations tests for the trolley reinforce that
process was impaired, resulting in a lower quality
the iterative strategy cooperates to the project
model than expected for simple tests. Fortunately,
getting closer to the reality of the market. Meeting
the future of the project was not greatly impacted,
with decision makers speeds up the decision-making
since the main purpose of the model was simply
process. However, it is necessary to make a good
to demonstrate the principle of the idea.
plan of the number and duration of these iterations, since the project almost missed the deadline and in the end the model did not go as expected, because it did not crush real cans and did not simulate exactly the operation of the main compactor. 26. One should test well the product
final materials of before production The various tests performed were very preliminary and with materials that were easier to work with. Testing the final materials, such as SLS duraform, ACM, and others, which designers had never worked with before, would help to understand application limitations. For example, the group could find out that the spring would not work well being made of SLS and then could change the strategy before the deadline.. 27. Physical models enrich feedback exchange
Discussions about each component were more productive when one already had something physical to be shown and tested. So, important decisions could be taken quickly. For example, it is only after a preliminary
PLANNING With the first model presented at the Hamburg
fair, the next step was the most critical for
the future of the project: the production of
a functional model that would enable actual
testing with potential customers. It would be
visually identical to the final product, but could be
Ability with SolidWorks
produced with different methods and materials.
Understand and speak English reasonably well to
Availability to visit the prototype on 3D Systems Ability to develop the project within the
express their ideas It was vital to demonstrate that the product was robust enough to be put into production and
Design students could not imagine how difficult
withstand the forces inside the aircraft cabins.
it would be for recruiting a project-competent professional under the given conditions. First, the
Thus, the Retrolley team had the
willingness to work on a temporary project that
following critical tasks to solve:
requires a lot of time was not compatible with most of the candidates the group interviewed. Those with
Adapt the project according to the experience of
the first model. 2.
availability for a parallel project difficult to accept.
Finalize the design of the mechanisms to work in
experience were often already employed, making
Test solutions with users using real waste
In addition, the lack of financial resources to hire the professional would leave the Retrolley team unattractive to many candidates.
At the beginning of the project, the deadline for delivering this prototype was mid-May 2016.
Even so, in April’s early days, the designers decided
However, on Airbus’s first visit to Brazil this was
to start working with one of the candidates. An
renegotiated for June in order to really produce a
engineer already trained and employed by the
quality prototype. Even so, this gave the team a tight
automotive industry and suggested by friends
deadline of less than 60 days to complete the tasks.
of the team. He had experience with mechanical designs for the automotive industry and knew how to use SolidWorks well. Since he had little
time for the project, he accepted the challenge as long as he could count on the help of a technician
At the beginning of the project, the deadline for
to assist with the drawing work. This is usually
delivering this prototype was mid-May 2016.
common in the profession, since technicians
However, on Airbus’s first visit to Brazil this was
have enough knowledge to produce technical
renegotiated for June in order to really produce a
documents and have a slightly lower pay.
quality prototype. Even so, this gave the team a tight deadline of less than 60 days to complete the tasks:
The team did not have much choice because of the shortage of candidates, so it accepted the
Availability to participate in videoconferences with
conditions. However, communication problems
began to emerge as their respective jobs
The team of designers then explained to the
eventually conflicted with Retrolley’s tasks. For
engineer more deeply the purpose of the project
example, they were not very willing to attend
and the progress of the solutions. The engineer’s
weekly videoconferences with Airbus or visit the
work continued to consist of three main elements:
prototype in Diadema during business hours. 1.
The main waste compactor, including the
After telephone and videoconference meetings
mechanisms of the handlebar;
with engineers to explain the progress of the
The mechanism of the pedal
project and synchronize expectations, they stated
The structure of the trolley, so that it supports
that because it was a time-consuming project, it
would be necessary to charge a fair hourly rate for the job. They calculated the number of hours of work for the project and passed the planning to
the team, except that the price extrapolated the budget very much. Therefore, the group decided
The new engineer was formally introduced to the
not to continue with this team of engineers. The
rest of the project team in a videoconference.
price of not being able to choose the right people
At that point, he had outlined some alternatives
for engineering was high: these procedures delayed
to the systems and was then able to receive
the engineering project in four more weeks.
opinions and directives from Airbus and 3D Systems about his ideas. Of the three primary engineering tasks, the group decided to focus first on the can-crusher, which was the least
THE NEW MEMBER
developed component until then, without forgetting the development of the other components.
The problem of not having an engineer was finally solved after the group asked for a professor of the Mechatronics course at Poli-USP to point
out good students and recent graduates. After
After the requirements for the engineer, he
interviews with the new candidates, finally a
suggested the first guidelines for the project: he
senior mechatronics student joined the group,
concluded that in order for the cans to fall after the
in charge of the engineering part of the project.
crush, instead of building a mechanism that opens
Although his specialty was actually mechatronics,
after the crushing action. It would be ideal if the can
he demonstrated that he had some experience
was inserted slightly tilted in the mechanism and
with mechanical systems in earlier academic
with its own gravity would fall into some opening
projects. In addition, the engineering could be
in the can compartment. Besides simplifying the
developed by someone who knew mechanical
mechanism for requiring less components, inserting
systems and dominated the software used
the cans into a tilted container also offers better
by the rest of the group: SolidWorks.
comfort for the user. Compression continued to be performed when the pedal was pressed down, as
in the model previously delivered. After evaluating the pedal of the first model, it was also concluded that the space reserved for it was satisfactory, different from the previous belief of the team, so ideas of realizing a retractable pedal were discarded. The downside of this new mechanism is that in order to perform it was necessary to invade a part of the space that had been reserved for the main waste compartment.
Figure 90. can crusher principle sequence. Source: Retrolley
By mid-May, the engineer had already minimally detailed the scheme of the new mechanism. According to his calculations, the 30º incline would
initially considered the possibility of increasing the
be enough to make the cans fall after the action.
compaction capacity, allowing a greater opening when the waste compartment was expanded,
The pedal that was previously 84 mm wide
but ended up discarding the idea for fear of
could have a maximum of 80 mm in this new
spending too much time re-calculating the forces
prototype. This was because of the side bars of
and designing the components. It was better to
the mechanism that connected the pedal to the
focus on what had not yet been developed.
can container. Although this difference was a few millimeters, it was a limitation that compromised
On the way of use, what had been decided for the
user comfort and really needed to be tested again.
delivery of the first model was that by pressing the two side buttons, the front door of the main
At the end of the month, the virtual model
compartment would open automatically. However,
was ready and the virtual simulations of the
Airbus’ complaint is that although it may seem
mechanism worked satisfactorily well, but in the
simpler to the user, this would pose some risk, for
virtual environment there was no ergonomic
example, the door could accidentally open if the
analysis and simulations of forces with real cans.
trolley were to lean both sides in a very narrow
We still had to wait for 3D Systems to produce
aisle. Also, the way the door would open could
the parts to test everything in the real world.
be unexpected by the user and cause an accident if there was something in front of the trolley. Therefore, for the prototype the group decided
to change the operation to a mechanism in which the front door opens according to the
The crusher’s development progressed rapidly,
lifting of the handlebar, thus the user has
but the main mechanism was not forgotten. In the
greater control over the speed of the opening,
first model, the aluminum bars that were part of
avoiding accidents. With the handlebars still
this mechanism had already been specified and
on top, press the Release button to lower the
would be maintained for the prototype. The group
handlebars without the front door being closed.
It remained to detail how this mechanism
allow the user to see the volume of liquids inside. In
coupling mechanism would be, which was not
view of the impossibility of using a similar material
successfully designed in the first model.
in the first model, the container was produced with a transparent but fragile material which
The engineer along with 3D Systems decided the
eventually broke into a fall. So the group decided
materials that would be used and then a first virtual
to reconsider. For the prototype, the container
model of the components was sketched. There
would be produced with the same toughest material
would be two side buttons one on each side of the
as the other modules, but with a thin window of
handlebar connected by an axle. By pressing one
transparent material to show the level of liquids.
of the buttons, the axis of the handlebar would engage the compacting mechanism, i.e. the user
The upper and lower valves that were only
could control the opening and closing of the door
partially resolved for the first model needed
by the rotation of the handlebar. When pressing
to be detailed for the prototype. Issues such as
the other side button and the handlebar to the
insulation and flow calculation seemed to be major
top, the handlebar shaft would be disengaged,
challenges to be overcome by the designers.
i.e. the user could lower the handlebar without closing the front door for waste collection. This time the group learned the lesson from the first
model and predicted the slacks between each
The group had difficulty putting together the
component. The mechanism worked perfectly
structure of the first model, mainly due to lack of
in virtual simulations, but they did not anticipate
clearances between the components of the first
the problems the group would encounter when
model. For this prototype, they have been designed
testing the mechanism with real parts.
from the beginning. Again it was decided that 3D Systems would mount the trolley on top of the base of a current trolley, which would be purchased
to take advantage of the pedals mechanism.
The first model had a handlebar that simulated as a retractable mechanism with only demonstrative
Airbus questioned the team whether it would not
purpose. It did not lock the handlebars, let
be possible to just reuse the sidewalls of a current
alone allow the user to push the trolley with
trolley so the prototype was already robust enough.
the expanded handlebars. That is why all the
In conversation with 3D Systems it was concluded
development of this mechanism was necessary.
that this would not be possible because the
At first, the idea was to use the retractable
compaction mechanism should be hidden between
mechanism of suitcases. The problem was that
the walls so that no user would be injured and the
the internal locking mechanism needed to
bags not torn during handling and compaction.
withstand the effort of pushing the trolley. By the end of May, the group had finished a good part of the design of the structure parts. It was LIQUIDS
decided that it would be made with aluminum
In the first model, the liquid container would be
profiles machined in CNC machine and connected
produced by a translucent material, which would
by the edges by plastic parts, in this case produced
Figure 91.â€‚ main mechanism operation sequence. Source: author
by SLA. The idea of having a side panel with the
product brand was retained, as airlines could want
Systems support cabin forces if customers wanted to
their respective brands on the product as well. Thus,
test on real airplanes?
an acrylic plate with a printed adhesive would be
embedded between the profiles on the ACM panels.
enough to compete with the 18kg of current trolleys?
At one of the meetings, Airbus pointed out that
Many of these questions could only be
the latest model did not hold the liquid modules
answered in the last days of the project, when
in the back firmly enough, which caused them to
the pieces could finally be assembled.
Would the structure to be produced by 3D
Would the total structure of the trolley be light
fall and break. For this reason, the group decided to build a rear door, which minimally protected all modules in place, especially in case of turbulence.
CERTIFICATION Even with the 3D files ready, some questions still remained unanswered:
At most of the group’s video conferencing meetings with 3D Systems and Airbus, Airbus’ trolleys
Would the Trolley be unbalanced when the main
compartment was open?
engineer gave tips on certification requirements for this type of product to enter the market. He also gave the group access to some international standards documents for this type of equipment. To support the requirements of a real product, he pointed out that current trolleys need to pass a test where a force of 9000 N is applied to the top of the trolley. As the handlebar of the first prototype was plastic, it showed some concern about the fragility of the material for this type of function. Therefore, the group chose to make the structure of the aluminum handlebar for this new prototype. For the prototype, the project manager decided that some recommendations could be followed only partially, since this was only a prototype and not a product to be available in the market. However, designers should keep in mind that these specifications should be incorporated into the product in the future in production for the market.
Figure 92. sketches of the liquids container and
valves. Source: author
date the Airbus team had available, so they could test the parts and approve. To do this, 3D System asked that all major virtual files be finalized by the first week of June, i.e. all parts of the main engine, the can crusher mechanism and the structure. Even the Retrolley team speeding up the finalization of the files within the stipulated deadline, it was only partially completed, as there were certain points of the can crusher that had not yet been validated with Airbus. In addition, 3D Systems was still overwhelmed with many parallel projects, which made it difficult for them to focus on fast pace this particular project. In mid-June, two members of the Airbus team (the project manager and vice-president cabin specialist) Figure 93.â€‚ alternatives for rear door. Source:
came to check the progress of the project closely.
AIRBUSâ€™ THIRD VISIT
By mid-May, the team was working hard to finalize
On the morning of June 14, the first meeting
the virtual model and send the files to production.
with Airbus took place. On the first day of the
At that point, Airbus commented that it might
meeting, the engineer showed the team the
be possible to schedule a briefer visit to Brazil
virtual model of the trolley, and the Airbus
to follow the closure of the project, if the group
team analyzed each part: cans crusher, main
judged it necessary. At the last visit of the Airbus
compactor, structure, among others. Through
team to Brazil, much of the scope was changed
the software it was possible to understand how
and the project made a major breakthrough: the
the components fit together and moved.
main mechanism changed from gears to bars and important decisions were made on the can
On the mechanism of cans, they liked the new part
crusher. Hence, it was decided that another visit
of the engineering developed, but they realized
would be important to approve the changes that
that there was still lacking a better design work
had already been suggested, such as the can
to improve the userâ€™s comfort and the aesthetic
crusher invading a part of the main compartment,
aspect of the pieces. Actually the design team had
and also testing some components of this second
not had the opportunity to work on the parts until
prototype before it was sent to the event.
then, since the engineering part had not yet been resolved and could change. So in the following
The initial idea was to have more than half of the
hours the Design team worked to improve the
prototype completed by mid-June, which was the
shape of the pieces: the corners were rounded,
the lid puller became more comfortable and the
and would not be so complex. In the future,
components had made a better use of space.
they would find out some surprises on it.
This design was finalized in time to be presented on the last day of meeting, on the 16th.
On the structure, the team agreed with the proposed solution, but added that the rear
The next item in the discussion was the
door needed to lock up the modules better in
container of liquids. In the way it was being
the event of turbulence, preferably using some
proposed there was a fundamental problem:
commercially available lock for aircraft equipment.
the piece was very long and contained a large volume of liquid, which made it difficult to handle when lifting and removing the liquid.
The group intended to solve the problem with
The meetings helped the group finish deciding
valves in the lower part of the piece, but Airbus
controversial points of the project. At the end of
team had a better and bolder idea: to divide
the meetings, the 3D model in Solidworks was
the container into two smaller ones that would
finally finalized and approved for production.
have only one upper valve each and still would
The mechanisms worked satisfactorily in
facilitate the handling by having smaller volume of
the virtual environment, but there remained
liquids. A bad point of the idea would be that flight
to know how they would behave with the
attendants would have to change containers as
actual materials and waste of the airlines.
soon as one of them filled. Even so, the Retrolley group decided to model these two containers
On the afternoon of June 16, the Airbus team took
to understand how that idea would look like.
the flight back to Europe, confident that the project was on the right track, although considerably
On the compaction mechanism, the team was confident that the proposed solution was adequate. The Airbus team spent much of the time evaluating each component of the engine in the 3D model and giving tips on what to take care of when producing each part, such as the keyway and axle parts. The components responsible for coupling and decoupling the mechanism were critical to the success of the project. On the bars, there was not much doubt as they were already working well on the first model. At this stage, the Retrolley group was so overwhelmed trying to fix the main mechanisms that the retractable handlebar mechanism was left for later and had not yet been detailed. The group thought it was secondary
Figure 94.â€‚ sketch of the new components. Source: author
delayed in planning. Considering the transport time
to be more ergonomic.
to the fair in England, in order for the prototype to be ready on time, the production should start immediately and last for a maximum of two weeks.
It was a very tight deadline for 3D Systems, which
promised to make an effort to meet the deadline,
tact and user comfort
but without ensuring that it would be possible.
Plastic coating the handlebar structure for better 3D Systems would solve the retractable part of
the handlebars in the prototype. In the end, the Airbus visit helped the group to make the following decisions:
USE MODE LIQUIDS MODULE: »»
Splitting the liquid container into two smaller ones,
With these changes, the use mode of the
since it was not expected large amounts of liquids at
product has also undergone some changes.
the end of the flight;
The team then decided the steps of the
Eliminating the need for a lower valve to drain
user experience for compaction:
liquids, since the container could be easily handled to echo through the upper valve.
With the trolley in the galley, the user turns the
protection holding the trolley in the galley. 5.
The top door of the trolley should also cover the
Presses the rear button of the handlebar, making
it possible to slide it out until it locks, and thus have greater comfort to maneuver it.
modules of glasses, liquids and cans, thus occupying
the entire upper surface of the prototype.
Removes the galley trolley by pulling out
close to the wall of the trolley so it does not take up
The top door is opened by rotating it
too much space when open.
Presses the left side button to engage the
Should be light enough and open easily, remaining
Presses the green pedal to unlock the trolley
The rear door should be improved to actually keep
components safe, such as liquid tanks. »»
It needed to be locked preferably with special
handlebar to the mechanism 10. 11.
Raises the handlebars, opening the front door Considering that the airport staff has already
locking mechanisms already present in the market for
placed the bags inside the trolley, he is ready to be
components for aircraft equipment.
taken to the aisle and collect the waste from the
Paint the white buttons to evidence user
The waste is placed in their respective containers
The cans are placed tilted on the can crusher
and with the pedal pressed, they are crushed. They CAN CRUSHER: »»
The part that invaded the main compartment was
approved for the production »»
The design of the components has been adapted
automatically fall into the container below. When it is already full, the flight attendant must place them in the recyclable waste in the main compartment. 14.
The cups are emptied in the sink of the trolley,
which can also receive traces of ice. Then they are
the idea to the more complete and effective form.
stacked in the cup compartment.
Furthermore, it was only after Airbus became
After picking up, the user raises the handlebar and
pushes the docking button again. 16.
The handlebars must then be pushed down,
convinced of the potential of the idea through potential customers and industry players that it decided to fund this protection for future profits.
compressing the main compartment. 17.
Thus, the top door is closed and the trolley can be
stored in the galley. 18.
Closes up the telescope handlebar to lock it into
the galley space. The Retrolley team handed the digital files to 3D Systems, but there was still much confusion with the
various versions of files. Therefore, it was necessary to create a common access worksheet in which the
In June 2017, Airbus informed the group that
Retrolley group signaled to 3D Systems which pieces
it was interested in patenting the inventions in
were sent and which still needed revision. The
the Retrolley, so there would be no problems
spreadsheet also informed which material should
presenting the prototype to potential customers.
be used for each component. The 3D Systems team
Thus, the company requested that the student
then planned the production of each component
team help to review the texts for the patent
and began to order the necessary materials. Some
application, as well as the images demonstrating
orders would only arrive in the week of July 26.
the mechanisms to be used in the patent document. Initially, the innovation would be registered in
With the decisions made, production could begin
Germany and then be protected globally.
without risks of further future changes. At Airbus’ visit, the new delivery date was finally set for July
There would be two patents required, one for the
1, so that the prototype would arrive in time to
main compaction mechanism of the trolley, and
attend the Farnborough fair in England on July 7.
the other for the crushing mechanism of cans and interchangeable modules on the back of the trolley.
The parts made of acrylic sheets were the easiest to
The names of the members of the Retrolley team,
produce, so they were the first. By the end of that
including the engineer, as well as those of the Airbus
week they were ready to be assembled and the team
team, would be listed among the inventors, even
was finally able to see the binboxes ready. There
though there was no remuneration forecast for that.
were also no doubts about the components of the cup and liquid modules, which were soon ready.
With the documents signed by everyone, finally the Retrolley group reached what seemed
The Retrolley team personally accompanied the
unreachable few months before, the protection
production of the parts at least once a week to see
of the idea. It is observed that the patent was
if they were compatible with the proposed design.
only realized after a considerable development of the part of the engineering of the project: the
As soon as the first pieces were assembled, the team
detailed mechanisms allowed the protection of
asked 3D System to always make sure the trolley
structure would not exceed 1003 x 405 x 302 mm,
changing the aluminum profiles of the frame:
which is the current standard. Failure to follow
instead of U-profiles, L-profiles would be used,
this rule would compromise the entire project.
which are easier and faster to be machined.
Any adaptation to the design passed by the
This idea that seemed to be a salvation ended up
Retrolley team should be communicated.
reflecting negatively on the rest of the project: the main mechanism did not fit between the
The engineer recommended using steel 1020 or
side walls of the prototype and had to adapt
1045 for the parts of the mechanism in order to
the project, reducing some pieces and adjusting
withstand the forces. Parts such as springs, screws,
the internal space between the walls.
threads, shaft rings and bearings were all specified by the engineer so that there were no discrepancies. While the pieces were produced the Retrolley group
THE NEW PLANNING
worked to detail some of the pieces that were left for later, such as the hinges and valves, which would
The deadline arrived and after a difficult meeting
be printed by sintering, the colors of the pieces and
on June 28, the group along with 3D Systems and
artwork, which would be installed on the side panel.
Airbus concluded that it would not be possible to deliver the prototype in time to arrive in England
Slowly the prototype parts were starting to get
for the fair. The machining process was taking much
ready. However, the critical path of the design
longer than expected and the parts that needed
was the components that needed to be machined
the machining process would be ready by July 3
in the CNC machine. Using the CNC demanded
only. Even if the group accelerated the process,
high machine time and disputed hours with
the prototype would not meet the level of quality
schedules of the parallel projects of 3D Systems.
needed to demonstrate to customers. Then Airbus agreed to give more time to 3D Systems and the group Retrolley to deliver something of quality: on July 28, the prototype should be received in Europe.
THE FIRST ISSUES 3D Systems then sent the new production 3D Systems planned to accelerate the process so
planning to end on July 20. Even with longer
that from July 16 to 26 the CNC machine could carry
term, time was short for so many pieces.
out all the processes for the aluminum parts of the structure, the mechanism and others. The assembly process would begin parallel to this, on the 22nd,
with the expected closure on June 27. However, it
Another problem was found to install the casters
was not clear if there was enough time to paint the
mechanism to the base: since there were too many
pieces before sending the prototype to Europe.
screws to keep the walls standing the casters needed to be installed further into the base,
To accommodate the machining time of all
meaning they would be closer to each other. In
parts to the long term, 3D Systems proposed
the end, the group realized that this did not imply
Figure 95.â€‚ trolley components in production. Source: 3D Systems
any problem of imbalance as contemplated.
the group decided to make vertical cuts where the rods invaded the container. In the end, the piece
The main compactor was 50% complete, with the
had an unusual shape in the back, but it worked.
retractable handlebar mechanism was undefined, and the liquid compartment was 98% complete,
To empty the container, it was only necessary to
waiting only for the paint and the final test.
turn it upside down and no can would be stuck.
Meanwhile, the group tried to finalize the redesign
Another problem identified in the mechanism
of the door with the lock imported by 3D Systems.
was that as the base pressed the can over
By the end of July, the door had been machined
the container lid, the 4mm aluminum plate
and the lock fitted with the handle. However, when
could not stand the strain and warped.
3D Systems technicians installed the door on the prototype, it was noticed that the hinge did not allow the door to fully open and lock onto the trolley wall, which made it impossible for the prototype to
pass through the narrow aisles of the aircraft. Once again 3D Systems had to disassemble the hinge,
With the engine parts still being assembled, the
redesign and print new hinges to allow full opening.
deadline that was late July would not be met. This time, in addition to the delay in production caused by the constant problems encountered in the tests,
CAN CRUSHER MECHANISM
there were also bureaucratic problems between
By mid-June, the can mechanism was already 90%
the two companies and the logistics company
complete, so on July 21, the group was testing the
that would be responsible for transporting the
mechanism for the first time. First the group tested
prototype to Europe. This gave the group a slightly
it without placing the can container under the can
longer deadline for resolving production issues
receiver. As he pressed the pedal, the base rose
as they resolved bureaucratic problems. The new
and crumpled the can as expected, but the can was
deadline was then set for the end of August.
then stuck inside the crusher. The group crushed more than a dozen cans to find out how to improve the problem and finally identified parts that could be opened to facilitate slipping and canning.
So the group decided to put the can container down
In the first week of August the prototype was
to test if they would fall right into it without getting
90% assembled. The can crusher mechanism
stuck. Positioning it below the receiver, when the
had already been improved to optimize the fall
pedal was engaged, the container was pushed
after the crushing. The team was already able to
violently forward: the lateral stems of the pedal
install bags in the main compartment, and the
as they ascended invaded the container space by
first compaction tests without waste had been a
pushing it forward. It was not possible to reduce
success. It was time to test with waste similar to the
the container, which was already at the limit to
companies. The team emptied the waste from the
accommodate the diameter of a crushed can. Thus,
3D Systems offices and tested the compaction.
On August 16, the team arrived at the 3D Systems
holes to couple the mechanism. The first problem
headquarters in the morning to test the mechanisms.
was the time that would be required, given the
When it placed waste in the main compartment
previous experience of the amount of machine
and tried to compact it, the mechanism closed the
time to machine parts. The problem with the
front door but left a gap of almost 5 cm between
second alternative was that it could be palliative
it and the body of the Trolley. This put the whole
and the problem could be repeated. As the piece
project in check. A decision had to be taken quickly
had already been devastated also the locking of
so as not to further compromise the deadline.
the handlebars would no longer be possible.
3D Systems personnel then reopened the entire
The team realized that it was not necessary to
trolley to access the mechanism and discovered
lock the handlebar in the horizontal position,
a problem with the coupling discs: the cracks to
because when pushing the handlebar, this did not
engage the mechanism had been seriously worn out
disturb. The group followed with this decision.
by the compacting force, which left it loose when it was engaged, resulting in the gap evident in the test.
After three days the result could be tested. The mechanism has returned satisfactorily.
Such a problem could jeopardize the rest of the project. A member of the 3D System team
The team realized that it would be good to
suggested building new cracks in the same part
put some instructions on top to guide the
only on the bottom to reduce the time to produce
user, since there was enough space.
the piece. After a discussion, the group realized that it had two alternatives: either the team
The ideal was to differentiate states with color, but
machined another part in another way to optimize
the mechanism itself was already very complex and
the locking of the coupling or adapted the existing
it would not be possible to adapt these indications.
one using the other part of the part to realize other
Figure 96.â€‚ rear door with lock.
Figure 97.â€‚ ACM structure with
Figure 98.â€‚ can crusher pedal.
wheels. Source: author
THE FINAL TEST The delivery date has arrived again. By the morning of August 31, the parts had already been machined and painted, but many of them had not been assembled and therefore had not been tested with normal debris. Any problem the group encountered that day should be resolved in a matter of hours. Everything was ready for the tests. The group decided to record videos and photos of the tests to show at the meeting with Airbus before sending the prototype. Thus, the company could also approve or not the prototype before receiving it. Figure 99.â€‚ tests with cans. Source: author
CAN CRUSHER HANDLEBAR
The first test was that of the crushing mechanism.
Then the retractable handlebar had to be
This mechanism should be used only with the
mounted on the mechanism. The group expanded
trolley locked in position, i.e. with the pedal of
the handlebar and discovered how difficult the
the lock engaged. With the trolley locked, the
sliding of the pieces was. 3D Systems tried several
engineer opened the can receiver and inserted
alternatives to improve: it passed grease, sanded
the first can. The cover slid automatically shutting
the side of the pieces to tune the piece. In the end
the compartment as expected. He pressed the
it got a little better, but still required some strength
foot pedal and the base came up crushing the can
and skill of the user. Then the group tried to push
that automatically fell into the container exactly
the trolley with handlebars and realized how wobbly
as designed. The first can was a success, but would
the handlebar was. It moved vertically, which
it always be? The group decided to continue the
disrupted the movement of pushing the trolley and
test with the remaining 9 cans. The second can
gave a low quality impression to the prototype.
has already presented a problem because of the screw that has been trapped in the can clip. With
The retractable mechanism of the handlebar
some effort the engineer managed to untangle the
was very unsteady. When a video was shown,
lid of the component and crumple it successfully.
Airbus did not accept the final result and asked
The test went on and the majority passed. Some
for a new solution. Because machining new parts
cans were stuck inside the compartment, but a
with other material would take much longer than
simple touch with the next can was enough to make
scheduled, the group had to decide quickly what
that stuck can fall. The group asked 3D Systems
to do. It was then decided to open the piece and
to sand the tip of the bolt that caused the first
reinforce the mechanism with a metal plate at
binding and approved the mechanism in the test.
the bottom to reduce the wobbly movement. In total seven cans were in the container. The
group then opened the back door and dumped
sink. The problem has finally been solved.
them all into the main compartment, just as the stewards would do if the compartment filled up. No cans accidentally dropped. And the container
fit perfectly back under the can receiver. The
Next challenge was to test the slip of the cups.
rear door also had to lock the modules in place.
Would the cups fall as expected? Again the answer was no. Previously the group had tested with glasses falling in the same tube used in the
prototype and was successful. But this time, the
The second test was for liquids. The valves
tube was already mounted inside the protective
did actually open when the container was
module. Precisely this caused an unexpected
attached and closed when the container
result: the glasses stood in the middle of the tube.
was removed, but did they do the job of not leaking while pouring the liquids?
It was concluded that the airflow was not suitable for them to slide to the end. Then the 3D Systems
In the first test the group found that the answer
team opened three side slits in the tube and ran
was no: when the liquid was discharged quickly
the test again. This time, everything happened as
the valve let a large quantity leak through the
expected and the glasses began to slide normally.
sides of the tank soiling all the components. The group decided to reinforce the seal
MAIN MECHANISM AND HANDLEBAR
with a rubber around the mouthpiece.
Next challenge would be the main mechanism, but first of all the team had to test the new handlebars.
Junior had the idea to direct the liquid better
The handlebar would normally open by pressing the
by placing a bottle spout in the bottom of the
center knob and sliding slightly out. It was important
Figure 100.â€‚ gap when closing the trolley. Source:
Figure 101.â€‚ adjustments in the prototype. Source:
Figure 102.â€‚ tests and adjustments during the production of the prototype. Source: author
to try to keep the handlebar horizontal at this time
Pressing the side button to attach the handlebar
to avoid binding. The locking of the handlebars
to the main mechanism and being able to open the
(expanded and guarded) happened without major
door was a task that required a certain practice: if
problems, although it presented a certain game.
the handlebar was not in a completely horizontal
The game was greatly reduced with the solutions
position it was difficult to push the button. As he
proposed by 3D Systems, but it was still noticeable.
lifted the handlebars, the front door opened gently
The group judged that the unsteadiness was
as expected. However, the group realized that
acceptable for this stage of product development
the lack of a larger gap between the side of the
and demonstration to customers. So all that
handlebar and the cup module caused the top to rise
remained was to warn Airbus about the problem
together with the handlebar. It was not a serious
so there were no surprises when they got it.
problem, just something to be improved afterwards.
With the expanded handlebars and the wheel lock
With the handlebar at the top, simply press the
mechanism unlocked, pushing the trolley was quite
release button to lower it and push the trolley,
comfortable, you could not feel the difference of
simulating the flight attendantsâ€™ collection
about 6kg between a normal trolley and Retrolley.
work in the hallways. The first time, itâ€™s a bit difficult to hit the right place to uncouple.
The next step was to lock the trolley casters again to simulate the compaction of the waste.
The group took 20 seconds to put each bag in the
This is a task that would probably be done
main compartment, perhaps because the design
exclusively in galley. The locking mechanism
of the fasteners had not been tested previously.
of the casters worked without problems.
The ideal would be a shorter time, but for this prototype this was only a minor function. The group then placed several types of waste that simulated those found in airlines. The bag holders resisted with praise. However, this test still left doubts whether they would also resist if the airline used heavier materials in the packaging, such as glass. At the end of collection, lifting the handlebar and attaching it to the mechanism with the side knob was a bit tricky, due to the problem described above. After coupling, the handlebar was lowered closing the compartment completely, without leaving any cracks. Finally, the mechanism was fulfilling its function.
Figure 103.â€‚ handlebar mechanismSource:
When closing the handlebar to save the trolley in
the galley, it was realized that the lack of a clearance
between the handlebar and the top of the modules
and the locking of the handlebar, everyone
can cause the user to press the finger if not careful.
decided that the prototype passed the test
Unfortunately, this type of problem could not be
and worked satisfactorily well to be sent to
fixed in this prototype, but in future versions.
Europe and presented to customers.
Test results were passed to Airbus during the
It was up to 3D Systems to finish packing
videoconference that occurred shortly after
the prototype and send it to the carrier.
the tests. Despite the difficulty in operating the mechanism with the buttons and the game
Figure 104.â€‚ liquids container. Source: author
Figure 105.â€‚ test with waste. Source: author
person, Airbus wrote to the group acknowledging that the prototype was a major improvement
The prototype was finally delivered to Airbus
over the first model delivered in April. According
headquarters in Toulouse in the early days
to the company, the first model was what
of September 2016. After all the setbacks
enabled this significant improvement and so
during the almost 4 months of development,
they were happy to have planned this delivery
the group breathed a sigh of relief.
in two phases (a model and a prototype).
During transport, unfortunately some parts
To the surprise of the group Retrolley, one of the
broke loose, like the material of the side buttons
first activities that Airbus carried out with the
and the ring around the cup container. None of
prototype as soon as it arrived in Europe was to
them were of fundamental importance for the
introduce it to the German deputy chancellor,
operation of the product and could be repaired
who is also the Minister of Economic Affairs. He
by Airbus without problems. After evaluating
was very interesting on the topic of recycling and
the prototype in France, he was sent to Hamburg
encouraged Airbus to bring the idea to the market.
so that the rest of the team also opined. The company would still start presenting the As everyone was able to check the result in
prototype to potential customers in the coming
weeks and decided to schedule a videoconference
Access to main compartment when in galley
with the group to formalize its opinion on the
The lid of the can crusher
prototype delivered. In it, the company commented
The difficult sliding of the handlebar
on the main points, such as the positive surprise in
Difficulty in coupling and uncoupling the main
seeing the mechanism of crushing cans work well.
mechanism through the side buttons
On December 2, 2016, the company compiled
Later, the company made it clear that it did not
the main issues to be improved in a document and
want to build another prototype, just to point
sent to the Retrolley group. Among them were:
out the points they had left in some way and ask the group to contribute ideas on how to
Difficulty in operating the telescopic principle of
improve them. So they could judge whether they could improve the problem by adapting the
Poor closing by the compaction engine
solution to the existing prototype, or whether it
Difficulty in operation and resistance of the side
would be something to think about in the future
button materials »»
Leaking liquids when the container is removed
Separation of the two waste bags when the
compartment is expanded
stages of the project, perhaps in marketing.
TELESCOPIC PRINCIPLE OF THE HANDLEBAR
Complicated attachment of waste bags
One of the most critical negative points pointed
Cup module weight
out by Airbus was exactly the game that was
Figure 106. tests with the prototype. Source: 3D Systems
Figure 107.â€‚ photos of the prototype. Source: 3D Systems
in the handlebar when it was expanded. The
that suffer more friction, and to improve the
Retrolley group had already tried to improve the
shape of the part to optimize the lock.
balance, except that for this they had to assemble the parts with less clearance between them. This caused the slip to require some effort from
the user. As the two parts are very frictionless,
A operação dos botões laterais requer bastante
there should be a way to use better materials for
Operation of the side buttons requires a lot of
these specific components. Also, since the two
experience to feel where exactly the button
ends of the handlebar are not synchronized, the
engages, so much so that when Airbus tested the
movement may end up jamming on one side.
prototype for the first time it failed to engage the engine in the first few attempts and thought it was
As requested by Airbus, the group proposed a
broken. It is necessary to place the handlebar in
way to improve the mechanism. A new mechanism
a specific and precise position, which is not very
with new materials was designed, following the
clear to the user who first handles the trolley.
orientation that the group learned from one of 3D Systems’ collaborators: for sliding mechanisms, one
The material printed by Stereolithography
material should be softer than the other, not both
(SLA) was used to cover the pieces of metal
the same as was happening. With new materials
and inform the action, but it is very fragile and
such as treated steel and steel. Airbus has chosen
ended up breaking during the transport.
not to produce this improvement for the time being. LIQUIDS LEAKAGE MAIN MECHANISM
The Retrolley group designed the valves so that
As requested by Airbus, the group proposed a
when the container is below the sink, the valve
way to improve the mechanism. A new mechanism
opens; And when it was withdrawn, the valve
with new materials was designed, following the
coupled to the container was closed. However, when
orientation that the group learned from one of 3D
the liquid container is removed, leaking residual
Systems’ collaborators: for sliding mechanisms, one
liquids from the sink may occur, which the group did
material should be softer than the other, not both
not anticipate. To solve this problem, the ideal would
the same as was happening. With new materials
also be to place a valve at the bottom end of the sink.
such as treated steel and steel. Airbus has chosen
This improvement also would not impact on negative
not to produce this improvement for the time being:
feedback from potential customers, so Airbus would only deploy if the project had continuity.
The sliding of the parts to engage and release are
very long, which causes inaccuracy. »»
The shape of the engaging pin causes it to escape
when a higher than average force is applied.
SEPARATION OF WASTE BAGS The Retrolley group designed the binbox containers so there was some freedom in the
After understanding the problem, the group
volume of waste placed in each bag. Thus, if a bag
suggested to produce new parts using
had more volume than the other, it would invade,
treated steel, especially in the components
without problems, a little of the space reserved
by the other. However, according to Airbus, the
In addition, when the compartment is opened,
containers are a bit fragile, because they have
the way the bags are separated did not please
thin acrylic walls and are tall. In the product for
the company much, as they are a little loose.
the market, this component would be produced
The group decided that the ideal would be to
of aluminum so that it would not happen.
improve the attachment of the bags between the containers of the bags so that they did not become so loose. Because they are not of fundamental
WASTE BAGS FIXING
importance for the prototypeâ€™s operation,
Airbus has commented that the tie clips to the
Airbus did not demand a better proposal.
bags are complicated to use and may require a longer time than expected by aircraft cleaning teams. Fixing may not be strong enough to handle heavier waste, such as glass bottles, large amounts of newspapers and magazines, among others.
Figure 108.â€‚ photos of the prototype. Source: Airbus
of liquids, despite the delivery so close to the deadline. When the decision maker is present,
29. Prototypes allow to understand future
the priorities are aligned, the team understands
production problems that the design will face
what really matters and works toward the same
The physical model helped to understand
goals. Knapp (2013) describes the importance of
the user’s first reaction to the idea, but the
the presence of decision makers closely following
prototype’s development mainly helped the team
the project: “These decision-makers generally
learn the consequences of design decisions in
understand the problem in depth, and often have strong
production. The prototype allows demonstrating
opinions and criteria to help find the right solution.”
the principle of operation of the product for potential customers and 3D Systems was able to
The Retrolley team was able to get a clearer picture
produce it with paint and finish level similar to a
of Airbus’ vision of how the project aligns with
market trolley, in use on today’s aircraft. The key
the company’s strategy. In the case, Retrolley was
technical lessons learned from this development
developing in parallel with another compaction
are best described in Airbus feedback.
project inside the cabin, present in the Airbus BizLab, incubator of innovation of the company. Both
30. Do not underestimate the importance
with the same goal, but with completely different
of acquiring good human resources
solutions and development process. The differential
What the team has learned from problems with
of the Retrolley concept was the simplicity of
engineers is that one should not underestimate
the solution to reduce the volume of waste.
the search for the right professional profile for a job. When the professional does not master the
32. Market experts know how to
technology that the job requires or when the
prioritize the functionalities
availability of time is not compatible, it is better
Retrolley had several issues to be resolved and
to continue seeking other professionals than to
feedback from industry professionals helped
risk. Delays such as this greatly impair the course
the team understand how to prioritize the
of the project, since a new search for a member
development of each feature. Without this, it
would be necessary. Although the values were
would be difficult to spend time researching
stipulated at the beginning of the conversation, the
what is most important to the user and
change of position of the professionals ended up
overcoming the Valley of Death research gap.
generating a certain discomfort even with Airbus. 33. The design work with the engineering 31. Intensity of decisions during the visit
work must be aligned for best result
greatly accelerated the project
The engineer’s work with the group of designers
In the same way that it happened on the first visit,
has helped the latter a few lessons, for example,
the second visit cooperated to accelerate product
moving parts should receive special attention
development. With decision makers in attendance
to the materials used to be compatible with the
watching the progress, the team was able to make
function. It is also necessary to better understand
bolder decisions, such as changing the container
the limitations of the materials before designing the parts to avoid future wear. At Retrolley, the design could have lined up a bit better with the engineering
design to improve the shape of the components and
difficult to carry out many pre-production tests
achieve better mechanical efficiency, minimizing
by constant pressure to deliver the prototype in
some of the wear problems that have occurred.
time. The tight deadline also made it impossible to risk a project to slightly increase the compaction
34. Focusing on functionality may
percentage before producing the prototype.
hamper the usability development In the end, the amount of time spent adjusting
36. Plan safety time margins for production
the mechanisms may have hampered designers
The experience of working with 3D Systems in
to focus on improving the user experience with
the production of the prototype showed the
the product. Despite the complexity of the
design and engineering team how it works in the
mechanisms, the way the user uses Retrolley could
market. At the Academy, students are a bit freer
be more clear and intuitive, as it would later be
to plan their own time to devote to modeling;
proven by interview with a commissioner. The
already on the market, 3D Systems needs to
group decided to solve the engineering part first,
manage the allocation of machines for a number
which was more critical to the success of the
of concurrent projects, so it needs the files ready
prototype, and only then try to leave the use more
in Certain time. Learning about how materials
intuitive, but the ideal would be to spend more
behave in the real world has taken a significant
time together with engineering to plan the easiest
part of the planning. Therefore, better testing
way to use the Product from the beginning.
of solutions with low fidelity mock-ups before production could have helped the group predict
35. Adequate time must be set aside to
some failures before they occur in the final pieces.
also develop the little priority tasks Planning was left to be desired when the top
37. Understand the efforts of materials
priority mechanisms could not be finalized in
Again, it was important to better test the efforts of
time to design smaller elements. The prototype
materials, only this time, even the strongest metals,
development process was more challenging than the
such as steel. A difference of a few millimeters could
one imagined by the Retrolley group, largely due to
have slowed down the delivery of the prototype.
the engineering design involved and the difficulty in making the concept tangible in physical parts.
38. Idea protection is key to licensing
The frequent failures of mechanisms and setbacks
With the success of the presentation of the
in production were not properly predicted during
first model, the hypothesis that there was
the planning and there were so many pieces to be
market strengthened and contributed to
produced that the group made several concessions
Airbus accept to finance the protection of the
to complete them on time. Thus, it is necessary to
idea, especially the mechanisms and modular
have a more robust alternative plan for contingency
components. A company with global reach has
management in production and iteration.
the power to make the challenge of protecting the idea in the world more attainable when
Secondary components such as bag holders could
there is a vision of possible future profits.
have been tested more often if their design was not neglected by the designers at the beginning of the project. However, it is true that it would have been
THE EVOLUTION OF THE PATENT
The Retrolley group then went for feedback on their own. In April 2017, the group scheduled a
At this stage, the protection of the idea was already
videoconference to present the prototype through
assured by filing the patent in Germany. Since
photos to a flight attendant who had helped the
Airbus’s market is global, it was also necessary to
team from the beginning. At first, the group did
protect it in other countries, so they arranged for the
not explain the functioning and function of each
production of the documents to be patented in the
component to verify that the product was intuitive
United States, with the help of lawyers specialized
enough. Thus, it was possible to recognize some
in the subject. The student group cooperated by
usability issues that users might face when handling
providing updated project images and reviewing the
the product. For example, with the trolley closed,
explanation text of the mechanisms. The so-called
the flight attendant assumed that the handlebar
“global” patent was being made possible thanks to
button would actually open the top door. He also
the help of a large company with global reach.
thought that the handlebar would turn to either side of the Trolley to be used on both sides, because
As before, the patents presented the names of
currently two flight attendants go through collecting
all members of the Retrolley group, including the
the garbage with the same full-size trolley.
engineer, although the contract between the parties did not provide for any kind of compensation to
After opening the top door, he thought the
the group with the invention, for example royalties,
trolley would already be ready for waste
as is common in the field of Design. For USP
collection, without expanding the compartment.
students, this was already a great achievement.
Rotating the door to open can also be a problem for smaller spaces such as galley.
With this protection, Airbus could be less apprehensive in exposing the
He liked the idea of liquids container for pouring
concept to other companies, especially
coffee and milk, because today this is cause for
at international aviation events.
problems. In the airplane only eater can be poured in the sink, so any other liquid should be stored in a bottle to be discarded, however with the constant lack of time in the operation of a flight can happen to
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS’ FEEDBACK
throw hot liquids in the sink. The milk mainly should not be thrown in the sink of the plane to not clog.
After solving the main engine problems with new parts, Airbus began to meet with airline
At the end of the flight he said that the cleaning
employees to understand what they thought
teams discard the bags in large garbage containers.
about the concept and the prototype as a whole.
Cleaning staff can be from the airline itself or from
In this part, the Retrolley group did not interfere
a third party company, depending on the airport.
directly, nor did it have access to the feedbacks for reasons of secrecy. He only heard a few
The rear door lock was a plus as they are already
points raised by Airbus later by videoconference,
accustomed to this type of mechanism, in which
which suggested some measures to improve
the red means the door is open and green, closed.
component cleaning and component strength.
It was not clear from the image how the person would insert the cans. The horizontal metal bar did not convey that it could be lifted to accommodate the can. It could have graphical indications about what goes in each container and even a greater differentiation between them. After seeing the full operation, he claimed to be able to operate the trolley. In aircraft that only use full-size trolleys for the
Figure 109.â€‚ Crystal Cabin awards. Source: Airbus
waste, although the galleyâ€™s space fits 2 half-sizes trolleys one in front of the other, these spaces need to be fitted with latches for each rather than a single
of the prototype in partnership with Airbus, the
end only lock. He added that he has been through
company decided to enroll the project in the
turbulence cases where he had to leave the trolley
award. For this competition, Retrolley was an
locked where he was and run to sit down. So the
Airbus project, not academic like Fly Your Ideas
little Trolley tilted to the side inside the galley.
2015, so the names of the Retrolley team were just mentioned in the presentations. Members of the Retrolley group also did not attend the event. Even so, for the Retrolley group it was a great
CRYSTAL CABIN CONTEST
reason to celebrate: the concept continued to bear fruit. On April 3, two Airbus members presented
Following the feedback, an email from the Airbus
the prototype to jurors on a 5-minute Elevator
team announced a great unexpected news
Pitch. Hours later the result was announced:
for the Retrolley group: the project had been
Retrolley was the big winner in its category.
selected as one of three finalists for the Crystal Cabin award. The award is a benchmark for the
With the award, the press was interested in writing
world aviation industry and the award coincides
about the project. The news about the prize
with the Hamburg Aviation Fair, the same one in
shook those at the fair, who took the opportunity
which the first model was presented in 2016.
to check the prototype on the shelf of Airbus. Companies were recognizing the value of the
The Retrolley group had considered participating
idea that waste is worth organizing for better use
in the prize shortly after winning the Fly Your
of space on the plane and recycling. It was the
Ideas 2015, as some organizers visited the event
perfect time to talk to more interested airlines
of the final presentations of the contest and talked
to prove the existence of the need and more
with the group. However, the requirements to
importantly, talk to potential suppliers interested
participate were impeding, such as the need to
in acquiring the license to produce the product.
present a physical prototype. With the production
The award proved above all the relevance of
The achievement of the Crystal Cabin Award 2017
the recycling theme and the marketâ€™s need for
gave more visibility to the project, especially among
a better solution. Many airlines already have
the participants of the aviation fair. Airbus said it
recycling programs, but with adapted equipment.
was in contact with potential manufacturers for
It is interesting how the idea of collecting
licensing, but details of how the lawsuit would take
the liquid separately, although simple, quite
place have not yet been disclosed by the company.
pleases the actors. Retrolley is seen as a wellrounded solution for that particular service.
39. Industry awards help keep the idea attractive
Airbus is in the process of negotiating with
The award proves that there is a need of the
manufacturers who may wish to license the
market and that the product is relevant to be
product. In this process, all market research
developed. Crystal Cabin Award was a great
and customer feedback collected is also
gimmick for positive conversations with potential
offered to these companies, especially
prospects interested in buying the idea, reinforcing
the smaller ones that cannot do it.
the option to license the idea path way. Despite the good news after the Crystal Results of research financed by companies, often
Cabin awards, the future of the project is still
because they are understood as their right, do not
uncertain. Airbus said that should any supplier
allow publication or agreement on ownership of
sign the license agreement; it will assist with
the findings and sharing of benefits generated by
technical specifications consultants to ensure
the results of joint research (SEGATTO, 1996).
that the product conforms to the international standards governing this type of product.
Being a company that suffers global competition, Airbus invests in innovation to differentiate itself. 40. Other product configuration may
interest some specific customers Airlines that already use the full-size trolley would probably prefer a Retrolley of this size so they do not have to spend resources to reconfigure their galleys. 41. Despite the awards, the product
could be more intuitive The complexity and number of steps to operate the engine may confuse users at first glance. Even with the written instructions, the ideal would be to rethink the mechanism in order to diminish the actions of the user.operar o mechanism pode confudir os usuários à primeira vista. Mesmo com as instruções escritas, o ideal seria repensar o mechanism de forma a diminuir as ações do usuário.
REFLECTION As defended in the introduction of this
Already the information and confidence gap
document, the objective of this Final Paper
had to be worked during all the time in the
is to serve as a reference for Brazilian Design
interactions between group Retrolley, 3D
students to bring their academic innovations to
Systems and Airbus. The fact that the students
the market. To do so, he presented the events
won a prize in the competition of the investing
during the Retrolley project in order to verify
company itself cooperated to increase trust among
what theories took place and what could be
the players. However, this gap was the major
improved in the product development process.
obstacle in trying to partner with the university to develop the models, for example. In the case
The Valley of Death metaphor proved to be valid in
of Retrolley, this partnership was not fulfilled by
the case of Retrolley, and the team observed, among
the divergent demands of the project, such as
the main challenges, problems related to each of
term, infrastructure and human resources. Later,
the gaps presented by Branscomb & Auerswald
trust also had to be reinforced for the project
(2001) in the passage from invention to innovation.
to progress as stipulated. Aligning deadlines,
To overcome the Valley of Death, the team had to
requirements and limitations is a requirement for
build bridges to win each one, and the partnership
project survival during the most difficult times,
with Airbus, despite taking ownership of the
such as delays, failure of components, and more.
students’ project, provided support for all of them. There are still many questions about the role of The research gap implies that academic projects
university, government, and business in these
require considerable research effort to adapt
relationships within innovation ecosystems.
to the market. In the Retrolley case, it began to
There must be a greater interchange between
be overcome mainly during the participation
companies, universities and government since
in the Fly Your Ideas contest, as specialists in
the beginning of the Innovation Sequence to
the field gave their opinion and suggestions
develop a complete product that meets the real
to adapt the idea to the market real needs.
needs of the market in an innovative way. This
Actual costs and benefits could be better
contributes not only to developing students
evaluated at this stage. Subsequently, during
in the technical sphere, but in the context of
the development of the physical models, the
the market, as was the case with Retrolley.
constant monitoring of decisions and data sharing by Airbus were fundamental for the project to
The milestones generated in the evolution
survive and to win the Crystal Cabin award.
of the Retrolley project were:
The financial gap was overcome after
negotiations with Airbus, which enabled the
fundamental to talk to several actors, to immerse
hiring of an engineer to perfect the product
themselves in the context in which they are inserted;
and also a prototype company to make the
idea tangible for potential customers.
volumetric, semi-functional and appearance models
In order to develop a relevant solution, it is
Building an iterative process, with tests with
increase the chances of an effective positive evolution
Quantifying the benefits and bringing to the
context of the client’s reality has significantly helped the project gain the attention of judges, active in the industry; »»
Contests and awards helped the project gain
visibility to move the industry around the idea; »»
Protecting the idea or developing a possible idea
of being legally protected is important so there is some commercial interest in turning it into a product. Only Industrial Design protection may not be worth it, so it is important to involve other areas, such as engineering, to design a complete product. »»
Although Airbus is not a trolleys producer, it has
had sufficient powers to influence potential suppliers in the industry, especially at events. »»
The strategy of designing a preliminary physical
model allowed a great advance in the quality of the prototype later »»
The success at the Crystal Cabin Award proved
market needs and was great for positive conversations with potential suppliers. »»
License to a supplier may be an effective way to
make the product available on the market. Academically innovative ideas such as Retrolley can be a sign of existence, but it has yet to go a long way to get them noticed and convince too many players to support them during the Valley of Death phase. Within the discussion of the Triple Helix, there is still room for improvement in cooperation between university, government and company to transform knowledge into innovation, and this into a competitive advantage. Porto (2000) shows that universities, at different levels, are by their nature a reservoir of fundamental knowledge for innovation, in this way, they are waiting to put into practice the knowledge built there.
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This work presents the creation process of the Retrolley project, a product for waste collecting in the aircraft. The project began with a c...
Published on Dec 9, 2018
This work presents the creation process of the Retrolley project, a product for waste collecting in the aircraft. The project began with a c...