Lift truck vendor Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA) says North American industrial design students made a big impact on its parent company’s annual design competition, including a student from California State University who placed second overall.
While the competition was open only to European students in its first three years, the 2020 version widened the entry pool to accept entries from North American students as well, according to Columbus, Indiana-based TMHNA, which is composed of Toyota Material Handling Inc. and The Raymond Corp.
The new candidates took quick advantage of the opportunity, with U.S. entries representing one in every 10 submissions in the contest’s 240 designs. Tasked with finding a better way for airlines to handle travelers’ baggage, the students produced 10 semifinalists who were selected by a jury of design and innovation professionals from Toyota Material Handling and the Toyota Industries companies Vanderlande and Raymond. Industry experts and leaders then chose the finalists.
When the dust had settled, six U.S. competitors ranked among the 10 semifinalists, and California State University student Kevin Wong of Long Beach, California, took second place for his concept called AIRTRO, an automated baggage trolley system designed specifically for airports to help solve common logistical issues stemming from delayed baggage caused by transfer mishandling.
First prize went to a Turkish entry from Batuhan Yildirin and Sena Tasli, recent graduates from Ankara’s TOBB University, and third prize went to Thailand’s Natthorn Uliss of King Mongkut’s University in Thonbury.
“Over half the semifinalists were from the U.S., and it’s impressive to have a prize winner from the U.S. for the first year as a global competition,” Greg Smiley, Industrial Design Manager for The Raymond Corporation and head of design for North America for the Toyota Material Handling Group, said in a release.
Finalists were announced during a virtual awards ceremony in late 2020. Finalists of the competition receive a cash prize and are given the opportunity to apply for a 6-month paid internship at the Toyota Material Handling Design Center.