Printer design hasn’t changed much over the years; while there have been huge strides in things like wireless technology, printers look pretty much the same as they always have. The manufacturing process hasn’t changed much, either and is still complex, inefficient and expensive. Samsung is looking to change this, with three new printer designs which it says will be cheaper, easier and more environmentally friendly to produce.
The designs focus on the printer casing, which is usually energy- and labour-intensive to produce. Three concepts emerged; the Origami, the Clip and the Mate, each of which won a Gold Award at the 2013 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). The idea was to create cover designs which simplify the manufacturing process and could be assembled by the customer.
Possibly the most radical of the three is the Origami, the inspiration for which came from a visit to a doughnut shop,
“When I went to get some doughnuts, they put the doughnuts into a paper box… Watching the doughnuts being put into the box, right in front of me, also gave me some ideas… I thought to myself, ‘What if we put the engine of the printer into a paper box, right in front of the customer, just like the doughnut shop?’”
Seungwook Jeong, Principal Designer, Design Group, Samsung Electronics
The Origami is a mono laser printer housed in a tough cardboard shell. Manufactured from recycled paper, the cover is constructed by the customer origami-style. This forms a durable casing which Samsung claims is every bit as strong as a traditional plastic cover. Samsung also claims that the Origami has been subjected to rigorous testing and proved to be both waterproof and fire resistant.
A slightly different approach was taken for the Clip, which has a folding plastic cover and was inspired by household goods in a local supermarket. The edges snap together to form a sturdy structure which eliminates the need for dozens of fiddly screws.
Customisation, as well as sustainability, features strongly in the design of the Mate, which uses a system of brightly-coloured modular panels. The panels slide in and out of the printer casing and can be quickly and easily changed to create a personalised design.
Sustainability & the future
The production process for each of the new designs uses less material and involves fewer steps than traditional manufacturing methods. Because of this, the Origami, Clip and Mate are cheaper and more environmentally friendly to produce than the more familiar plastic cover.
Although these printers are at the concept phase at the moment, Jeong’s team is currently using them to develop new printer models. Samsung’s own blog hints that the new devices will be available in the coming months and we’ll be interested to see how they look and how they cope with everyday use in the real world.
by Anthony Morgan