A PhD student from the Faculty of Art and Design at Monash University has received a scholarship from Volgren, Australia’s largest bus manufacturer, to develop a better, more cost-effective way to mass-engineer buses.
Volgren buses vary according to customer preference. When a customer orders a bus, Volgren assigns an engineer to the project and the bus is designed from the ground up.
Robbie Napper, who graduated with a degree in industrial design, said the current process of bus manufacturing could waste both time and money for Volgren and the consumer.
He said: ‘Currently it takes hundreds of hours to both design and build a bus because there really isn’t any standardised process for their manufacture. I am designing a solution that will drastically cut down the hours it takes to design and build the finished product.’
Napper has run focus groups with the company’s customers to determine their needs, and with this information he will develop about 12 models that can be customised depending on customer preferences.
He said: ‘We have already redesigned the area where the bus driver sits, creating a standardised version of the cab with different elements that can be changed to include components such as security screens.’
Napper added that he had reduced a number of variations in bus design down to about 12, a move that would lead to huge savings in time and cost.