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Decent Rural Living
Initiative Designathon

 

Copyright © Musim Mas Holdings Pte. Ltd. Co.

INTERESTED TO LEARN MORE? JOIN US AT OUR INFO SESSION!

DRLI Designathon:
Info Session

 Date: 25 August 2021, Wednesday 

 Time: 4pm - 5.30pm (GMT+8) 

Learn about the challenge statements from our partners and stakeholders, and get your questions answered!

 
ABOUT

The palm sector is a key to the Indonesian economy, employing over 5.7 million people across the country and lifting scores of rural dwellers out of poverty. However, many workers within the supply chain still experience precarious employment, as well as poor living conditions.

The Decent Rural Living Initiative (DRLI) is a pre-competitive collaboration by five leading palm oil producers - Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Sime Darby Plantation, and Wilmar.

These partners are working together with experts and stakeholders to develop long-term solutions that improve health and safety conditions for agricultural workers in Asia. 

One of DRLI’s priorities in this regard is developing solutions for personal protective equipment (PPE) customised to conditions in Southeast Asia.

 

Mass-produced PPE is often unsuitable for use in the region, for a variety of reasons, ranging from materials to prevailing weather conditions. 

 

When workers are reluctant to use their PPE properly, the risk of injury and accidents on the job increases. 

One of DRLI’s priorities in this regard is developing solutions for personal protective equipment (PPE) customised to conditions in Southeast Asia.

 

Mass-produced PPE is often unsuitable for use in the region, for a variety of reasons, ranging from materials to prevailing weather conditions. 

 

When workers are reluctant to use their PPE properly, the risk of injury and accidents on the job increases. 

 
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This Designathon (think Design + Hackathon) invites design professionals, engineers, students, and innovators to propose innovative PPE solutions for agricultural workers in the tropics to improve their health and safety. 

We want you to be creative.

Your solutions may include physical design, material science
or
behavioural solutions to help workers better adhere to safety standards.

 
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Objectives

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Making PPE more comfortable in tropical climate

  • Breathability

  • Low heat-retention

  • Easy to put on and remove

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Promoting adherence to PPE safety standards

  • Worker’s behaviour and attitude to PPE

  • Workers’ access to PPE

Reducing costs and improving quality of PPE

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  • Novel materials

  • Novel production processes

Why You Should Join

Selected teams will receive an opportunity to work with leading agribusinesses to develop and commercialise their solutions.


Additionally, our winning teams will take home the following cash prizes:

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 First Place 

  US $3,000  

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 Second Place 

  US $2,000  

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 Third Place 

  US $1,000  

 
 
Image by Dan Meyers

Worker Profiles

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Harvester

Harvesting is considered the most important task on the oil palm plantation. The oil palm is harvested several times a month as the Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) has to be harvested as soon as it is ripe in order to achieve a high oil value. The harvesters use a chisel or sickle to cut the FFB, which is located on the base of the frond.

An oil palm can grow as tall as 20 m, so as the palm grows, the FFB moves further away from the ground. The tools used in harvesting tall and shorter oil palms are different.

Photo Credit: Wilmar

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Injector/ Sprayer

Palm oil crops are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases and therefore a wide array of pesticides and herbicides are used in their control and/or prevention.

 

Application methods can vary across plantations but the most common method reported in the literature was the use of backpack sprayers.

Photo Credit: Wilmar

Designathon Challenge Statements

Palm oil plantation workers perform their tasks in challenging environmental conditions, such as hot and humid weather in Southeast Asia and other tropical regions.
 

Some workers are required to handle fertilisers and chemicals. Others do the harvesting and transporting Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) across uneven terrain, and are exposed to activity-related injuries in the plantations.

 

To provide the necessary protection for these workers, a range of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is provided to them. In addition, some workers need to use masks for seasonal issues like haze and of course over the last 18 months masks to contend with COVID-19.

 

Women account for a large portion of the agricultural workforce, for e.g. more than 60% of women in rural Indonesia work in agriculture, however, PPE are generally designed for men and may not be a good fit for women.

In this Designathon, we want you to look at what is currently being used by the workers and take a fresh look at how we might redesign PPE in terms of functionality, material, and even cost effectiveness.  We would like you to step back and get imaginative and creative to improve the PPE for three key job types: Harvesters, Sprayers and Fertiliser Spreaders.  

 

Take inspiration from other industries or functions like sports. Look into new material innovations from cutting-edge sectors like space. Your challenge is to propose creative solutions to improve the comfort of male and female workers while protecting them.

 

From the three categories below please select one of the challenges – more if you wish - and start designing.

 

 Harvester 

PPE: Helmet, Safety eyewear, gloves and boots

Harvesters work in hot and humid conditions, while facing risks of physical injuries. Protective helmets protect them from falling FFB, which can weigh more than 20kg, as well as their own sharp tools. Common feedback from these workers is that the helmets are heavy and thus strain their necks after long hours of working, and  are uncomfortable in the environmental conditions. The harvesting environment is often very dusty, and there are falling leaves. Thus, safety eyewear is provided. But they often fog up or scratch easily.

 

It is important that both the helmet and eyewear can be worn together in a good fit. Harvesters hold up a sickle attached to a long pole to cut the FFB in a pulling motion which they do while mostly looking up as they work. Their gloves have to provide them with a good grip, sufficiently comfortable in the warm weather, minimise sweating  and provide them adequate protection against snake bites. Harvesters often use steel-toe boots, while these provide good protection, they are heavy and uncomfortable.

 Your Challenges 

Design a pair of gloves that is comfortable in the warm weather, while providing a strong grip and protection against snake bites.

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Design a pair of safety eyewear that does not easily fog up and is scratch-resistant.

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Design a helmet that is lightweight and well-ventilated, while providing adequate protection and cognisant of a worker’s mode of work.

Design a pair of boots that is lightweight and durable, while providing good protection against the rough terrain and snake bites.

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 Sprayers 

PPE: Headcovering, safety eyewear, respirator, coveralls, gloves and boots

Palm oil crops are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases, and therefore, various pesticides and herbicides are used. To protect sprayers from exposure to those chemicals, they are provided with a full suite of PPEs. The PPEs have to be washed and decontaminated after each use. Additionally it is not obvious as to when a PPE might need to be recoated or refreshed. While coveralls and aprons are generally lightweight, sprayers find them to be uncomfortable in the hot and humid conditions. On the other hand, respirators are found to be slightly heavy and thus uncomfortable to wear.

 

Any design you propose should fit well and is comfortable to wear in the hot climate; and importantly provide adequate protection from chemicals.

 Your Challenges 

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Design a headcovering that is lightweight and well-ventilated, while offering the same protections from chemicals to the users.

Design a pair of safety eyewear that does not easily fog up and is scratch resistant, while offering the same protections from chemicals to the users.

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Design a respirator that is lightweight and fits well.

Design a coverall that not only fits well to people of different gender and  stature (heights and sizes) but can be easily maintained by the worker.

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Design a pair of gloves that focuses on safety, are easy to use, and effectively overlaps with the coverall.

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Design a pair of boots that can be easily washed and decontaminated, and can cope well with the rough terrain.

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 Improvements for   Fertiliser Spreader /   Applicator 

Workers often have to move around the plantation with heavy loads, and sometimes uneven ground makes it harder to support the heavy loads with tools.

 

Maintenance workers spread fertilisers at the base of the palm trees. To do so, they have to hoist a sack of fertilisers on their back or hip, and go from tree to tree to manually apply the fertilisers. Each sack can be around 30 to 40kg, and each worker covers 2 to 4 hectares per day.

 Your Challenge 

Design a new way for the workers to reduce the physical strain when carrying the fertilisers.

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Who Should Apply

If you have an idea for innovative PPE solutions, and the skills to

execute it, this challenge is for you!

 

We welcome participation from industrial and product designers, material science engineers, students, and innovators!

 

Timeline

25 August

Info
Session

Week of
13 September

Shortlist
Announcement

2 August

Applications
Open

13 September

Applications
Deadline

25 September -
4 October

Designathon

 
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The Designathon Process

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Application &
Shortlisting

Form a team of 2-4 people. Let us know your profile and past projects.

As we will provide close support to the teams, we will limit the Designathon to 20 teams.

Designathon

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A 2-weeks intense programme to connect you with stakeholders and mentors to help you unleash your creative juices.

At the end of the 2-week, you will present your solution to the DRLI partners.

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Evaluation & Prototype
Development

Top designs and solutions will be evaluated by the DRLI partners for prototype development.

We might work with you to commercialise your solution!

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Lead Sponsors

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Co-Organised By

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INTERESTED TO LEARN MORE?
JOIN US AT OUR INFO SESSION!

DRLI Designathon:
Info Session

Learn about the challenge statements from our partners and stakeholders, and get your questions answered!

 Date: 25 August 2021, Wednesday 

 Time: 4pm - 5.30pm (GMT+8)