Transportation needs of vast masses of population that are dependent on public transportation systems needs alternative viable means that are contextual and localized. The current practice for meeting these localized transportation needs is partially met by using the human powered tricycle in many variant forms - tricycles used as delivery vans, as goods carrier; as school children van etc.
Human powered tricycle rickshaw fulfill this need gap because they offer various advantages. They are non-polluting modes of transportation (air pollution, noise pollution etc.); cost effective considering the increasing fuel prices for short distances; they provides for income generation for the vast unemployed youths of the country and involve lower cost of capital for each vehicle and each employment generated. Load on road infrastructure is also less. However tricycle Trike/ Rickshaws are not given due importance because of people's perception about these mode of transport as being slow moving, low grade, low-tech, unsafe and associated status of rickshaw as being a mode of transport used by poor people.
It is confirmed that there is a design opportunity for design of a new tricycle rickshaw to be used as a means of localized transportation that can initiate change in the people's perception about the traditional rickshaw with its conventional look and initiate change in our attitude for meeting the need through environment friendly and sustainable ways.
Another important aspect is the transfer of design and technology developed to the actual users and manufacturer. Many institutions in India have developed new and improved technologies. But in spite of much effort done by various agencies for design and technology transfer, development as expected has not taken place. One factor that is hindering dissemination and transfer of technology may well have been inadequate information available to the potential manufacturer, specifically Small Enterprises.
Dipbahan – Design Development Process:
This design development project undertaken at the Department of Design IIT Guwahati by Professor Amarendra Kumar Das is directed towards finding out an implementable model of Design and Technology transfer that successfully implements design and technology inputs to small enterprise. It accomplishes its objectives through a holistic approach incorporating Design, Prototyping and Manufacturing System Management for Technology Transfer to Small Enterprise. A proper methodology incorporated in the Design concept generation stage itself for the product to be implemented by the targeted Small enterprise in a participatory way making the process of transfer of design and the related technology transfer to the Small Enterprise easier, hassle free and effective.
Presented here is the design development of an indigenous tricycle rickshaw with contemporary aesthetics suitable for Indian conditions, better usability for the puller as well as for the passengers and sufficient space for luggage and goods. Prototyping and manufacturing system management for the tricycle rickshaw with the participation from small enterprises forms an integral component of the research.
The designed tricycle rickshaw branded as Dipbahan was prototyped and its manufacturing system management was evolved through participation of small enterprise.
Design and Technology Transfer – Model for Small Enterprises:
Design and technological processes were demonstrated to the manufacturers (Small Enterprises) by studying traditional method of Technology Transfer to Small Enterprise. Participation of Small enterprise was encouraged during stages of Design, Prototyping and Manufacturing System Management. The model of the tricycle rickshaw along with the manufacturing process and technology was transferred to one small enterprise. The design and technology transfer to the Small Enterprise was successfully implemented and ‘Dipbahan’ successfully introduced in the market.
The interim feedback received by the Small Enterprise led to suitable manipulation and modification of the design and manufacturing techniques. These were essential for the successful product introduction and implementation. A few attempts at product diversification and modification based on the basic design developed for multiple uses was also been tried out to suit other applications and to see the effect of participation of Small Enterprises. This resulted in variants: as a school van and another for garbage disposal van, branded as ‘Dipbahan Pariskar’. It was observed that for successful implementation of design and technology by small Enterprise, Design, Prototyping and Manufacturing and System Management has to be an integrated and participatory initiative.
The product are successfully developed and commercially introduced by small enterprises across the different states of the North East and Eastern states of India.