5 Questions For A Product Designer

5 questions a un concepteur

Product design is indispensable for the teams at Soucy Powersports. Find out more about this profession by reading about Michel Pellerin, a product designer who’s been with Soucy for 28 years.

Michel is someone who is driven by the freedom to create. Over the past three decades, he’s witnessed just how much the company has grown and developed a reputation for excellence. He even designed several of the machines at the Soucy International plant! “In the early days, whenever we needed a machine, I was the one who designed it. It helped us save time and money!” The company helped Michel grow, and in return he also helped Soucy progress technologically.

Michel uses a computer to design parts for vehicles. His work will vary depending on the needs of clients – the biggest powersports companies in the world – and is carried out in collaboration with the engineering and prototyping teams

Before sending a part to the prototype workshop, Michel must:

  • Create an initial mock-up using design software
  • See how the part will perform under various conditions
  • Validate the mechanical movements of the part
  • Apply forces on every segment to test the strength of the part
  • Make adjustments or even start the process over again

Today, this is all done digitally using a process called “fine elements analysis” (FEA). It’s a way to find vulnerabilities in the part before it is even physically built! According to Michel, FEA identifies a very high percentage of weaknesses. “It’s still not perfect, but it’s getting there thanks to new technologies! This allows us to save time, material, and money.” If the analysis doesn’t meet our expectations, we conduct physical tests. Which Michel enjoys!

“In addition to these steps, I need to evaluate the costs in terms of delivery, packaging, dividing the part into pieces, reducing transportation costs, etc. Every one of our projects has these constraints,” he added.

Moreover, a designer needs to have a good relationship with the client since the client is involved in every step. Michel believes that fruitful collaboration is the key to success. Once the design steps have been completed, the prototypists are tasked with making the product a reality. The entire process is overseen by a project manager to ensure everything happens smoothly.

These days, anyone interested in the career can enroll in a Cégep mechanical engineering, design course. For his part, Michel became a designer “by necessity” and thanks to his boundless curiosity, continuous professional development, and experience. He’s obtained certifications in diesel mechanics, prototyping, welding, machining, aluminum casting, and has learned how to handle fibreglass and other composite materials including carbon fibre.

From a technological point of view, Michel is fascinated by how quickly the field of robotics has evolved. “My career allows me to witness first-hand just how far technology has come. An image is worth 1,000 words. I can use a computer to show you what’s in my head and even print it in 3D,” he said, showing us his drawings and plans. What does he love most about his job? Being constantly stimulated and having the freedom to carry out his projects. “I love challenges and I love creating challenges! If a prototypist tells me that it can’t be done, I head down to show them because if I can create a part using software, it can be done. Everything is possible! Mr. Soucy once told me that the word impossible wasn’t in his vocabulary,” he said cheerfully.

Product designers work with a variety of materials such as wood, polymers, metal alloys, and composite materials. Successful product designers therefore need to be versatile and resourceful. And willing to take risks. “At Soucy, we are told we shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, and it’s true. We need to try things out and make mistakes to create the best product possible.” Michel also believes that product designers need to be curious, interested in their surroundings, creative, and most importantly, passionate. “I believe that passion is everything. Even with my knowledge, I’m always trying to stay up to date. I even recently signed up for evening classes to learn new techniques.”

Michel is someone who is extremely determined and who puts his whole heart into his work. If like him, you’re driven by the freedom to create, check out our careers page to learn what positions are available at Soucy Powersports.