Human factors: BEEAs 2013 round up

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The Grand Prix at this year's British Engineering Excellence Awards goes to the Design Engineer of the Year.

Engineering is a people business. No matter what the product, it won't see the light of day without that human touch. The importance of this human touch was highlighted again in this year's British Engineering Excellence Awards, where the winner of the Grand Prix was also named Design Engineer of the Year. Sebastian Cuvelier Musallian has made a significant contribution to product development at a leading UK design consultancy focusing on healthcare, where his aim is to make a difference to people's lives through good design and engineering solutions. French born, he has worked in the UK since graduating in 2002 and has shown a strong history of developing complex products and of leading multidisciplinary teams. He also takes the time to work with schoolchildren to highlight engineering and with student groups in the Engineers Without Borders scheme. Consultancy of the Year, sponsored by Eureka magazine In identifying the Consultancy of the Year, the Judges looked for evidence of the speed with which projects have been developed, along with the range of technologies applied by the company. Four companies reached the final stage and ByteSnap Design took the honours. One aspect which interested the Judges was how ByteSnap maintained a competitive position in its market. It said this is accomplished through training, development and recruitment. Internal projects allow engineers to improve their skills without affecting client work, while R&D is undertaken with selected partners. Recently, ByteSnap launched a graduate recruitment programme to help identify promising new engineers. Small Company of the Year, sponsored by D Young & Co LLP Oxford Digital was spun out of Sony by owners John Richards (CEO) and Peter Eastty (CTO) as an independent company specialising in digital audio technology in July 2006. It is now seeking to build its licensing business and to focus consultancy on supporting strategic sales of licensed technology. It has innovative products and is engaged in discussions with customers on technology renewal for the next generation of products that will provide increased differentiation and broaden the scope of applications available for them. It is also working with a number of semiconductor partners to promote acoustic tuning solutions for their platforms. Start Up of the Year, sponsored by Cambridge Consultants Thanks to its open cell micro-porous structure, this material has the capacity to radically change how thermal management is executed in modern electronic designs, as it is an order of magnitude more effective at transferring heat energy than conventional micro-channel heatsink solutions of equivalent size. Versarien has targeted customers on several fronts – consumer markets in the UK for initial revenue, medium sized European enterprises for mid-term projects and large OEM customers for the longer term. Design Team of the Year, sponsored by Anglia An ambitious design project saw Zytronix bring a multitouch sensor solution to market. The original goal was to product a solution that could support the detection of 10 touch points simultaneously and be implemented onto 22, 32 and 46in displays. These goals were reached on schedule and further improvements have allowed 40 touch point detection and 85in display deployment – thereby exceeding the original goals set. Zytronic can also apply this technology to curved lcds and flexible films. * Congratulations to Land Instruments International, whose entry was Highly Commended. Green Product of the Year, sponsored by National Instruments The dairy industry has been keen to cut its carbon footprint and, with the plastic milk bottle being one of the most widely used items of packaging in the country, this is an obvious target. Through a focused engineering approach, Nampak has been able to reduce the weight of the four pint Infini bottle by 20% to 32g, cutting the amount of resin used by 10,000 tonnes. But while the bottle's weight has been reduced, it has been done without affecting the bottle's integrity. This was achieved through a design that puts the handle on the corner, meaning that it does not force the material as far into each of the bottle's corners. Nampak has also created a version of the Infini bottle which includes up to 30% recycled high density polyethylene (rHDPE) – twice as much as in any other milk bottle on the market. This has helped the industry to reach its target of including 30% rHDPE in bottles two years ahead of schedule. It's estimated that this move will save the industry some 25,000 tonnes of material yearly. Materials Application of the Year, sponsored by Engineering Materials magazine Sensor Coating Systems was set up in 2012, a spin off from research undertaken at Imperial College. Its technology, based on oxide ceramics, enables accurate temperature detection, corrosion and erosion monitoring and life time predictions on industrial components. Oxide ceramics are suited to high temperature applications such as thermal barrier coatings. But they are also suitable hosts for optical active materials, such as lanthanides. When suitably doped, the oxide ceramic not only becomes phosphorescent, it also demonstrates a 'memory'. Applied as a thermal paint, the coating will change its structural characteristics with temperature and will retain a 'memory' of the maximum temperature reached. The material can then be interrogated at room temperature using a hand held device in which excitation light stimulates luminescence. A simple look up table will then show the maximum temperature experienced to within ±10°C. * Congratulations to Versarien, whose entry was Highly Commended. Electronic Product of the Year, sponsored by Digi-Key This year's winning entry not only recognised the increasing importance of display technology in the world of embedded systems, but also the problems of designing in displays. Its solution is the FT800, a device which allows more streamlined implementation of intelligent display systems, with fewer components and less data being transferred within the system. Fewer components means a smaller system footprint and a reduction in the power budget. Because the device offloads tasks from the host microcontroller, designers may be able to specify a less expensive 8bit mcu, rather than a 32bit part. The FT800 has an integral four wire touch controller and a single channel audio controller, which supports high quality sound. Applying the device enables a less complex design approach. Mechanical Product of the Year, sponsored by igus (UK) When it came to New Product of the Year (Mechanical), the vast scale of the winning Fugro Seacore WaveWalker project was the first thing to impress the Judges. WaveWalker is a 'Walking' jackup barge (self-elevating work platform – SEWP). The target market is any marine work operation which requires deployment of an SEWP, where operation with traditional SEWPs is uneconomic due to prevailing local swell and/or weather conditions. Young Engineer of the Year, sponsored by RS Components The ability to learn quickly is obviously a key differentiator in any young engineer. However, even more important is the ability and willingness to teach oneself and show initiative. It was this factor that really allowed Jack Bolton to emerge as winner in this category. Jack is highly engaged with the engineering community and is constantly pushing to develop and promote engineering inside and outside the company. He is a member of the Chelmsford Science and Engineering Society and has been voted in as the president of its younger branch; Future Engineers and Scientists. * Congratulations to Rosie Linehan and Adam Malpass, whose entries were Highly Commended. Design Engineer of the Year, sponsored by Mouser Electronics For more than five years, Sebastien Cuvelier Mussalian has worked at Team Consulting as a senior engineering consultant. During this time, he has developed an international reputation for the design, development and industrialisation of innovative, robust and capable medical devices. Perhaps the most challenging task he has faced is the development of the OrganOx liver perfusion system – which keeps human livers 'alive' and fully functioning during the transplant process. It's a process which has seen him named on a number of patents. But he is also helping Team Consulting to respond to growing demand to develop smartphone based healthcare applications. According to nominator Stuart Kay, this was made all the more challenging as the regulator's guidelines were changing continually. A strong project and technical leader, he challenges and encourages his peers and team members to improve themselves.