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British Engineering Excellence Awards - Winners 2009

British Engineering Excellence Awards Winners 2009

Kinetic energy recovery system developer Flybrid Systems has won the Grand Prix at the British Engineering Excellence Awards, held today at London's Globe Theatre.
The winner of the British Engineering Excellence Grand Prix was selected by the Judges from winning entries in the the Awards programme. The winner demonstrated significant achievement in terms of application of new technology, innovative design and market achievement.

Flybrid SystemsIn a time when the UK is often seen as having come up with great ideas and being poor at implementing them, the Judges Grand Prix Winner has demonstrated that this is simply not the case. And with green issues for automotive so crucial for the world in the future, this company and its product is key.

Having already gained a contract with Jaguar, Flybrid is on the way to potentially huge success. All CO2 involved in device's manufacture is recovered within the first 12,000km and the company has addressed all the potential criticism these sorts of systems normally fall down on.

Flybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery SystemThe Judges noted that Flybrid is ‘A great example of British engineering coupled with excellent entrepreneurial management’.

“This is a marvellous invention that has solved the barrier problems in mechanical energy storage. The speed with which the prototypes have been fielded and tested is remarkable and the team displays the experience needed to become a dominating world player.”

The Awards programme drew some 100 entries from all corners of the UK's engineering community – ranging from single employee design houses to multinational organisations.

Ed Tranter, executive director of Awards organiser Findlay Media, said: “UK engineering is in a time of change; fewer graduates and apprentices are entering the profession and the median age for design engineers is increasing.

Flybrid Systems Grand Prix 2009 WinnerBut the UK still leads the world in engineering design and innovation and, following the collapse of the financial services sector, now accounts for 26.8% of the UK's GDP and 80% of our exports. That is no small figure and engineering is going to become increasingly important in the coming years.”

Chairman of the Judges, Harry Tee CBE, chairman of the Electronics Leadership Council, said: “This Awards programme has given UK companies a unique opportunity to demonstrate that UK engineering – far from being defeatist and losing out to international competition – is alive and well, innovative and thriving. The Awards have shown that our businesses are among the best in the world. “We, as an industry, must aspire to be world beating and the British Engineering Excellence Awards recognise this.”

Winning companies are:

Start Up of the Year

Sponsored by Cambridge Consultants

Flybrid Systems, for its Kinetic Energy Recovery System

The Judges agreed that Flybrid ‘ticked all the boxes’. It has an elegant solution to kinetic energy recovery, a strong business plan and market acceptance of its product.

Judges' Special Award


Lotus Engineering

The Judges wanted to recognise a company that epitomised the British Engineering Excellence Awards by being recognised globally as being a world leader in its chosen field of engineering.

More than 70% of Lotus Engineering's activity is for third party clients and involves some of the most significant projects in the automotive industry and engineering world. Lotus is renowned for innovation, outstanding driving dynamics, exciting niche vehicles and efficient performance engineering.

The Judges said: “People think they know about Lotus, but there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. Most of the company's business is derived from engineering services and it's even more impressive when you think about the size of some of the companies that have gone to Lotus for its help. It's a company with genuine world class outstanding capability.”

Small Company of the Year

Sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board

Specialised Imaging

The Judges saw a company with a great range of products designed for use in very complex applications. The company had taken on a big organisation and that company has since moved out of the market.

Green Product of the Year

Sponsored by the Centre for Remanufacture and Reuse

Artemis Intelligent Power for its Digital Displacement Hydraulic Hybrid vehicle technology.

The Judges agreed that Artemis has made a significant invention using solenoidal valves and digital control to improve hydraulic coupling. They also agreed that green engineering isn't always about ‘silver bullets’; rather, it's about doing things well.

“Artemis has solved a real problem; normally, the combination of a hydraulic motor and a hydraulic gearbox would reduce efficiency to 60%.”

Highly commended: Allied Telesis, for its AT-9000/28 Layer 2 gigabit switch

New Product of the Year (Electronic)

Sponsored by New Electronics

Electrosonic, for the VN Matrix Video over IP encoder/decoder

The Judges noted that Electrosonic is addressing a real need with the VN Matrix. The amount of traffic on the internet is doubling every two years, simply because of video and anything that can be done to reduce that figure is good. However, the key factor in Electrosonic's entry is that it overcomes problems associated with latency and maintains sufficient quality in the transmitted video.

Highly commended: Atlantic Inertial Systems, for its SiIMU02 for the Excalibur precision guided shell

Highly commended: Cambridge Semiconductor, for its C2160 controller family

New Product of the Year (Mechanical)

Sponsored by Eureka

Blatchford, for the Echelon artificial ankle joint

Echelon is an artificial ankle joint that uses an adjustable hydraulic damping device to restore much of the lower limb's natural movements. This is based on the analysis of the combined leg-ankle-foot system, rather than the requirement of each individual component part which then need to be integrated.

The Judges considered Blatchford's achievement to be an excellent example of mechanical engineering in the service of society. “It's closer than anyone has ever gone before to being able to replicate the human joint and is a brilliant design.”

Highly commended: Oxford Instruments NanoScience

Young Design Engineer of the Year

Sponsored by RS Components

Oliver Start, Powelectrics

If designers are the people that make things happen, young designers are the people that will make things happen tomorrow. But, that doesn't stop them contributing today.

The Judges wanted to see a demonstration of the knowledge which the young engineer has had to apply; the contribution made to a project; the degree of innovation applied and the nominee's personal qualities.

All agreed that Oliver Start is a very impressive young man who gets things done, who has clearly communicated with all stakeholders in the projects and who has delivered with those needs in mind.

Design Engineer of the Year

Sponsored by element 14

Mark Sanders, MAS Design

Entrants for this award category had to be nominated by another person, who needed to demonstrate the nominee's ability to produce innovative designs within strict commercial limits as well as developing transferable technology. The Judges were also looking for engineers who have contributed to their industry, Mark Sanders was judged to be prolific, practical and creative, with a range of design expertise. In particular, the Judges were impressed with his involvement in the education of the next generation of engineers.

According to the Judges, Mark Sanders ‘has the engineering excellence we were looking for, undertaking high quality and valuable design work, with involvement within the education sector’.

Highly commended: Dr Robin Taylor, Lein Applied Diagnostics

Consultancy of the Year

Sponsored by Prototype Projects


The Consultancy of the Year category was one of the strongest and that came as no surprise to the Judges: the design consultancy sector is one of the UK's stronger markets.

The category proved difficult to evaluate due to the high level of expertise demonstrated by all entrants, but Plextek impressed the Judges with the range of its design capabilities and its market reach within the communications sector – from leading edge chip design to supply chain management. Particularly impressive was the recent growth in the company's business, which includes some 'big ticket' projects.

“An excellent capability, high growth consultancy with a low, commercially inspired cost base that has used its communications technology to crash into the military and paramilitary markets as well as achieving civil expansion.”

Highly commended: Lotus Engineering

Graham Pitcher

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