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LED technology developer named overall winner of this year’s British Engineering Excellence Awards

Plessey Semiconductors has won the Grand Prix at this year’s British Engineering Excellence Awards for its development of GaN on silicon technology and using it to create LEDs which enable new types of lighting product. According to Plessey, GaN on Si LEDs not only emit more lumens per unit area, but also dissipate heat more quickly. The result, it claims, are smaller, more reliable LEDs.

The judges were impressed. “Plessey has created the right product for the right market at the right time,” they said. “In particular, its development of GaN on silicon technology has helped to improve LED efficiency and the judges are heartened to see innovation from a UK semiconductor company.”

Plessey has developed the manufacturing process to the point where it can make 6in GaN on Si wafers, bringing a range of performance and commercial advantages over other approaches.

It has deployed this technology in its LUCIAN PLW7070 LED, in which a single die GaN on Si LED produces 30% more light than comparable devices at half the cost.

Peratech’s 3D Multi-Touch Matrix Sensor was named New Electronic Product of the Year. The passive array of force touch sensors, which features its QTC technology, not only determines position in the X and Y axes, but also adds the third-dimension of pressure. Working even with gloved hands and with styli, the sensors are said by Peratech to open a whole new world of control options, including force based zoom, scroll and select.

Rob Hanson, Young Design Engineer of the Year, works for Designability; a national charity which creates life-changing assistive technologies. The judges said: “Rob Hanson is an unsung hero, exhibiting excellent use of engineering skills in a difficult arena. He has delivered great designs and is a shining example to other engineers.”

Our Design Engineer of the Year, Jake Wallis from Lontra, has addressed the fundamental geometry of a compressor rotor and is a major contributor to 10 patent filings. As Lontra’s principal engineer, he has changed the design process so that engineers work more closely to create more sophisticated and commercially appropriate products.

New to the BEEAs this year is Engineering Ambassador of the Year. Our winner Iulia Motoc is an Academic Ambassador for the University of Kent, a STEM Ambassador and an Ambassador for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. She is involved in judging the First Lego League, presenting at the Big Bang Fair, participating in ‘I’m an engineer; get me out of here!’ and is helping to prepare schools for the Primary Engineer Leaders Award.

According to the judges: “Iulia is a dynamo who has thrown herself into everything in order to ensure as many young people as possible are exposed to the potential of an exciting career in engineering and technology.”

In another new category, Smith Myers was named winner of the New Aerospace Product of the Year for its Artemis system, which uses a missing person’s mobile phone to pinpoint their location.

Other winners were: Consultancy of the Year – Drive System Design; Design Team of the Year – Kliklok’s ITC project; Materials Application of the Year – Plessey Semiconductors; New Mechanical Product Of The Year – Aeristech’s uCharger; Start Up Of The Year – Open Bionics; and Small Company Of The Year – Diamond Hard Surfaces.

The following Highly Commended awards were made: Consultancy of the Year – Penso Group; Design Team of the Year – PRaVDA/University of Lincoln; Engineering Ambassador of the Year – TDK-Lambda UK; and Small Company of the Year – Emblation.

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Graham Pitcher

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