Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2009 British Engineering Excellence Awards - the Winners

Flybrid Systems, kinetic energy recovery system developer, has been named Best of the Best and won the Grand Prix at this year's British Engineering Excellence Awards, held at the Globe Theatre in London.

The winner demonstrated significant achievement in terms of application of new technology, innovative design and market achievement, and was selected by the Judges from a list of winning entries in the Awards programme.

The Judges described Flybrid as a "great example of British engineering coupled with excellent entrepreneurial management."

They added, "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."

Chairman of the Judges, Harry Tee CBE, pointed out, "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."

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.”

Here are all the winners of the 2009 British Engineering Excellence Awards:

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Engineering suppliers face problems with late payment abroad

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) reports that almost 80 percent of UK engineering suppliers with contracts abroad are having problems with late payment. Buyers abroad are attempting to negotiate payment terms once a project has been completed and there are cases in which vendors have not received payment at all. In other cases, engineering suppliers only get paid once the overseas companies have been paid for their work.

ACE polled senior executives at more than 150 of its 800 member organisations for the report and found that, "Late payment has been the biggest single issue for ACE members working overseas. ACE would like to see the UK government work with its counterparts overseas to encourage good practice in the payment of bills."

The report has also brought to spotlight other issues UK engineering suppliers are faced with, mostly related to public procurement processes; smaller suppliers often being excluded from bidding on projects, inadequate notice of opportunities, inappropriate terms and conditions, and tender evaluations that focus more on price than on quality.

Find the latest engineering jobs on our job board.

Friday, July 17, 2009

UK engineering jobs to rise with transition to low carbon economy

Engineering jobs in the new UK energy sectors are likely to be created as the government has announced new plans to keep Britain on a low carbon footing. The Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed this on Wednesday.

The government will invest up to £120 million in low carbon economy and the funds will be used to create new offshore windfarms, while additional £60 million will be invested in the wave and tidal energy sector. The goal is to ensure that the UK is a global leader in this particular sector.

"Renewables, nuclear and clean fossil fuels are the trinity of low carbon and the future of energy in Britain,“ said Ed Milliband, energy and climate change secretary, calling the new plan a ''route-map to 2020." He added, "Under our plans, we will get 40 per cent of our electricity from low carbon energy by 2020 and more in the years afterwards."

Greenpeace estimates that the government's goal – to reduce carbon emissions by 34 percent by 2020 – will cost approximately £100 billion.

Charles Anglin, spokesman for the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), said that refocusing on offshore wind farms could make the widespread installation of turbines more likely, as the country is currently an unfriendly market for wind turbine manufacturers because installation of wind farms onshore is constantly delayed by planning processes and opposition from those who find the turbines visually offensive.

Anglin said: "Here in Europe we’re expecting to see 40-50GW worth of offshore sites identified and developed in the next decade. Half of that will be in the UK. Europe will be 90 per cent of the world market and we will have half the European market."

Last autumn, the BWEA commissioned a report that indicated that if half the turbines for the UK’s offshore market were produced in the UK, this would create 60,000 jobs within a decade. The government’s new low carbon strategy, says Anglin, is a step toward making this possible.

"There is real progress being made but what the government has to do is try and make it clear to people why it’s attractive for them to open the factories here. There are a number of reasons, but one is that you want to be close to where your market is and 45 per cent of the world market will be here in the UK."

He added, "It’s much less attractive to import products from the euro zone and more attractive to build the products here in the UK. I think there is a lot of call for optimism."

Find the latest engineering jobs on our job board.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Engineers hit by redundancy selling their skills short, say recruiters

Too many engineers, surveyors, designers and architects who have been made redundant in recent months are underselling their skills, according to a new report from specialist recruitment firm Scantec. Job hunters in the engineering and related sectors, say Scantec recruiters, fail to realise how they could transfer their expertise to a different industry sector.

Scantec director Peter Bates said: "The key message is that there are jobs out there for engineers across the UK and the world. We need to explode this gloom and doom. It is not the case that there are 'no jobs.'"

"We speak to engineers who are working at Tesco stacking shelves and they come to us thinking they’re on the scrapheap," he added. "Too often people have the blinkers on and do not see how skilled they are, and how useful those skills are to other sectors."

The other sectors in which engineers' skills would be quite useful are construction, oil and gas, water and the nuclear sector. The first step for engineers to transfertheir skills is to find specialist recruiters.

More engineers have been recruited by overseas firms in recent months than ever by Scantec in the recruitment firm's 19 years of trading. Simultaneously, the number of engineers hired into the nuclear industry is on the rise.

Bates explains: "There is a big demand for skilled engineers in the oil and gas sector in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Nigeria, Singapore and Russia. In the past it was mainly expats we were placing who were comfortable with prospect of living overseas. But increasingly we’re placing more people who’ve never lived abroad before because there are lots of jobs and the money is good."

Browse and apply for the latest engineering jobs on our job board.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Proposed rail network could create new engineering jobs

The plans to implement a new high-speed rail network in the UK could create a significant number of new engineering jobs, according to a recent survey. The project has a lot of support from the public. Almost two thirds of the respondents feel that a high-speed rail is a good alternative to UK’s domestic flights.

The majority of the people polled (71 percent) also believe that the introduction of the rail infrastructure would boost economic growth in the country. At the same time, 73 percent think that the high-speed rail would reduce congestion on roads and free up room on the existing rail network.

Tom Foulkes, director general of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), said: “Providing faster, affordable rail services between major cities could reduce demand for short haul air travel, and possibly put an end to it completely. Let's not forget that Paris to Brussels was once a short haul flight route but is now serviced exclusively by high-speed rail."

Maintenance engineering jobs could be boosted by British Gas ranking

British Gas Services (BGS) and British Gas Business (BGB) have scored high rankings in the UK’s top 50 places to work list, which could be very good news for people looking for maintenance engineering jobs.

BGB has been on the UK’s top 50 places to work list for five years now and BGS has been included for the second successive year. As a result, the Financial Times has acknowledged the accolade and BGB won a Laureate Award at the UK’s Best Workplaces Awards, organized by the Great Places to Work Institute

BGB’s managing director Badar Khan said: “We've got a 'legendary' employee engagement score at BGB and this award just goes to prove that this means a great deal to the team.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Welcome to EngineeringRoleFinder.co.uk's blog

About a month after the launch of UK's new job board EngineeringRoleFinder.co.uk, the engineering career portal is also launching a news blog.

The blog will feature news from the engineering industry, career advice for engineers, and updates on career events and employment opportunities in the sector.

Industry recruiters and firms that would like to advertise their job vacancies on EngineeringRoleFinder.co.uk can send enquiries to our sales team at enquiries@engineeringrolefiner.co.uk.

To browse and apply for the latest engineering jobs, please visit our job board.