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Eureka Magazine - May 2018

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www.eurekamagazine.co.uk
May 2018
DESIGN | INNOVATE | ENGINEER
HELPING
HANDS
THE BATTLE FOR
AFFORDABLE BIONIC
PROSTHETICS
IN THIS
ISSUE
P16
TRAINING FOR
‘T-LEVELS’
P22
SENSORS FOR
SAFER CYCLING
P29
IMPROVING
RENEWABLES
P32
CONNECTED
COMPRESSORS
MAY 2018 | EUREKA!
VOLUME 38 | NUMBER 05
25
22
29
© jim - stock.adobe.com
10
10 COVER STORY
GETTING TO GRIPS
WITH BIONIC COSTS
Robotic prosthetic hands are
often too expensive for those
who need them. Now, engineers
and start-ups are looking to
change that.
16 ON THE TOPIC OF…
SKILLS
On the back of the Sainsbury
Review on vocational education
in the UK, Eureka! talks to the
man appointed to lead the
Engineering and Manufacturing
panel to shape the ‘T-Levels’.
19 ADDITIVE
MANUFACTURING
ADDITIVE MATERIALS
FIND THEIR PLACE
Slowly but surely, the
possibilities created by additive
manufacturing materials are
being grasped from a design
point of view.
MAY 2018 |
22 SENSORS
HELMET DESIGN
INFLATES
EXPECTATIONS
Many cyclists reject wearing
helmets. This development
uses a range of sensors to
provide a di�erent solution.
25 BEARINGS AND LINEAR
THE HEART OF
AUTOMATED
PRODUCTION
As businesses pursue higher
throughput and lower overheads
automated production cells
have become a vital part of
manufacturing.
29 ENERGY GENERATION
RENEWABLES MARKET
SEES MATERIAL GAINS
While things have slowed
signi�cantly in the o�shore oil
sector, innovation continues
apace in the o�shore
renewables market.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
REGULARS
05 COMMENT
What’s next for
autonomous vehicle
testing after the fatal
incident involving an
Uber operated car in
America?
06 NEWS
■
■
■
Closer to UK’s first
RDE testing centre
Space “tanalisingly
close” for Virgin
Galactic
SABRE engine gets
£26.5m boost
43 COFFEE TIME
CHALLENGE
This month’s challenge
is to come up with a
tra�c calming method
that only penalises
those actually speeding.
32 INDUSTRY 4.0
CONNECTED
COMPRESSORS
Connected condition
monitoring in compressed air
equipment isn’t new, but an IoT
approach could lead to more
e�cient, autonomous cyber
physical systems.
35 EM LIVE
PREVIEW
Taking place at the National
Motorcycle Museum,
Birmingham on 10 May,
Engineering Materials Live has a
lot to o�er visitors.
41 DESIGN PLUS
5 SIGNS YOU STILL
NEED TO PROTOTYPE
Deciding to commit to creating
a physical prototype can a
di�cult. This article outlines
the key points that show you
probably do need to invest in a
prototype for your project.
3
© Olivier Le Moal - stock.adobe.com
EDITOR’S COMMENT
WHAT NOW FOR
DRIVERLESS
VEHICLES?
THE RECENT DEATH in Arizona of a
woman after being hit by a self-driving
car operated by Uber has inevitably cast
a shadow over this area of technological
development. In no small part this is
because this is precisely the sort of
incident the safety systems in such cars
are supposed to make virtually impossible.
So what next for the technology?
The investment of time and resources in
these vehicles is such that it will continue,
of course. Technological progress can
not and should not stop because of one
incident – however tragic. Advances will
be made and the e�cacy of the safety
systems will be re�ned, tested and
demonstrated over and over again.
It is worth remembering, of course,
that there are currently many trials
of similar vehicles taking place. Those
running them may justi�ably feel it
is unfair that these projects may be
stigmatised by association with another
project’s calamity.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that
engineering �nds itself in uncharted
territory with regards to driverless
vehicles. For them to become the
transformative technology that is
promised will require regulators,
legislators and the public at large to be
absolutely con�dent that the technology
is safe for both passengers and other road
users. This leaves little room for error.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
Ultimately, the key to adoption lies in
public con�dence in the technology. In the
light of this sad event, it seems likely that this
will be the hardest commodity to regain.
Paul Fanning, Editor
MISSION
STATEMENT
DESIGN | INNOVATE | ENGINEER
Eureka! connects design
engineers with the UK’s
industrial heartbeat by
providing in-depth coverage
on the very latest technology
developments and industry
trends; keeping you inspired,
informed and innovative.
5
NEWS | EUREKA!
Editor PAUL FANNING
paul.fanning@markallengroup.com
Deputy Editor TOM AUSTIN-MORGAN
tom.austin-morgan@markallengroup.com
Contributing Editors JAMES BAKEWELL
Art Editor CHRIS CHARLES
chris.charles@markallengroup.com
ADVERTISING SALES 01322 221144
Sales Director JEZ WALTERS
jez.walters@markallengroup.com
Sales Manager JAMES CREBER
james.creber@markallengroup.com
Production HEATHER WOODLEY
heather.woodley@markallengroup.com
Circulation Manager CHRIS JONES
chris.jones@markallengroup.com
Publisher LUKE WEBSTER
luke.webster@markallengroup.com
ISSN 0261-2097 (Print)
ISSN 2049-2324 (Online)
Eureka! (incorporating Engineering Materials and Design
and Design News) is free to individuals who fulfil the
publisher’s criteria. Annual subscriptions are £81 UK
(£118 overseas or £153 airmail).
UK closer to first RDE testing centre
CONSTRUCTION OF THE UK’s
first dedicated Real Driving
Emissions (RDE) Testing Centre,
scheduled to open in July, is
one step closer after Mahle
Powertrain took delivery of
sophisticated automotive testing
systems from Horiba UK. The
technology forms an integral
part of an £8m investment at the
company’s Northampton site.
“The RDE Centre is really
starting to take shape, with our
specialist altitude and climatic
control system and 4WD
chassis dynamometer already
on site,” said Derek Wise, chief
engineer (test and build) at Mahle
Powertrain. “Once all installations
are completed, the centre will
position us at the forefront of real
driving emissions testing, right
here in the UK.”
The centre will enable Mahle
to test a vehicle’s conformity to
the new Worldwide Harmonised
Light Vehicle Test Procedure
(WLTP). The company will be able
to simulate real-world driving
styles, testing vehicle emissions
at high speeds and loads, with
aggressive acceleration and
braking. Horiba has also added
special boost pumps to the
analyser sampling system, which
allows sampling from vehicles at
high altitudes.
Ana Anyaeji, Horiba UK
product specialist, added: “We’re
looking forward to the next
phase of the project, which will
be the commissioning of the test
equipment using vehicles under
simulated loading, temperature
and altitude conditions.”
TECH BRIEF
Eureka! is published by MA BUSINESS, Hawley Mill,
Hawley Road, Dartford, Kent, DA2 7TJ
Tel: 01322 221144
www.eurekamagazine.co.uk
MOVING ON?
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location, please contact circulation@markallengroup.com
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© 2018. All rights reserved.
No part of Eureka! may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form, by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording or any information storage
or retrieval system, without permission in writing from
the Publisher. The views expressed do not necessarily
represent those of the editor of Eureka! Advertisements
in the journal do not imply endorsement of the products or
services advertised.
Origination CC Media Group.
Printed in UK by Pensord Press Ltd.
© 2018 MA Business
6
PEKK-BASED
THERMOPLASTIC FOR FDM
STRATASYS HAS RELEASED
a high-performance PEKKbased thermoplastic called
Antero 800NA for FDM
processes in space, aerospace,
automotive, high-end
industrial manufacturing, and
oil-and-gas applications.
Stratasys claims that
Antero 800NA outperforms
other high-performance
thermoplastics, with superior
chemical resistance and
ultra-low outgassing, high
temperature resistance and
wear properties. It can also
produce lighter-weight parts,
reduced inventories, and
improved profitability.
With traditional processes,
manufacturers buy bulk
PEKK (available only in
limited shapes and sizes) and
machine it to a net shape,
which wastes a considerable
amount of expensive material
and has a longer lead time.
With an additive process, the
workflow is faster, yielding
lighter-weight parts with
optimised topology and less
waste.
Elena Terraz, business
manager of manufacturing
tooling at Stratasys EMEA
said: “Later this year larger
parts, up to almost a metre in
length, will be able to be made
on the Fortus 900mc.”
Antero 800NA is the first
in a planned family of PEKKbased materials. It will be
offered in an initial layerthickness of 0.25mm with
additional layer-thickness
options planned for future
releases.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK | MAY 2018
Space “tantalisingly close”
AFTER TWO YEARS of
extensive ground and
atmospheric testing, and
nearly four years after the fatal
crash of VSS Enterprise, Virgin
Galactic has completed its �rst
supersonic, rocket-powered
�ight with VSS Unity.
Virgin Galactic’s founder,
Richard Branson tweeted:
“virgingalactic back on track.
Successful powered �ight,
Mach 1.6. Data review to
come, then on to the next
�ight. Space feels tantalisingly
close now.”
The vehicle, attached to the
WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft,
climbed to 46,500ft over the
Sierra Nevada Mountains where
Unity was released and its
rocket motor �red, accelerating
to Mach 1.87 in 30 seconds,
continuing upwards to 84,271ft
before returning to Earth.
Virgin Galactic added
in a statement: “The �ight
has generated valuable data
on �ight, motor and vehicle
performance which our
engineers will be reviewing. It
also marks a key moment for
the test �ight programme,
entering now the exciting
phase of powered �ight and
the expansion to full duration
rocket burns.
“While we celebrate
that achievement, the team
remains focused on the
challenging tasks which still lie
ahead.”
UK BATTERY DEVELOPER
TO EXPAND INTO ASIA
SUNDERLAND-BASED
HYPERDRIVE INNOVATION,
developer and manufacturer
of lithium-ion battery
technology for electric
vehicles and energy storage
systems, has signed a longterm agreement with Foxlink
Automotive Technology
to manufacture, sell and
distribute Hyperdrive’s
modular battery pack in Asia.
Having already secured
a global supply agreement
to incorporate Nissan’s
leading lithium-ion cells
into its high-performance
battery systems, the Foxlink
partnership is a further
boost to Hyperdrive’s
growth plans.
Hyperdrive’s
compact modular
battery pack is market
leading in terms of
energy density, and
its integrated Battery
Management provides
�exibility to scale up systems
for di�erent applications. It
enables manufacturers to
make a swift transition to
vehicle electri�cation and
clean energy storage, avoiding
the signi�cant investment
and time needed to produce a
bespoke solution.
Chris Pennison, CEO
of Hyperdrive Innovation,
says: “The support of such
a major partner is a terri�c
endorsement of the quality of
our technology, it also shows
the strength of the North East
of England as a world-leader in
battery technology.”
BIM for manufacturing webinar
EUREKA! HAS PARTNERED
with Autodesk and Building
Products Magazine to produce
a webinar on BIM (Building
Information Modelling) for
manufacturing.
The webinar will consist of
a 40 minute presentation by
MAY 2018 |
Autodesk followed by a Q&A
session afterwards hosted by
editor of Eureka!, Paul Fanning.
The webinar content is
speci�cally geared towards
project managers looking for
insights to more e�ciently
plan, design, construct,
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
and manage buildings
and infrastructure for
implementing Industry 4.0
elements into their smart
factory projects.
For more details on this
exciting event, visit bit.ly/
Autodeskwebcast
NEWS | EUREKA!
SABRE SPACE ENGINE
GETS £26.5M BOOST
BOEING’S INVESTMENT ARM,
HorizonX Ventures, and RollsRoyce have invested £26.5 million
in Reaction Engines Limited (REL),
an Oxfordshire-based company
developing SABRE, a revolutionary
aerospace engine that is part jet
engine, part rocket engine.
REL CEO Mark Thomas, said:
“In addition to providing our largest
round of private investment, these
new partners bring invaluable
expertise in both hypersonics and
engine technologies with signi�cant
access to target markets.”
SABRE is designed to launch a
vehicle into orbit in a single step. It is
planned to work like a conventional
jet engine up to Mach 5.5 before
transitioning to rocket mode for the
rest of the ascent. It could also be
�tted to traditional aircraft to reduce
terrestrial travel times.
In the summer, REL should take
control of its new test facility in
Buckinghamshire where, in 2020, it
will mount a demonstration of the
full cycle of SABRE. If the tests go
well, REL would then look to put the
engine on a �ight vehicle.
SOLUTION TO LAST MONTH’S
COFFEE TIME
CHALLENGE
The solution to last month’s challenge to devise an automated way
to keep your shoes in pairs, or house/o�ce/workspace tidy, comes
from Nissan. Inspired by its ProPILOT Park autonomous parking
technology, �rst introduced on the Nissan LEAF in Japan in October
2017, the car maker partnered with a Japanese inn – or ryokan – to
make life easier for the guests and hotel sta�.
At the ‘ProPILOT Park Ryokan’ the guests’ slippers are self-parking.
Rigged with a special version of the autonomous parking technology,
when not in use, they automatically return to their designated spots
with the push of a button. Even the tables and cushions in the rooms
are rigged to realign themselves.
A video of the ProPILOT Park Ryokan can be viewed on Nissan’s
YouTube channel.
8
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK | MAY 2018
COVER STORY | BIONICS
GETTING TO
GRIPS WITH
BIONIC COSTS
Recent advances in robotic prosthetic hands have been
little short of extraordinary, but have remained out of the
price range of many who need them. However, a number of
engineers and start-ups are looking to change that.
T
here can surely be few
more gratifying and
obviously beneficial
applications of engineering
design than medical prosthetics.
To restore an individual’s ability
to interact effectively with their
surroundings by providing them
with limb function they previously
lacked is as laudable an endeavour
as one could ask for.
Happily, recent years have seen
huge advances in the development
of high-tech prosthetics,
with materials, components,
manufacturing methods and – most
crucially – robotics combining
to produce a degree of comfort,
lightness and functionality never
previously dreamt of.
The downside, of course, is that
10
such solutions don’t come cheap.
While robotic prosthetic arms have
generally come down in price from
six figures to five, they remain
far beyond the price bracket of
most who need them. In the UK,
the National Health Service still
doesn’t offer such limbs as standard,
meaning that only those with
independent means or extremely
good health insurance can hope
to benefit from this life-changing
technology. Meanwhile, of course,
most people in the developing world
can only dream of having access to
this sort of technology.
The race is on, therefore, to
provide the latest prosthetics to
those who might ordinarily lack the
means to afford them. There are a
number of initiatives to achieve this,
but one of the most successful and
high profile is Bristol-based Open
Robotics. Founded by 2014 British
Engineering Excellence Awards
winner Joel Gibbard and Samantha
Payne, the company is committed
to developing affordable
robotic systems that
enhance the human
body.
According to the
company, the main
areas where it has
been able to innovate
to achieve savings are:
cost; weight; size; style
and control.
Currently, multigrip bionic hands cost
anywhere between
£25,000 to £60,000 per
hand. They are only
available through
private clinics and
are considered to be
too expensive for the
NHS, despite, although
NHS patients still regularly
petition for them.
Open Bionics has created
a device that is almost the same
in terms of functionality as such
devices, but at a price point of
£10,000 and under for hand, wrist
and socket. Open Bionics believes
this device will fall into a price point
that NHS clinics will be able to
afford and is already working with
NHS England to get these devices
to patients. In fact, the company
is involved in an NHS clinical trial
Left: Open Bionics’
device has a price
point that NHS Clinics
will be able to afford.
Top right: 3D
printing is key to
the development of
lower-cost devices
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
© jim - stock.adobe.com
MAY 2018 |
which means its devices were
being tested with patients through
the public healthcare pathway. The
company claims that clinicians have
been amazed by the devices, and
the fact that Open Bionics can offer
a radically more affordable and
accessible device through the use of
cheaper manufacturing methods and
the use of strong, flexible materials.
Another problem addressed by
Open Bionics is that Multi-grip bionic
limbs are often too heavy for patients
to wear all day. The company’s first
device is lighter than alternatives
and the same weight as children’s
NHS myo-electric devices that only
offer one degree of freedom (DOF).
By contrast, Open Bionics will offer
a multi-grip myoelectric hand with
five DOFs at the same price point as
NHS single-DOF hands. Amputees
can intuitively control their bionic
fingers via arm muscles. This is
achieved by use of a 3D printer to
create the hand in four separate
parts, custom-built to fit the
patient using scans of
their body.
Another area
in which Open
Bionics is
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
According to
the company, the
main areas where it has
been able to innovate
to achieve savings are:
cost; weight; size;
style and control
innovating
is in the
development
of multigrip bionic
hands for
children under
14. During its
clinical trials with
the NHS, which
began in June 2017,
Open Bionics has fitted
multi-grip bionic hands to children
as young as eight. This was a world
first and it is this device that will be
the first to go to market.
To support this, Open Bionics
has contracts in place with
entertainment giants such as
The Walt Disney Company
and Square Enix. This
will make it the first
company in the world
to offer Iron Man
bionic limbs
and other
superhero
styles.
This is
not
just branding
or superficial
aesthetic
styling.During
R&D, the
company found
that style had
a huge effect
on psychological
acceptance of limbs
and improved body
confidence. Having a limb
you feel proud to wear can be lifechanging,
Open Bionics is far from being
the only player in this field, however.
Unlimited Tomorrow is a company
founded by US entrepreneur Easton
LaChappelle when he was 18. His
interest in prosthetic hands began
when he was 14.
He takes up the story: “I’d taken a
robotic arm I’d built in my bedroom
to the science fair and I met this little
girl who wore a traditional prosthetic
and I realised that my $200
homemade arm was better than
her $80,000 prosthetic. That’s when
I knew I had something that could
really make a difference. What if she
had a device that actually matched
her body, the right size, weight and
colour, fingers that work? One that
provides haptic feedback so there
was a real sense of touch? Skin
that’s tough and durable but
with a texture that’s natural?
What if she could actually
paint her nails? What if
she had a prosthetic
designed just for her
inspired not by
11
COVER STORY | BIONICS
mass manufacturing techniques
alone but by the individual? And
what if 20 people can get one
for the same cost as a traditional
prosthetic?”
These questions led him to
conclude that there was a significant
gap in the market for affordable,
bespoke devices. He says: “There’s
a lot of problems with the current
market right now and these off-theshelf solutions. The problem is that
not only are they expensive, they’re
robotic looking and generic, they
take one or two months to fit and
on top of that they hardly work and
have limited functionality. A hand
that literally just looks like a hand
costs $5,000. A simple human-
MANCHESTER STUDENTS UNVEIL £307 HAND
A team of students
from The University of
Manchester has designed
and built a 3D printed, lowcost robotic prosthetic
hand that could provide
a cheaper alternative for
amputees.
The hand’s joints are
all fully poseable with
each �nger and thumb
being able to move as
well as make a �st. The
functionality of the hand
allows its user to do
simple, everyday tasks
such as picking up items,
eating using a knife and
fork, typing and clicking a
mouse or opening doors.
But what also makes the
prototype limb stand out
is its cost. The students
built the hand for just
£307 and reckon they can
make it even cheaper. In
comparison, an advanced
robotic prosthetic limb
12
can start at approximately
£25,000, going up to
£60,000. More a�ordable
robotic hands with basic
multi-grip functionality
still start at £3,000.
The design recently won
‘best new development’
in the Digital Innovation
Challenge at the Industry
4.0 Summit and Factories
of the Future Expo.
The hand is the
brainchild of Alex AgboolaDobson and his team
– lead electrical engineer
Sebastian Preston-Jensen,
lead software engineer
Panagiotis Papathanasiou
and mechanical and
software engineers
Maximillian Rimmer and
Shao Hian Liew.
According to the NHS
around 6,000 major limb
amputations are carried
out each year in the
UK alone. Non-robotic
Prosthetic Limbs available
on the NHS are purely
cosmetic, while other
more functional ones are
simple plastic-moulded
limbs with hooks. This was
another inspiration for the
team’s futuristic, but life
like design.
Agboola-Dobson said:
“Not only do we want to
make it a�ordable, we
want people to actually like
the look of it and not be
ashamed or embarrassed
of using or wearing
it. Some traditional
prosthetics
can
both
look and feel cumbersome
or, those that don’t, are
extremely expensive. We
think our design really
can make a di�erence
and we will be looking to
commercialise the project
in the future.”
Connectivity is another
key advantage of the
team’s design as it comes
with Bluetooth connection
and an Android app for a
smartphone. The hand
is controlled by muscle
sensors placed on the
wearer’s arm that can be
paired to the app, which was
also designed by the group.
Agboola-Dobson
added: “The functionality
is customised through
the phone app, but the
muscle sensors provide the
control by moving the hand
whenever necessary. It is
really simple to use.”
The hand is
manufactured by a
Stereolithography (SLA)
printing. Eventually
the team aims to move
to Fused Deposition
Modelling (FDM) which
will make the hand even
cheaper to produce,
without losing any
of its quality.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
COVER STORY | BIONICS
like claw costs anywhere up
to $100,000 and to even get to full
human functionality these $100,000
plus arms are hardly available to the
market.”
So why aren’t there better
solutions out there and why do
they cost so much? According to
LaChappelle: “Really, these big
medical prosthetic companies focus
on amputees who have the money
and cater to that demographic, which
leaves the majority of the market
untapped. Because the process
takes so long and it’s expensive,
there are a lot of children who don’t
have prosthetics as well as
around the world at a global
A simple
level and in third world
human-like claw
countries or undeveloped
costs anywhere up to
communities.”
With this in mind,
$100,000 and to even get
Unlimited Tomorrow has
we can create advanced
to full human functionality
created a revolutionary
technology for a fraction
these $100,000 plus arms
product and is changing
of the cost because we’ve
are hardly available
the whole business
automated the process
model behind it. Says:
of going from scan to full
to the market
LaChappelle: “We first
robotic finished customised
deploy 3D scanners to
prosthetic device.”
amputees. [these are simply a
with Dassault Systèmes and
small tablet fitted with a mobile
Stratasys, who were respectively
scanner] and we actually scan both
announced as the software and
of their arms. If I’m missing my right
additive manufacturing providers
arm, a family member or friend
for Unlimited Tomorrow in February
scans this arm to generate a socket.
this year. “We receive the scan data
But we scan the other arm, the full
and it goes through this automated
arm – if they have one – and we
process instantaneously,” says
use that data to generate a mirror
LaChappelle. “We get the files and
image, so it’s unique to that person.
we distribute them to 3D printers
And that’s really the special part,
around the world. Right now,
14
we’re using the new Stratasys J750
machine to print it in full colour. We
get the colour data from the 3D scan
and we can match the actual device
to that unique colour.”
Technologically, while the
devices may be designed to be
low-cost, there is no shortage of
innovation contained in them.
“There’s also an incredible
amount of technology,” asserts
LaChappelle. “We have individual
finger movements, we have haptic
feedback so there’s actually a sense
of touch, we’ve taken what takes
months down into weeks and if not
even faster. This device actually
weighs less than a human arm, but
it includes wireless charging and
a battery life of three to four days,
incorporating machine learning
to take the raw sensor data and
transform that into meaningful
human-like movement. We’re
incorporating some of the world’s
best technology into this.”
Things are only just getting
started, however. “We have one
device out in the field right now,
we’re working with a number of
amputees today and our goal is to
do 100 this year, that’s where these
partnerships really kick in. We’re
working with Stratasys on the R&D
level to refine the devices and
use better materials, we’re using
SolidWorks to completely redesign
the system with scalability and
automation in mind and get these
really nice organic features.” !
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
ON THE TOPIC OF | SKILLS
SKILLS
TO PAY
THE BILLS
The revolution in UK vocational education
brought about by the Sainsbury Review has
meant the establishment of panels to shape
so-called ‘T-Levels’. Eureka! talks to the
man appointed to lead the Engineering
and Manufacturing panel.
T
he inadequate provision
of vocational technical
education in the UK
has for too long been a
given. Engineering employers in
this country have spent decades
bemoaning the ‘skills gap’ they
face while casting envious eyes
at competing countries where
vocational education is widely
available and well run.
It was in this context that 2016’s
Sainsbury Review of technical
education took place and in which its
recommendations were universally
accepted in the form of the Post16 Skills Plan. This will essentially
narrow the options of 16 year-olds
to remaining in academic education
by either doing A-Levels; joining an
apprenticeship scheme or taking one
of 15 so-called ‘T-Levels’ or technical
pathways (including engineering)
towards a standardised vocational
qualification.
This process has involved the
establishment of panels responsible
for developing the outline content
for the new T levels. The panels are
made up of employers, professional
bodies and providers and help
in creating technical education
programmes.
Mike Westlake, UK and Central &
16
16 year-olds
in academic education
must be doing A-Levels;
joining an apprenticeship
scheme or taking one of
15 so-called ‘T-Levels’ or
technical pathways (including
engineering) towards a
standardised vocational
qualification
Eastern Europe (CEE)
manager at Autodesk,
has been appointed to
lead the Engineering
and Manufacturing
T-Levels panel, as
part of a major reform
of technical education
in the UK. As chair, his
responsibility is to help nurture
a generation of home-grown talent
and deliver a UK skills revolution.
Speaking to Eureka!, Westlake
makes clear his enthusiasm for this
new path, saying: “This reform is
hands-down the best that I’ve ever
seen in my lifetime in that they’ve
said ‘We’re going to do everything
that the report says’. The difficulty
will certainly be a cultural thing. As a
panel, that is going to be as big a job
as getting the qualification correct.
It’s going to be making sure that all of
our networks and the rest of industry
know that this is coming and that it is
being done by industry.”
One of the things most in need
of reform to which Westlake points
is the multiplicity of vocational
qualifications available. He says:
“One of the things that is called out
in the Sainsbury Review is that, as a
plumber, you could do 33 different
qualifications that will get you the
same level two, or three,
or whatever it may be.
So, what do you choose,
as a student? And more
importantly, as an employer,
which of those even means
anything? Do they mean all the
same?”
The consequence of this, he feels,
has been a wholesale devaluation
of vocational qualifications. “By
constantly creating new qualifications,
a race to the bottom has been created
whereby employers and others
favour those courses that are least
demanding because they require the
least expense and effort to produce
‘qualified’ individuals,” he says.”That
has had the effect of destroying
technical education’s reputation in this
country.”
By arriving at a more standardised
qualification, Westlake hopes it will
be possible to level the playing field
and restore confidence. “Our role
as a panel,” he says, “is to say ‘this is
what we need as employers’.”
The panel meets once a month in
order to shape the T-Level course.
However, while there is a need to
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
© science photo - stock.adobe.com
MIKE
WESTLAKE
Mike Westlake started
his professional life as an
engineering apprentice in
the nuclear industry. He
went on to represent the
UK at WorldSkills in Japan
and was two-time national
gold medallist for Design
Engineering. After five years as
a mechanical design engineer
he went on to lead a number
of international project teams
in the Oil & Gas, Energy and
Pharmaceutical industries.
arrive at a standardised end result,
there is also a consciousness that
engineering is a broad discipline
and that the course should not be a
straitjacket. Instead, it is intended
that individuals should arrive at an
understanding of their preferred
discipline.
“What we’re trying to achieve,”
he says, “Is that at 15, you know you
want to do engineering. So, in the
first year, we want it to be broad
enough to give you an overview
of everything. And then, you go
‘Okay. So now I think that I prefer
manufacturing processes’. And
then you would do a bit more study
there, and say ‘Oh, actually I’m really
into additive manufacturing’. That’s
the way the successful technical
education systems around the world
work. You start broad and then the
idea is to specialise off into different
areas over the next two, three, five,
six years.” In this way, it is hoped that
not so many students will be lost by
committing to a particular discipline
and becoming disillusioned.
Westlake is under no illusions as
to the size of the task in hand. Indeed,
he appreciates that work also needs
to be done to encourage younger
children to be open to engineering
as a career. He says: “As an industry,
we lose a lot of people before they’ve
even made their GCSE choices.
They’ve been turned off engineering,
manufacturing, construction, at nine
or ten. So actually, a big part of our
role is also making sure we don’t lose
50% of the population before they
even get to an age where they can
decide for themselves.”
Another danger of which Westlake
is well aware is the potential for
a clash between T-Levels and
“As an industry, we lose a lot of people before they’ve
even made their GCSE choices. They’ve been turned off
engineering, manufacturing or construction at nine or ten”
MAY 2018 |
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
apprenticeships. He says: “In
theory, you could be fighting with
apprenticeships. Obviously, you
want to be in conjunction instead.” He
envisages that the way in which this
can be achieved is by the potential
for crossover between the two.
“After a year on a T-Level, a student
may identify what it is they want
to do and it could be the case that
an apprenticeship might be more
appropriate. Perhaps that may mean
there will be a crossover course.
We want to make it flexible for kids,
because the future of work demands
that it must be.”
Ultimately, Westlake is excited by
the challenge he has taken on and
by the scope of the new measures.
“For the first time, the government
has taken in all recommendations,
and it is being led by industry,”
he says. “So we have to get it right
for ourselves. We’re leading it as
industry to make sure that it is fit for
purpose. And we’re future-proofing
the qualification as well… Technical
education is rapidly changing, so
the reform is well overdue – and
certainly needed.” !
17
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING | MATERIALS
ADDITIVE MATERIALS
FIND THEIR PLACE
A
dditive manufacturing is a
relatively new technology
and, as with any new
technology, there are
challenges to unlocking its full
potential. These include material
development, machining processes,
the software controlling it and of
course, cost.
Of these, it is the approach
to materials development that is
currently receiving a great deal of
attention. New alloy development
could bring significant benefits both
within the process itself and in the
quality of the parts produced. The
repeatability of the process will mean
the work of the designer will be much
easier since it will be less vulnerable
to changes in geometry, resulting in
better material properties.
With alloy development, at some
point with computer modelling and
additive manufacturing, a time may
be reached where an alloy can
be developed specifically for an
application. This will make it possible
to develop a bespoke alloy for that
particular product. But that is the
future, the present is a little different.
MAY 2018 |
Slowly but surely, the
possibilities created by
additive manufacturing
materials are being grasped
from a design point of view.
Dr Rob Sharman, global head
of additive manufacturing at GKN
Aerospace says: “Fundamentally,
the challenge with additive
manufacturing is that you are creating
the material within the same process
as manufacturing a product. Within
aerospace, we focus mainly on
titanium and nickel alloys.
“The raw materials are
aligned with the industries
being supplied, which is
why we are using metals
familiar to aerospace
construction and why
other companies are
using different alloys that
are more suited to different
types of product.”
As Sharman goes on to
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
explain, GKN is not changing the
chemistry of the materials used in
additive manufacturing, rather it is
changing their properties.
Cost is always a challenge in the
development of any technology.
It is no different with changes in
additive manufacturing, but it does
require a different approach to
how developments occur. In the
automotive sector for example,
material development has
traditionally meant moving from
steel to aluminium, but additive
manufacturing doesn’t necessarily
follow this pattern.
“Additive manufacturing requires
a complete reset of how people
think about manufacturing.
GKN hasn’t changed the raw
material supply of titanium
and nickel alloys, the
focus for our processes
is about affecting the
microstructures of the
materials and using the
results for innovative
applications,” says Sharman.
This is a point of view
shared by Henry Greenhalgh,
19
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING | MATERIALS
senior engineer at HiETA
Technologies, who says: “Tailoring
the micro-structure within a
component so that you get material
properties that are all different by
design is an exciting idea that has
already been worked on.
“It’s on a microscopic scale,
changing the distribution of different
phases within the alloy and the grain
sizes within the alloy to achieve
different properties,” he says.
How successful firms are in
integrating this microscopic approach
will inevitably come down to cost. No
technology is free, after all. But while
work continues on that approach, a
sub-genre of material is being used
with increasing frequency: lattice
structures.
Greenhalgh says that on a larger
scale, lattice structures give firms
similar benefits to changing the
micro-structure of materials. “I think
as additive manufacturing comes
down in cost and it becomes easier
to produce things using it, it becomes
more repeatable and we’ll see lattice
structures more,” he adds.
Much of it comes down to
the maturity of the industry
and technology, as additive
manufacturing is still relatively new,
and how different areas – material,
manufacturing and software –
interact.
Greenhalgh is keen to mention
the software, saying: “On the design
side, there is CAD analysis software
out there that is developing with
20
in lightweight structures or for energy
absorption and acoustic attenuation,”
he continues.
The future of additive
manufacturing and material use
is looking promising. Not only will
machine and software improvements
help move the technology forward,
so too will new types of alloy and the
possibility of the use of composite and
multi-materials. All of which could
help additive manufacturing achieve
a greater level of usage in a variety of
industries.
According to Greenhalgh: “New
alloy development will make a big
difference, but I think the machine
and software improvements will have
a huge effect. On the machine side I
think the cost and repeatability will
be key; repeatability will come
from in-process monitoring,
New alloy
which will mean you will
the technology, allowing
development will
get the same result every
designers to get the
time and you’ll know
most out of additive
make a big difference,
exactly what you’re
manufacturing, and
but I think the
getting throughout the
lattice structures are a
machine and software
process.
good example of that.”
improvements
“I also think there will
“It has been quite
be similar improvements
difficult to build lattice
will have a huge
on the software side
structures. The CAD and
effect
where you get modelling
analysis software couldn’t
techniques that allow you to
cope with it before, but that is
understand what properties you’re
changing and it’s becoming easier
going to get out of the material, or
to use,” he says.
different parts, and you’ll be able to
GKN’s Sharman has also seen
influence that design.”
the increased development and use
At GKN, research is focusing
of lattice structures, and anticipates
on composite and multi-material
their use increasing. “At the moment,
manufacturing processes. “GKN
additive manufacturing is being used
is in the early stages of investing in
in a variety of applications to produce
composite additive manufacturing
lattice structures at a much lower
processes, and there are potential
cost than with previous-generation
applications for this across both
technologies,” he says.
aerospace and automotive. Multi“Future applications could involve
material processes are also at the
using lattices where it was previously
research stage, as we develop
not possible from either a cost or
systems and identify target
engineering perspective, for example
applications for this kind of offer,” says
Sharman.
Whether the final application
is aerospace, automotive, medical
or fashion, the developments in
additive manufacturing could have
wide-ranging benefits, but there are
still many challenges to overcome.
Improvements are being made,
and as with all developments,
it is a gradual process, but as
manufacturing, software and material
technologies advance, those benefits
will be realised. !
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
SENSORS | SAFETY
HELMET
DESIGN
INFLATES
EXPECTATIONS
Cycling is increasingly popular, but many
cyclists reject cycling helmets. One
development uses a range of sensors to
provide a di�erent solution.
A
s cycling
becomes more
popular, the
number of
accidents involving
bikes on our roads
increases. In 2016 in
the UK there were 102
cyclist deaths, 3,397
serious injuries and nearly
15,000 more minor injuries.
A high percentage of these
involved head injuries.
But as important as it is to
protect one’s head while cycling,
not everyone is willing to wear
a traditional helmet. Whether
because of comfort, fashion or the
ongoing debate about how effective
polystyrene and polyurethane
helmets are, many prefer not to don
a helmet before jumping on their
bikes.
For this reason, Hövding, has
been trying to offer an alternative
since 2012 in the form of an airbag
‘helmet’.
First devised in 2005, Hövding’s
cycling airbag is now in its second
generation and has sold nearly
90,000 units worldwide.
Hövding chief executive, Fredrik
Carling (pictured, top right)
says: “Our main aim has always
22
been to make cycling
more accessible while
keeping people safe.
We know that half of our
customers never wore
head protection before
discovering our product.”
So what gaps are
Hövding’s technology
fi lling? Helmets today are
moulded and mostly produced
in expanded polystyrene or
polyurethane, but the materials and
design have some drawbacks. They
don’t protect the jaw, the back of the
head, the neck or ears in case of a
collision with a sharp object. And,
because the cover and the body of
the helmet is made of an inelastic
hard material, they don’t absorb the
force of the collision optimally. So
even if the head is not injured, there
is still a risk of brain damage in more
serious accidents.
“Stanford University conducted
some research that looked at the
effectiveness of a number of head
protection products and compared
Hövding directly to cycling helmets.
This was done via a simulation of the
most common cycling accident – a
single fall.
“This study found that Hövding
provides eight times better protection
against a risk of concussion and
head injuries than that of traditional
helmets,” says Carling.
Swedish insurance fi rm Folksam,
also conducted tests into the airbag
technology compared to traditional
helmets. It found that in impact tests
run at 25km/h conventional helmets
achieved g-forces of 196-294 g,
Hövding’s airbag achieved 65 g.
Much of that improvement is due
to the elasticity of the airbag material,
but it wasn’t as simple as taking
technology from other industries,
such as automotive, and directly
applying it to Hövding’s system.
“The outer fabric of our airbag is
taken from the automotive industry. It
is highly tear and abrasion resistant,
however it leaked air too fast. We
understood early on that it needed
to be different from airbags, as they
only need to absorb acceleration for
a short period of time.
“We needed to have an airbag
that stayed inflated for longer. Hence
an inner plastic bag was added
to keep the air inside the bag for
longer. Hövding retains its protective
capacity for 5-10 seconds, in order
to withstand multiple impacts – for
example a car’s windshield, followed
by rolling off the bonnet and then
onto the road,” explains Carling.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
Once the airbag technology
had been defi ned, it was the turn
of the underlying algorithms that
sensors that can be found in the
determine situations such as whether
collar today,” says Carling.
a crash is happening and controlling
The onboard sensors and
whether or not the helmet is inflated.
software take 200 readings a second,
Carling is less willing to comment
comparing it to the accumulated data
on the base software and whether
and underlying algorithms to decide
Hövding used code already
if an accident is going to occur.
available and built it up from there,
Should it detect something, the bag
or whether the fi rm started from
can inflate in 0.1 seconds.
a blank sheet of paper. However,
False positives are obviously of
the system does take information
most concern, not only because they
from both an accelerometer and
will reflect badly on the technology,
gyrometer, collating measurements
but also because once the airbag
and assessing the situation.
fi res it cannot be used again and has
The underlying algorithm was
to be replaced. This is expensive for
written based on a huge amount of
the end user when the technology
data accumulated during the fi rst
costs £219.
generation airbag’s development.
Smoothing out the software so
“We mapped all known bicycle
it could differentiate between a
accidents using available
real accident and the general
statistics. We then re-enacted
The onboard
unevenness of cycling was
them with stuntmen and
sensors and software
a challenge and has been
stuntwomen. Over 2,000
noted as such by some
accidents were staged
take 200 readings a
that have tested the
in this manner. We also
second, comparing it to
device.
collected general data
the accumulated data and
“It was a very
and movements from
underlying algorithms
complex process. It took
everyday cycling, for
to decide if an accident is
us five years to refi ne and
example without people
perfect the technology.
coming off their bikes.
going to occur
Only a very small number
Both of these steps were
of the 87,000 airbags that
taken with the very same
MAY 2018 |
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
the company has sold worldwide
have inflated accidently. We call it
a faux positive inflation. From our
experience, in the vast majority
of these cases, it happens when a
cyclist is trying to avoid an accident,”
says Carling.
Hövding does receive data back
from units that have fi red and this
is fed back into the development
programme and used to improve
future generations of the airbags.
“We have a team of in-house
mathematicians and programmers
who then review the new data.
It’s collated and fed back into the
programming on our internal system
for it to be plugged in and analysed,”
says Carling.
The data isn’t just used to improve
the airbag’s algorithms in the event
of an accident, but also so it can
remain stable even when cyclists are
riding different types of bicycles and
the nuances between them.
“Our initial model, the Hövding
1.0, hadn’t been programmed to read
foldable or electric bikes. Since the
release of our 2.0 model in 2012, this
has been upgraded to include those
two types of bike,” says Carling.
The hardware of Hövding’s airbag
is unlikely to change dramatically
as it is a known quantity, but the
company will continue to feed data
back into its software, developing
updates and making improvements.
If cycling is to continue its rise in
popularity then safety will become
an increasingly important aspect for
discussion, and technologies that
protect riders’ heads will be at the
top of the list. !
23
24
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
BEARINGS AND LINEAR | PRODUCTION
THE HEART OF
AUTOMATED
PRODUCTION
As businesses pursue higher throughput and lower
overheads automated production cells have become a
vital part of manufacturing. HepcoMotion’s chairman,
Giles Forster explains the benefits of this technology.
I
n order to meet high consumer
demand for the latest smartphones
or laptops, production in the
electronics industry must move
at breathtaking speeds while still
being precise and accurate enough to
achieve repeatability and consistently
high quality. Understandably then,
the electronics industry is very well
suited to automation.
The fundamental element of any
automated production cell is how
to guide and transfer a component
around the system between
processes so that it can precisely
interact with integral robotic or
actuator systems.
Belt-driven track systems do just
that. They are supplied as readyassembled units, providing a facility
to drive carriages around a track
circuit under either continuous or
intermittent motion. Track systems
MAY 2018 |
are designed to form the foundation
of an automated production cell, and
electronics is one of the key industries
using it.
CUTTING-EDGE
PRODUCTION
across the world, and then back in to
the UK.
iPHONE 8 PRODUCTION
Many belt-driven track systems in
China are utilised for the automation
of smartphone production; battery
inspection operations and lithium-ion
battery production. Indeed, Hepco’s
DTS products are core components in
the automated production of Apple’s
iPhone 8.
In this production line (which was
designed, built and commissioned on
behalf of Apple by Foxconn, the
Undoubtedly, the most prominent
producer of high-tech consumer
electronic goods and components
today is China. British-based Hepco
is a regular supplier of driven track
systems (DTS) into China and many
other Asian markets, where they
are used to form the foundation of
automated production cells.
Hepco’s products are
exported to China from
the UK and used in the
manufacture of leading
consumer electronic
products. These
are then sold
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
25
BEARINGS AND LINEAR | PRODUCTION
world’s largest producer of
electronic products) there are a
number of key processes being
performed on the DTS. These
include the assembly of components
within the phone, testing the phone
and inspection of the screens.
Oval and rectangular
belt-driven track
systems can save up
to 50% in production
space, especially when
equipment is located
inside the ring.
REPEATABLE ACCURACY
This application requires a
The provision
consistent level of precision
of all transmission
to ensure belt-driven track
system carriages, which
and mounting components
carry the products, are
as a complete integrated
aligned correctly to
package means huge
production equipment
savings are made in
and processes. The DTS
incorporates a carriage
both design and
locking system capable
build time
of aligning carriages to a
repeatable position anywhere
along a straight section of the
circuit to ±0.05mm.
This feature is
particularly beneficial
for applications using
intermittent motion
and ensures precise
location of components
while operations such
as drilling, soldering
or assembly take
place. This high level
of accuracy and
specific application
repeatability meets
requirements and is available in
the stringent quality
any length. Customers can choose
standards of world
the exact number of carriages they
leading electronics companies such
require; limited only by the system
as LG, Samsung, Apple and Huawei.
size. Saving time, DTS is a complete
unit ready to be incorporated into a
continuous positioning or dedicated
SMALL FOOTPRINT
assembly machine.
In an environment where space is
The provision of all transmission
at a premium, a compact, spaceand mounting components as a
saving production cell is high on
complete integrated package means
the agenda. The benefits of an oval
huge savings are made in both
or rectangular track system over
design and build time.
a straight linear system are clear
to see, with oval or rectangular
systems effectively able to reduce
V GUIDE TECHNOLOGY
the footprint by up to 50% by turning
A key requirement of all automated
back around on themselves.
production cells is the need for
The curved ring sections are
low maintenance. Systems that can
effectively used as a return, guiding
deliver continuous and smooth
ABOUT
the carriages back to the straight
operation, without the need to
THE
section where processing work is
be regularly stopped for routine
AUTHOR
done. Equipment can be located
maintenance such as re-lubrication,
inside or outside of the track shape,
are highly valued by designers and
Giles Forster,
again, saving valuable production
production engineers the world
Chairman,
HepcoMotion
space and creating a compact,
over.
space saving production cell.
The DTS is based on Hepco’s
precision V guide technology,
Hepco’s DTS is available as either
rigidly guiding the carriages around
an oval or rectangular circuit to suit
26
the track, ensuring
accurate alignment and
resistance to deflection. In
an automated assembly cell, the
ability of the carriages to accept the
necessary assembly forces while
maintaining good levels of rigidity is
a key requirement.
BLEED LUBRICATION
Hepco’s bleed lubrication system
automatically delivers a steady and
consistent supply of lubrication
directly to the running faces of the V
track. Using a lubrication canister that
can be set to dispense over a period
of up to 12 months, bleed lubrication
effectively eliminates the need to stop
production in order to re-lubricate the
track.
When the remotely-located
lubrication canister comes to the
end of its life, it can simply be
replaced while the track system is
still moving.
With end users including
electronics giants LG, Samsung,
Apple and Huawei, automated
production cells meet the
demanding needs of some of the
biggest global technology leaders,
and are key elements in producing
the technology we rely on. !
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK | MAY 2018
28
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
ENERGY GENERATION | RENEWABLES
RENEWABLES
MARKET ENJOYS
MATERIAL GAINS
While things have slowed significantly in the offshore oil sector,
innovation continues apace in the offshore renewables market.
W
hile the price of oil
has meant a general
decline in the levels
of investment (and
consequently innovation) in the
offshore oil and gas industries,
the same cannot be said of the
offshore renewables sector. Here, by
contrast, government policies and
subsidies have ensured consistent
development of new technologies
and solutions.
Materials in particular is an area
where the offshore renewables sector
has seen notable innovation, with the
need to minimise maintenance in
MAY 2018 |
up to 400,000 households with
such remote and inaccessible
renewable energy from 2019
locations incentivising the
The wind
onwards. It will install 60
use of materials that ensure
6MW turbines based on
longer structural and
farm will have a
monopile foundations
component life.
capacity of 385 MW and
designed by Ramboll.
Clearly, given the
will be able to supply up
Traditionally,
conditions faced by
sacrificial anodes have
offshore wind farms,
to 400,000 households
been applied to the
corrosion from seawater
with renewable
monopiles to prevent
is a concern. In particular,
energy from 2019
corrosion. However, by its
there is a need to protect
onwards
nature, this solution involves
the steel foundations of the
an ongoing cost in regular
wind turbines from corrostion.
assessment, maintenance and
This inspired an innovation by
replacement of the anodes. Clearly,
engineering design consultancy
over the 25-year operating life of an
Ramboll on the offshore wind farm
offshore wind farm, such costs are not
Arkona in the Baltic Sea that received
inconsiderable.
the German Renewables Award.
In addition, there is a strong
The Arkona project is located 35
environmental imperative for a new
km northeast of the island of Rügen.
solution, since the use of sacrificial
The wind farm will have a capacity
anodes has involved emissions into
of 385 MW and will be able to supply
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
29
ENERGY GENERATION | RENEWABLES
the sea of several hundred tonnes
over the years.
Instead, Ramboll’s solution has
been to use Thermally Sprayed
Aluminium (TSA) in the manufacture
of the monopiles. TSA itself is not
new, but it is a very real departure
in this type and scale of application.
TSA has so far been used primarily
as corrosion protection for smaller
steel components under water or for
larger components above water, such
as offshore substations. Arkona is the
first project to install all monopiles
of an offshore wind farm using this
corrosion protection technology.
This was only achievable by
employing innovative application
and fabrication methods
developed by EEW SPC and Krebs
Korrosionsschutz. Here, during the
coating process, a robot sprays
molten aluminum onto the 81m long,
1200-tonne monopile foundations
using two arc burners. The surface is
then sealed with a synthetic resin.
Another award-winning use of
materials for renewable energy
applications can be seen in a new
multi-material connector for wave
energy devices from London’s Brunel
University.
Use of novel materials
is making wave
connectors lighter
and tougher
The connector features a novel
material called Basaltium, made from
recycled aluminium strengthened by
tiny basalt fibres, and a coating from a
custom formulated, low-friction grade
of cast nylon, called Oilon – made by
Nylacast. Together, Basaltium and
Oilon make connectors lighter and
tougher, which means that moorings
can last longer and cost less to
manufacture and maintain.
Connectors are key components
that join moorings with floating
devices such as tidal energy
converters with their anchors.
Designed first for floating wave
energy converters, the connectors
are the work of STORM (Specialised
Thimbles for Offshore Renewable
Marine energy) – a project by
Tension Technology International
(TTI), Brunel University London,
Nylacast and the European Marine
Energy Centre (EMEC).
Lorna Aguilano, from Brunel’s
Experimental Techniques Centre
which developed Basaltium with
Brunel Centre for Advanced
Solidification Technology, said:
“Connectors between the mooring
ropes and the device are one of
the main challenges for offshore
renewable energy. Generally, at
connector point, the ropes deteriorate
and end up breaking, with big costs
for retrieval. So normally the ropes are
changed every five years to avoid this.
“Our team has developed an
extra-light material that, when
incorporated in Oilon and used
to make the innovative connector
designed by TensioTech, would
solve this problem – increasing the
in-service life, minimising capital
expenditure and maintenance costs.”
The partners recently received
the ‘Rushlight Responsible Product or
Service Award’ at a ceremony at the
Royal Geographical Society. !
BRAKE INNOVATION CUTS WIND TURBINE NOISE
NOISE IS A signi�cant
issue in relation to wind
turbines. In particular, noise
generated by the operation
of the equipment in the
nacelle is seen as especially
problematic.
Yaw noise is a signi�cant
contributor to the noise
produced by wind turbines
and can be created by the
contact between the yaw
brake pads and the disc during
nacelle adjustment into the
wind. The brakes are released
su�ciently to allow the yaw
motors to turn the nacelle
into the wind before being
reapplied to hold the position.
There is a direct
relationship between the
amount of noise and the
glazing on the brake pad
surfaces. While the nacelle
30
is facing directly into the
wind, the yaw brakes are
pressurised to around 160 bar,
but when the nacelle needs to
turn, this pressure is reduced
to around 30 bar. This enables
the yaw motors to adjust
the direction of the nacelle
without losing control of it.
As the brakes are always
engaged, a small amount of
powdered friction material
is created, along with some
particles from the disc. At
the low pressure used during
yawing, some of the powder
created between the pad
and the disc sticks to the pad
surface, giving it a glazed
appearance.
Svendborg Brakes
completed an in-depth
analysis of the issue. The
outcome was a novel solution
that involved cutting a
specially-shaped groove into
the brake disc. This made it is
possible to remove existing
glazing and prevent it from
occurring in the future. The
groove does not increase
brake pad wear signi�cantly,
but it does help to remove the
build-up of powdered material
in conjunction with a brush
that is installed at the same
time.
Tests have shown that
grooves cut into the brake
disc removed the glazing on
the brake pad and increased
pad wear by only 3.5%, when
operating at a pressure of
30 bar. These tests were
conducted using brake pads
from Svendborg Brakes that
include a slot in the friction
material that also helps to
keep the braking surface clear
of debris.
What became apparent
from the testing was the
importance of the size and
shape of the groove. This
made it essential to create a
system that could replicate
the most e�cient design of
groove and enable engineers
to carry out the work.
The testing resulted in a
kit being created that would
enable an engineer to install
eight grooves in total, four on
the upper surface and four on
the lower surface of the brake
disc. The kit includes the
�xturing template to correctly
align the groove on the disc.
Over 18 months, Svendborg
Brakes was involved with the
modi�cation of 25 turbines
where the groove solution
was installed on units from
various OEMs. Since this work
was completed, none of the
turbines have so far produced
any noise from the yaw brake
system.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
INDUSTRY 4.0 | COMPRESSORS
CONNECTED
COMPRESSORS
Connected condition monitoring in compressed air
equipment isn’t new but, as Atlas Copco Compressors’
Stef Lievens explains, an IoT approach could lead to
more efficient, autonomous cyber physical systems.
T
he term Internet of
Things (IoT) has become
ubiquitous in recent years
and is now seemingly being
applied to any instance in which a
device is connected, communicative
and data-driven. However, it is
arguably the manufacturing sector
that stands to benefit the most, with
the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
envisaged as a positive force for
change that is already beginning to
see the introduction of sophisticated
robotics in the workplace and smart
components that communicate
their own assembly instructions to
the production line. The challenge
for equipment suppliers is that
companies are now moving beyond
talking about the theory behind
Industry 4.0 to wanting to know
how it can and will be applied
in practice.
As one of the
world’s major
industrial energy
sources, which
is estimated
to account
for 10% of all
energy used in
industry globally,
compressed air will
undoubtedly have a significant role
to play in shaping the smart factories
of the future. But, you may ask,
what is being done now within the
compressed air industry to embrace
Industry 4.0?
The concept of adding intelligence
to air compressors by connecting and
enabling them to communicate over
the internet is not new. In fact, as of
today, Atlas Copco has over 100,000
32
ABOUT
THE
AUTHOR
Stef Lievens,
business line
manager,
Atlas Copco
Compressors UK
connected compressors operating
at more than 35,000 customer sites
in the world. These compressors
are delivering more than 150 data
measurements per second. This is
proving vital on one hand in enabling
data mining engineers to intelligently
analyse performance patterns and on
the other, by helping design teams
to apply the data in the development
of new and more customer-suited
compressed air technologies.
For some time now, smart
controller technology has enabled
plant managers to keep track of how
their compressor is performing
via MODBUS or PROFIBUS internet
connections to a central plant
management system. These types
of control system are effectively
the ‘brain’ of a compressor:
collecting data via built-in
sensors, processing it and then
providing plant managers
with an overview of how their
compressed air system is
performing.
More recent advances
have enabled
compressor
controllers to be connected to mobile
devices through systems such as
SMARTLINK, which facilitates remote
monitoring over a secure network.
This means that operators can keep
track of key parameters including
pressure, flow, motor and dryer
speeds and then make adjustments
when necessary via a compressor’s
manual interface. This enables
varying production demands to be
accommodated and can help plant
managers improve efficiency and
save energy.
The next conceivable step is to
take this final, manual stage out of
the hands of compressor operators
by enabling air compressors
themselves to track and make process
improvements autonomously as
independent cyber physical systems.
Research is being undertaken to
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
develop this technology. However,
for the time being remote condition
monitoring is the most tangible
example of a fledgling IoT technology
that is already having an impact in the
compressed air industry.
Indeed, there have been such
major leaps forward in this area that
it has led to the creation of a subset of the Industry 4.0 movement
known as Preventative Maintenance
4.0. In the realm of compressed air
technology, the major development
here has been the introduction of
technology that combines hardware
with customisable data monitoring
software.
This enables maintenance and
service engineers to remotely track
indicators such as specific energy
and compressed air pressure
calculations so that immediate
improvements can be made when
needed. During this process, data is
gathered, compared, and analysed.
When required, warnings can be sent
out in order to prevent downtime and
to allow local service providers to
plan and prepare their interventions.
Knowing the status of compressed
air equipment at all times is the
surest way for plant managers and
maintenance professionals to spot
any developing problems, uncover
potential energy savings and
MAY 2018 |
Preventative
Maintenance
4.0 technology
enables engineers
to remotely track
indicators so that
interventions are
made only when
necessary, improving
uptime and saving
money.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
achieve maximum uptime of both
compressors and the production
lines they support. These insights can
be realised through a remote data
monitoring system, which is illustrated
by a number of recent use cases.
For instance, when a period
of cold weather caused a cereal
manufacturer’s compressors to
run at a particularly low ambient
temperature, a remote data monitoring
programme picked up warnings
from the units’ electronic condensate
drains and triggered a visit to the
site by a service engineer. This
early intervention saw the customer
fit temporary heaters to prevent the
drains freezing up, which could have
led to compressor element damage,
condensate reaching the air network,
and substantial breakdown costs.
In another use case a remote
data monitoring system picked
up an instance where the element
temperatures were inefficiently high
in all of the compressors at a steel
manufacturer’s site. On inspection,
a service engineer found that the
compressor room was poorly
ventilated, leading to a temperature
of +400°C in the room. A complete
redesign of the compressor room
was recommended. In the meantime,
service engineers made sure the
compressor coolers were kept clean
and the oil was topped up to prevent
overheating.
What this all illustrates is that the
application of connectivity and remote
condition monitoring technology
within compressed air equipment is
neither new nor incompatible, with
great scope for further adoption and
opportunities for the IoT to enhance
best practice in compressed air
operations. This could ultimately
lead to a situation where compressed
air systems operate independently
as cyber physical systems in their
own right, making autonomous
adjustments to pressure and flow to
facilitate process improvements.
This will not eliminate the role of
the compressor operator, however.
Humans will still hold a vital position
as the interface between compressors
and the wider smart factory
environment, which is shown by the
benefit that remote data monitoring
equipment is having now in
facilitating preventative maintenance
and improving uptime. !
33
a Spirit of Partnership
Your Partner from
Design to Production
Visit Ultrapolymers at Engineering Materials Live.
Innovative solutions to your part design and material challenges.
Market leading materials with extensive technical support
Design Solutions and Advice
Material election
Healthcare & Diagnostic
Automotive
Electrical & Electronics
Moldflow Analysis
Furniture
Regulatory Compliance
Processing Support
Packaging
Green
Stand 68
National Motorcycle
Museum
10th May 2018
T-(+44) 1925 750320, W - www.ultrapolymers.com, E- sales@ultrapolymers.co.uk
MATERIAL
BENEFITS
Taking place at the National Motorcycle
Museum, Birmingham on 10 May, Engineering
Materials Live has a lot to offer visitors.
MIDAS TO
DISPLAY LARGE,
LOW-VOLUME
MOULDINGS
Midas
specialises
in the rapid
production of
large,
low-volume
polyurethane
ngineering Materials Live
will take place at the at the
National Motorcycle Museum,
Birmingham on 10 May.
Free to attend and launched as a
standalone show in 2017, Engineering
Materials Live is a specialist UK
exhibition meeting the needs of
engineers tasked with sourcing
and specifying plastic mouldings,
composites, prototyped parts and
advanced engineering materials.
Selecting the right material for the
right application is key to the success
of any design project, which means
working with suppliers with the right
materials expertise and application
knowledge – this is why Engineering
Materials Live was created.
Exhibiting companies include
those with experience in: plastics,
rubbers, metals, composites,
ceramics, alloys, lightweighting
E
MAY 2018 |
mouldings and
prototypes
in production materials – fast,
and will be displaying several
mouldings at Engineering
Materials Live.
Midas mouldings are
particularly suitable for
equipment enclosures where
valuable technology is housed
in large, complex, multi-part
solutions, injection moulding, rapid
prototyping, additive manufacturing,
metal fabricators, design software
(simulation, FEA, CFD), materials
testing, design consultancy, minerals
and natural fibres, sustainable
materials, glass, carbon fibre,
expanded materials, foams, coatings
& finishing, conductive materials, and
surface treatment.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
assemblies.
One example of the use of
such mouldings is in the casing
of scientific units for which
Midas makes no fewer than 30
complex parts – a selection of
which will also be on show at
Engineering Materials Live.
35
EM LIVE SEMINAR
PROGRAMME
EMS-GRIVORY
TO DELIVER
SEMINAR ON
ENGINEERING
POLYMERS
A seminar programme will run
throughout the day covering a range
of topics and providing solutions to
your fastening design problems and
materials selections / lightweighting
challenges.
Places for the seminars are
allocated on a first-come, first-served
basis as space is strictly limited.
09:30-10:10
ALBIS/WIPAG CARBON FIBRE
COMPOUNDS – FROM WASTE
PRODUCT TO PERFORMANCE RESINS
Andy Pilling, regional technical and
business development manager,
Albis UK
Wipag has developed a highly innovative
new recycling technology, taking
dry carbon fibre waste coming from
composite lamination processes and
converting it into carbon fibre reinforced
thermoplastic compounds.
The benefits on offer include
outstanding mechanical properties
coupled with lower densities – offering
customers a stronger, substantially
lighter weight end product with volume
cost save potentials.
Wipag is the latest acquisition into the
Albis Plastic group, and further expands
the company’s product portfolio by
providing an ECO weight save solution.
10:30-11:10
ENGINEERING POLYMERS FOR
HIGHEST TEMPERATURES
Nigel Barrow, technical services
manager, EMS-Grivory
Grivory HT ‘High Temperature’ has a
much stronger performance at high
temperature than standard PPA. In fact,
the HDT/C has been increased by 50°C
and the E-Modulus at 140°C by 50%.
And this at a reduced melt temperature,
which gives a benefit in processing. A
further property of Grivory HT is its
outstanding creeping performance.
Grivory HT allows the designing
of components with reduced wall
thickness offering reduced cycle time
and overall reduced cost and weight
saving compared with standard PPAs.
Grivory HT (Polyphthalamide, PPA),
is a high temperature Polyamide from
EMS-Grivory Switzerland. EMS-Grivory
is the Polyamide specialist and the
European Market leader of PPAs.
11:30-12:10
VISTAMAXX PERFORMANCE
POLYMERS – ENGINEERED TO
CREATE NEW POSSIBILITIES
Dan Jarvis, technical and business
development manager, Plastribution
In this presentation visitors will hear
more about Vistamaxx performance
polymers, a specialty polymer based
on ExxonMobil Chemical´s proprietary
technology. We will focus on the
benefits of Vistamaxx polymers and
the applications on film and injection
moulding. This highly versatile product
can also be used in other applications
such as extruded parts, hygiene and hot
melt adhesives. !
Nigel Barrow, technical services
manager of EMS-Grivory, will
be delivering a free-to-attend
seminar at Engineering Materials
Live entitled ‘Engineering
Polymers for Highest
Temperatures’.
The seminar will cover the
technical details behind Grivory
HT ‘High Temperature’ materials,
which can be used in metalreplacement applications at
working temperatures well above
those of standard PPA.
Compared to standard PPA,
Grivory HT provides greatly
improved performance at high
temperatures with a 50°C higher
HDT/C, 50% higher E-Modulus
at 140°C and outstanding creep
values. The melt temperature is
also lower.
Barrow has a plethora of
knowledge and experience
in metal replacement and
optimising plastic parts for the
reduction in cost and weight
that they can bring to the design
process.
PENTAGON TO SHOW TOOLING SYSTEMS
The Pentagon Group
provides a range of UK
mould tooling systems
in addition to its low- to
medium-volume plastic
injection moulding
capabilities, and it will be
displaying a selection of
these tooling systems at
the Engineering Materials
Live exhibition.
36
The free-to-attend
event will deliver
practical solutions
for design engineers,
covering applications
and design needs such as
lightweighting, surface
treatment, use of hightemperature materials
and alternative materials
selection.
Visitors will be able to
see a range of Pentagon’s
modular insert tooling
systems alongside
examples of production
parts. These bespoke,
low-cost tooling solutions
deliver enhanced product
development capabilities
to complement additive
manufacturing and can run
low-volume production.
The structure of service
allows Pentagon to offer
design for manufacture
reviews, product
development, mould tool
manufacture and ongoing
support through the life of
a tool. Boasting a range of
10 injection mould presses
up to 280 tonnes, the
company caters for shot
weights of between 0.25g
and 550g.
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK |
MAY 2018
MANUFACTURING &
ENGINEERING 2018
See new products
and services
Make business
improvements
Discover the latest
technologies
All for FREE and
on your doorstep
4-5 JULY 2018
METRO RADIO ARENA
NEWCASTLE
The only event of its type at the
heart of the Northern Powerhouse,
showcasing manufacturing
technology and world-class
design engineering
Exhibition | Conference | Workshops
Conference:
Be inspired
Hear industry experts
from global brands
share practical advice
on overcoming common
business challenges.
Exhibition:
Meet local and
global suppliers
Explore a showfloor packed
with innovative design
products and cost-effective
manufacturing services
• Nissan UK – aspiring
young people into
manufacturing and
engineering
• Design & manufacturing
software
• Hyperloop – the
technology, the
challenges, the future
• Visual management tools
• Autodesk – 3D printing
in heavy engineering
• Toyota MH – leading
with innovation and
technology
• Metrology technologies
New for 2018:
Special features
Get up close to exciting feature
exhibits that demonstrate worldclass engineering skills and
expertise:
• UK’s first Hyperloop
prototype pod
• Nissan’s dissected
all-electric Leaf car
• Sunderland University’s
Formula Student 2018 car
• Material handling
• Electric motors
• CNC machine tools
• Engineering materials
• Virtual and Augmented
Reality
Secure your FREE ticket at
www.mfgengineeringshow.co.uk
DESIGN PLUS | PROTOTYPING
5 SIGNS THAT
YOU STILL NEED TO
PROTOTYPE
For a business, deciding to commit to creating a physical
prototype can be a di�cult task. Here Ogle Models outlines the key points
that mean you probably do need to invest in a prototype for your project.
A
prototype is the first fullscale, usually functional,
and operational form of
a new design. Ideas and
concepts are the starting point that
engineers will typically translate
into new products. It’s what happens
in between that we’re going to talk
about.
It can be a long road from that
initial idea to creating a marketready product and it can be riddled
with obstacles and unforeseen
challenges. Including some level of
prototyping within this is a crucial
step, not only to smooth out some of
the aforementioned issues but also
provide a host of other benefits.
PROJECT BUDGET
AND TIMESCALES
With true innovation comes the risk
of failure. The cost of not identifying a
design flaw or material weakness can
derail the entire project. By investing in
an early prototype, any changes can be
easily identified, keeping the project on
schedule. Ultimately, if the concept isn’t
workable, you haven’t spent months or
years’ worth of resources to come to
that conclusion.
PRODUCT TESTING
AND FEEDBACK
We’re often asked to use productionspec materials for parts to produce
prototypes, while we always endeavour
to achieve this, we are limited by the
research our suppliers put into their
materials. This is clearly for testing
purposes, but it also gives designers
and engineers valuable insights into
the functionality to help determine
the final design. Traditionally, a focus
group may have been brought in to
discuss a concept, but without the ‘real
thing’ these often fell short of delivering
actionable change.
ITERATE QUICKER
With the advancement of industrial
3D printers, we can now use a mix
of machines and people to quickly
make changes to an initial design.
When you partner with an
experienced firm, you also get
the benefits of their experience.
They can help advise on materials,
method, scale and future changes.
Not only can you see your design
develop, but you also get expertise
from highly-skilled model makers
and prototype engineers.
INTERNAL BUY-IN
Let’s set the scene: you have a
room of engineers and designers
who all have very strong opinions
about how a given detail should
function, ferociously defending
their viewpoint. It’s difficult to
squash one argument because
each individual has experience and
conjecture.
A functional prototype will allow
for several changes to be made
quickly and deliver benchmarks as
the project moves forward.
FINANCIAL LEVERAGE
Do you need to secure finance to
take the project forward? Facing
scrutiny from key investors or
internal management? A prototype
will not only show the feasibility of
your idea, but will lower the risk to
investors. If you’ve ever watched
Dragon’s Den, you’ll know that a
group of venture capitalists want
to see what they will be investing
in. Also, a prototype can be an
instrumental tool for attaining
patents for your ideas. !
MAY 2018 |
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
41
CALL JEZ WALTERS ON 01322 221144
TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
Coatings
Stainless Steels and Titanium are both prone to
galling and seizing. WS2 is a very low friction dry
lubricant surface treatment, developed by NASA for
use in deep space. It has been shown to provide a
very cost effective solution, preventing both
problems on threads and other sliding surfaces.
WS2 works well from -273° to 450° C and down to
10-14 Torr. WS2 has been applied to bearings and
gears to extend life.
Design Out maintenance problems with WS2!
@: sales@ws2.co.uk
✆: 01430 861222
www.ws2.co.uk
WS2 Stops galling of SS and
Titanium
COFFEE TIME CHALLENGE | SPONSORED BY MICRO-EPSILON
CALMING RAFFIC
S
peed humps and bumps, lane
narrowing obstructions, stop
signs and a multitude of traffic
calming measures are the
bane of the suburban driver’s life.
Not only do they provide a
veritable obstacle course on the way
to and from work, the school run or the
supermarket, they can do some serious wear
and tear to your vehicle. In more extreme cases,
they can slow emergency vehicles down affecting
the amount of time taken to get to an incident,
casualty or fi re.
However, there is clearly a need for them to
be there; be that to stop speeding in residential
areas or to stop heavy traffic flow from badly
congested main roads from cutting through.
THE CHALLENGE
This month’s challenge, then, is to come up with
a better method of traffic calming. Something
that causes the least disruption to those of us who
abide by the Highway Code, but stops reckless
drivers from being able to speed through
suburban roads, car parks and industrial estates.
Think about what kind of technologies could
be employed in your more efficient traffic
calming method, perhaps it’s a simply a materials
selection issue, or a bit of both? Whichever way
you go with your design, try to avoid a design that
would destroy the vehicle or hurt its occupants! !
The idea we have in mind will be revealed in
the June issue of Eureka! Until then see what
you can come up with. Submit ideas by leaving
a comment on the Co�ee Time Challenge
section of the Eureka! website or by emailing the
editor: paul.fanning@markallengroup.com
W W W.EUREK AMAGAZINE .CO.UK
43
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