Great Engineering Heroes – The Public’s Choice

Here at Motion Drives and Controls, devices like our Boschert products are the result of many hours of skilled labour by experienced engineers, and throughout history engineers have produced numerous innovations that have literally redefined the way in which we live.

However, just because it is their inventions that ‘live on’, we shouldn’t forget the individuals who gave us these clever pieces of technology in the first place. Recently, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has conducted a survey to compile the ‘top 10 engineering heroes’ throughout history. The results were assembled using Twitter, and certainly show that the names of many bygone engineers still live on alongside the work that made them famous. Here are some picks from the list:

Turing

 

Alan Turing

Ranked number 6 on the recent poll, we’ve chosen to highlight Alan Turing because a recent news story has arisen debating whether or not a computer has finally passed the famous ‘Turing Test’. Considered to be the father of artificial intelligence, the 65-year-old Turing Test is still considered the benchmark in artificial intelligence, and Turing’s work in code-breaking during the Second World War is a contribution that can’t be over-exaggerated.

 

Archimedes

 

 

Archimedes

Irrefutable proof that the reputation of great engineers can live on for decades, or in this case more than 2000 years, Archimedes is one of the best-known and most celebrated of all ancient engineers. Perhaps more commonly thought of as a mathematician, Archimedes produced designs that are still in use today. The Archimedes screw is one such design, and if a modern engineer could create a design with even a quarter of that longevity, they’d doubtless be well pleased.

 

 

 

Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci

 

Another beloved figure from the past, Leonardo Da Vinci was an undisputed master of numerous disciplines, but it is perhaps his revolutionary engineering ideas that have really stood the test of time. Da Vinci’s inspiration was centuries ahead of his time, and, given that he drafted designs for flying machines, calculators and solar power, one can scarcely imagine what this Italian genius would have been capable of had he been born with the resources of modern technology at hand.

 

Brunel

 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Topping the aforementioned poll, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the mastermind behind the Great Western Railway, and this iconic gentleman also worked wonders for the public transport system as a whole. Even today, more than a century after his death, Brunel’s name is recognised by people who are otherwise fairly ignorant of engineering history, and his aptitude for solving long-standing engineering problems was perhaps second to none.

Of course, the modern day engineering industry is still producing many notable innovations, and here at Motion Drives and Controls we specialise in distributing a variety of essential systems to professionals within this sector. If you’d like to find out more about our products and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us now by calling 01926 411544 or emailing sales@motion.uk.com.

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A Successful 2014 for Boston Gear

Boston Gear LogoHere at Motion Drives and Controls, an integral part of our stock is the workmanship of the renowned power transmission supplier Boston Gear, and we have an extensive collection of their products available for you to access.

However this reputable company, based in North Carolina, is continually looking to refine their designs to even more effective heights, and they have already utilised their creativity to solve two distinct problems in the first half of 2014.

Packaging Equipment and Pressure Washdowns

In the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and household packaging industries, there was a need for a gearbox source that was capable of rapidly providing units for a cartooning machine line. These machines are regularly treated to washdowns at a very high pressure, and so Boston Gear was called upon to create a product that would solve this problem.

They ultimately came up with a speed reducer, as well as a washdown treatment that could stand up to pressurised or caustic washdowns without being damaged. This innovation relies upon a SBK coating that has been specifically developed for high-pressure environments, and it has already proved to be far superior to the previous competitor options.

Food Safety and Increased Sanitisation

Food safety laws are an area of paramount importance, and in Boston Gear’s home country of America food contamination infections have risen by over 40% in the last three years. Motor and speed reducer drivetrains are widely used in the food processing industry, and, as such, their effectiveness plays a large part in maintaining high standards of health and safety.

Once again Boston Gear proved that they were capable of producing products for use in a challenging area, fashioning gearboxes that eliminate the flat surfaces or holes where bacteria can gather, and repeating their aptitude in the area of solving washdown complications. These stainless steel powertrains may not be glamorous, but they are undeniably important.

Boston GearAs you can see, Boston Gear’s work affects some very important industries, and it’s fair to say that their problem-solving skills are put to the test on a continual basis. Invariably though, they prove equal to the task at hand. If you’d like to find out more about the Boston Gear products that we offer, then we welcome you to get in touch with the Motion Drives and Controls team today. Contact us now by calling 01926 411 544 or emailing sales@motion.uk.com and we’ll be happy to assist with your enquiry.

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1914-1918: Engineers at War

The First World War is an event that is sadly burned into the history books of the world, and recently a variety of world leaders came together to commemorate the date when Britain first joined the conflict; a moment in time that took place a century ago.

Royal Engineers

Naturally, the First World War is an infamous event, rather than a famous one, yet that doesn’t mean that this global tragedy brought no positive changes to the fore, and one of the areas we’re especially interested in is the sphere of engineering.

Engineers were really at the crux of WW1 problem-solving, and it is no understatement to claim that the war effort would have been futile without them. For example, the Royal Engineers were instrumental when ensuring that…

  • The armies were properly supplied: the Royal Engineers kept supply routes open and accessible for as many forms of transport as possible.
  • Transport didn’t grind to a halt: a natural progression from the above point, operational transport was largely down to the efforts of engineers.
  • Communications remained intact: telephones, wireless equipment and signalling devices were all the province of skilled engineers.
  • Infantry received adequate cover: Royal Engineers constructed fortification and artillery positions; without them there would have been no ‘front-line’.
  • Weaponry was maintained: nobody approves of guns and other wartime devices, but they were a necessary evil in WW1. Without engineers, such systems wouldn’t have been usable.
  • Responsive innovations were developed: every time a new threat loomed large – such as underground warfare or chemical bombardment – it was the engineers who were called upon to solve the problem.

WW1 brought about a number of technical changes, and some of them, such as…

  • Mobile x-ray machines
  • Aircraft carriers
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Underwater microphones

…have clearly changed the world for the better. Of course, engineering as a discipline has kicked on from there at an impressive and varied rate, resulting in ingenious products like our Boston Gear range, but even so it is still fitting to take a moment to step back, and view the historical achievements of bygone engineers.

For the modern requirements of the engineering community, Motion Drives and Controls are here to distribute a range of products to meet your every need. Contact us now by calling 01926 411 544 or emailing sales@motion.uk.com to find out more.

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10 Significant Breakthroughs That We Owe to Engineering

Engineering has consistently been one of the most important areas of study throughout modern history, and many significant breakthroughs have come about as a result of the direct efforts of engineers.

With UK engineering currently experiencing a shortage of employees, and with a forecast that suggests that things are likely to get worse before they get better, we at Motion Drives and Controls thought that we’d take a little glance back through time to see some of the revolutionary (and absolutely vital) innovations that engineers have brought us in the past.

 

CarsThe Car

The science of engineering made the car possible in the first place, but it has also refined manufacturing to the extent that these invaluable devices can be accessible to all, rather than being a province of the privileged few.

 

Aeroplane - FaroThe Aeroplane

Airborne transport would never have taken off if it were not for the efforts of engineering. Nothing else has opened up the possibility of true globalisation quite like the aeroplane, and even the least complicated plane has broadened people’s horizons no end.

 

TelevisionTelevision

We take television for granted, but this is yet another invention that owes much to engineering. Much like the two previous breakthroughs, television enables us to have a window to other areas of the world, back into history and even into other worlds entirely – and all without leaving your living room.

 

ComputersComputers

Possibly the signature innovation of the entire 20th century, computers have changed the world beyond recognition, opening up access to information and boosting work productivity to truly extraordinary levels. They may frustrate us at times, but the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks.

 

TelephoneThe Telephone

Another revolution in the communication world, telephones were one of the first devices that enabled people to maintain relationships even over distance. Switchboards, satellites and fibre optics are all hallmarks of the engineering world, and telephones couldn’t exist without them.

 

101112-N-6320H-071Health Technology

Artificial organs, joint and prosthetic limb replacements, antibiotics…the list goes on and on, and none of these things could have happened without engineers. When you think about how much lives have changed for the better because of these things, that’s a huge contribution.

 

Air ConAir Conditioning

Seeing as it’s summer, we simply couldn’t leave this one out! It’s not only offices that benefit from some cool air though, as refrigeration revolves around just the same sort of technology as well, meaning that we can also thank engineers for the improved shelf life of foods, among other things.

 

ElectricityElectricity

Electricity networks and transmission grids as a whole are the handiwork of engineers throughout history, and likewise the world of electronics is similarly indebted to engineering breakthroughs. Has anything changed the world more than electricity? It’s a debatable point, but one that certainly carries weight.

 

Drinking WaterDrinking Water

Engineers have been involved in the sphere of water treatment for a long time, and have also masterminded various systems that have all but eliminated many dangerous waterborne diseases. Safe drinking water may not be as flashy as electricity, but it’s fair to say our lives depend upon it.

 

Enhanced MaterialsEnhanced Materials

Engineering is all about pushing the boundaries, and many enhanced materials that boast properties like reduced weight and greater strength have been customised by the work and research of engineers.

 

Of course, there are many more developments that we could have spoken about, but these ten alone are enough to convince anyone that engineering is a discipline that is absolutely invaluable, and one that the UK should be moving to support as much as possible.

Here at Motion Drives and Controls, we distribute a wide range of products to the engineering industry, and although devices like our Coiltek solutions may not be as life-changing as the aeroplane, they have reformed the areas where they are used nonetheless. We aim to be your one-stop source for systems like drives and transmission equipment, so contact us by calling 01926 411 544 or emailing sales@motion.uk.com to find out more.

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New Coiltek Innovations Continue to Impress

Coiltek 3Coiltek are the undoubted benchmark when it comes to loop coil products for the metal-forming world, and their effective solutions come with a comprehensive range of convenient additions (such as free downloadable software on their website) to make their product range as utile and accessible as possible.

Coiltek has been refining its trade in ultrasonic loop controls for more than 3 decades, allowing its customers to access custom systems that easily promote the use of new product lines. However, despite this longevity, they are clearly not content with where they currently stand.

 

The New System…

Always striving to create new and improved systems, a new up-and-coming loop control from this high-quality manufacturer looks set to revolutionise future use of loop coils. Even the most reliable products on the markets can fail on occasion, but according to the Coiltek website this ingenious brand name has now developed a product with twin loop controls incorporated into the same system, and the theoretical results of such a device could make irregular malfunctions a thing of the past.

Because each half of these forthcoming Coiltek systems is capable of working entirely independently, the finished article will be totally self-regulating, able to function at full capacity even when one half of the system has suffered an unexpected failure. Obviously, this will be an enormously beneficial adjustment, and one that is sure to generate much enthusiasm in the months before its eventual release. When this latest news is combined with all of Coiltek’s previous achievements in their discipline, this industry leader definitely looks set to build upon its already exemplary reputation.

 

Here at Motion Drives and Controls Ltd, we specialise in distributing a variety of drives and transmission equipment to the engineering industry within the UK, and our selection of Coiltek products is especially diverse. Of course, we’ll also continue to bring you all of the latest technological developments as well, so you can invariably rely on receiving truly cutting-edge systems when you come to us.

Motion Drives

If you’d like more information about our current range of Coiltek products, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 01926 411 544 or emailing sales@motion.uk.com. Our aim is always to provide the very best customer service and benefits, and you can be confident in our ability to serve as a one-source provider to meet your needs, so we’ll always be pleased to discuss whatever enquiry you might have in mind.

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More Women Needed in Engineering

Last time, we mentioned how women were typically underrepresented in the field of engineering, and a late article from The Guardian has illustrated just how important a point this is with regards to the future of UK engineering.

Women in Engineering

Last month saw the celebration of National Women in Engineering Day, but the fact is that females make up only 7% of the UK engineering workforce, a figure which is quite simply the lowest in all of Europe. The forthcoming shortage of engineers in the UK has been well documented of late, largely being down to the advanced age of most of the staple engineering workforce in the main, and utilising female talent could well be instrumental if this issue is to be avoided.

Educating Women about ‘Engineering’

Of course, engineering is not a ‘traditional’ career for women to typically become involved in, but equally to neglect the possibility altogether is to miss out on some thoroughly positive career decisions. Much of the fault is still down to the industry itself though, who need to adopt a far more rigorous approach when it comes to convincing young women of the validity of engineering.

Engineering actually encompasses skills that lend themselves to a variety of careers, including science, technology and maths vocations, to name but a few, and this needs to be publicised as much as possible. Many people who excel in seemingly unrelated disciplines, such as art and design, can actually find themselves well-equipped for an engineering career when they combine these skills with maths.

Encouraging Future Generations

Misunderstanding the concept of an engineering career is not the only barrier to female participation though, as early encouragement is needed just as badly as accurate information. Most women engineers possess an individual in their family circle who served as their mentor in this capacity, and so educational and workplace establishments need to work hard to reach female talent as early as possible.

As a specialist distributor and system integrator for a variety of clients in the engineering industry, we’re always very interested to view the situation in this field on a national basis, and we sincerely hope that the female presence within UK engineering becomes far more pronounced in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime though, you can already access quality products like our Coiltek solutions to suit all of your current engineering needs. To find out more about the extensive stock here at Motion Drives and Controls, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 01926 411 544 or emailing us at sales@motion.uk.com. We’ll always be pleased to help.

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UK Moves to Boost Engineering

Many parties within the UK would dearly love to see the area of British Engineering receiving a welcome boost, and according to the very latest news several new initiatives could well be set to do just that.

James_DysonThe first of these schemes is being pioneered by engineering stalwart James Dyson (see right), and The Guardian reports how his foundation is on track to donate a variety of CAD and 3D printing equipment to schools in an effort to enthuse a new generation of engineers.

Part of the problem with promoting engineers in the eyes of young people is the perception that the discipline is manually taxing and unattractive, so Dyson’s efforts to raise the profile of CAD software in the engineering world are incredibly shrewd.

CAD software is still relatively ‘exciting’ in the eyes of a schoolchild, and is of fundamental importance to engineers, so introducing it into the curriculum earlier on could well be an inspired move. Modern engineering is a far cry from the dull discipline that many people consider it to be, and so it is important to get this across to younger people, and soon.

Of course, encouraging children into engineering is a strategy that targets long-term results, but other methods are still needed to achieve results in the here and now. To this end, a £30 million fund has been promised by the government to address engineering skills shortages in small businesses; especially by boosting the number of female engineers in society.

Building.co.uk states that this scheme is in response to a review last year that showed engineering was ‘failing to draw on the whole talent pool’, and there has long been a consensus that women are particularly underrepresented in this area. Because of this, attempting to overturn the gender imbalance is an important task; hence the reason why this government fund targets it so strongly.

Coiltek 2The UK engineering sector may well take a while to recover, and the next few years could well be taxing, given the fact that many current British engineers are nearing retirement age, but efforts such as these show that the right remedial actions are certainly being taken. As a distributor that regularly works alongside the engineering industry, this is welcome news, and we hope that more similar initiatives soon begin to bear fruit.

At Motion Drives and Controls, products like our Coiltek solutions are of vital important to the engineering industry, so from our perspective more engineers can only be a good thing! We deal with a broad range of customers, and have a proven track record for success, so if you’re based in the UK’s engineering sector then we welcome you to contact us if you have need of our high quality products. Call us now on 01926 411 544 or email us on sales@motion.uk.com.

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Health and Safety Regulations Around Machinery

Occupational_Safety_EquipmentHealth and safety regulations are very important in the field of engineering, as any profession that depends heavily on machinery is going to be putting employees at risk if this machinery is improperly used.

As a distributor for many high quality mechanical components, including Boschert safety chucks, we are well aware of the need to be careful around machinery, so here is a brief overview of the health and safety concerns you need to bear in mind.

In What Ways is Machinery Dangerous?

  • Moving parts within machinery can trap or crush people, and sharp components can also cause cuts or abrasion wounds if they come into contact with the user.
  • Machinery often gets very hot (or occasionally excessively cold), so can easily hurt someone.
  • Faulty or poorly maintained machinery can malfunction, causing injury to those who use it.

What Needs to be Done?

-          By the Employer

 

  • All machinery needs to be undamaged and complete, and any safeguards and other safety measures must always be in place.
  • A safety and maintenance program must always be in place for every individual type of machine.
  • Any static machine must be fixed down and properly stable, Also, take proper notice of the situation of a machine, as it should not come into proximity with any untrained people.
  • When not in use, a machine must be completely switched off and secured, and this is doubly true if any maintenance is being carried out.
  • Notify trained users of any and all changes that are made to a machine. Never conduct any adjustments without keeping regular records.
  • Clearly outline the safety instructions for each machine, and ensure that they are only used by trained persons (under proper supervision if appropriate).

 

-          By the User

Boschert

  • Keep the area around any machine tidy, well lit and free of distractions.
  • Wear appropriate clothing when using machines (i.e. avoid loose or dangling garments) and keep long hair out of harm’s way. Any protective clothing must also be worn at all times.
  • Maintain all safeguards and never remove them, even if they appear to make your work clumsy.

All machines must be kept in good condition and used competently by trained individuals, and if you’d like to know more about this topic then be sure to visit the Health and Safety Executive website. At Motion Drives and Controls Ltd, products like our Boschert safety chucks are fundamental when ensuring the safe use of machinery, and you’ll find no better supplier of these quality products than us. For more information, contact us now by calling 01926 411 544 or emailing sales@motion.uk.com.

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Engineering Pinpointed as the Key to UK Industry

British engineering specialists are being encouraged to sign up for professional status in order to boost the country’s industry to more impressive levels. The call is linked in with the fact that engineering is increasingly being perceived as a trade that is not particularly attractive, and turning professional would allow many unsung heroes in the world of engineering to achieve much greater recognition.

 Engineering

Engineering many not always be glamorous, but the fact remains that it plays a fundamental role in some of the most advanced innovations in the entire world, and more widespread professional classifications would go some way towards making the career seem more appealing. Not only would it raise the profile of engineers in the public eye, thereby making it seem to be a more promising career choice, but it would also offer a measure of support to those currently-practising engineers who rarely receive any credit.

It’s a sad fact that engineering has lost a lot of its status in late years, and the Telegraph reports how this fact needs to be addressed at a very early stage in the UK education system. Apparently, very young children frequently exhibit qualities of mind that are naturally oriented towards engineering, yet schools tend to disregard these tendencies in favour of developing skills which are actually far less practical.

A spokesperson for the University of Winchester said that the cultivation of an engineering mindset is usually left far too late, and the subject is taught with little enthusiasm, and there are many who would like to see this change. Engineering is a key component within UK industry, and there are few who would not benefit from a more prevalent engineering presence within the country.

Here at Motion Drives and Controls Ltd, we are only too aware of just how much the engineering industry has to offer, and you only have to look at our own products, such as the revolutionary Boston Gear power transmission systems that we stock, to see that the idea that engineers possess a fairly unsophisticated skill set is absurd.

Our own team of engineers has been in operation for two decades now, and we’ve seen many important innovations pioneered by the engineering industry as a whole. Hopefully, if the lacklustre attitude surrounding UK engineering can be addressed, there will be many more to come in the future as well.

If your own established engineering business has any need for high performance drive and transmission equipment, then look no further than Motion Drives and Controls Ltd to see your needs met. Please contact us by calling 01926 411 544 or emailing sales@motion.uk.com.

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UK Manufacturing And Engineering Jobs On The Rise

According to an article released by The Engineer, the UK’s engineering sector is experiencing a huge opening in jobs for those who aspire to pursue a career in the manufacturing sector. Approximately 54 per cent of the Small- Medium Enterprises that were questioned in the survey stated that they were looking to expand their services and increase the jobs they offered.

Boston Gear

Employment within the engineering sector has not enjoyed such a surge in employment for three years, after the economic downturn had forced companies to operate cautiously and cut their costs as a survival tactic. It is reported that there is a 14 per cent increase in the number of companies creating jobs this year compared to companies that were doing so around the same period last year.

The automotive, nuclear and aerospace sectors are reportedly leading the way as companies look to utilise the thriving economy by expanding their services. Statistics concerning corporate profitability of manufacturing and engineering based firms correlates with their staff recruitment confidence. 61 per cent of the companies surveyed confirmed they were experiencing a remarkable growth in sales, therefore it is correct to assume that they are trying to recruit more staff to cope with the sudden increase in sales volumes.

In relation to this, the Office for National Statistics revealed that the UK’s unemployment had fallen to a five year low following a 23 per cent year on year increase in engineering and manufacturing job openings. Many manufacturers have now hinted their belief in the economy’s sustainability through revealing long term plans to expand and build on their services. As a company that has many years of experience in the manufacturing and engineering industry, we at Motion Drives and Controls support companies’ visions to expand.

We believe that engineering and manufacturing is the future of the nation, therefore it is encouraging to see the industry flourish. Every company has an important role in supporting the industry. We play our part through providing many products like the Boston Gear, clutches and brakes. If you want to know more about our services please contact us on 01926 411 544. We certainly hope the industry will work together for the brighter future of our beloved nation.

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