Industry

Volkswagen came, saw, and conquered. The Volkswagen ID R has broken the record for the time it takes an electric vehicle to climb a hill. It is a feat of electrical engineering and it hints at the future of electrical vehicle engineering.

The competition is named the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It is a 12.42 mile race with 156 turns, climbing up to 14,000 feet above sea level. It has been in existence since 1916.

Source: Volkswagen Group

The VW team challenged the PIKE...

The digital world is a scary place. It is a place of automation, it is a place of digitization, it is a place of disruption. And it can’t be ignored. If you don’t have the skills for work as dictated by the fourth industrial revolution...you may be in trouble.

People may find themselves in jobs that will be automated out of existence in the near future. Thankfully, however, education and training is also undergoing a revolution and is ready to meet the challenge of bridging the digital skills...

Real-time Big Data and Analytics  - Mobility  -  the Internet of Things  -  Social Media  -  3D Printing  - Drones  -  Self-driving Vehicles.

What do all of these things have in common? They are all associated with the digital disruption of the supply chain. They are technologies that are contributing to the Industrial Automation of today and will have an impact into the future.

They are also terms we should all be acquainted with. If we can keep an eye on the technologies responsible for...

The UK government has dubbed 2018 the ‘Year of Engineering’. And as the year gallops into its final five months, innovation in Africa is a hot topic too. South Africa and Zimbabwe have both seen new presidents thrust into power, which may have also stimulated changes.

There also seems to be a renewed appetite for innovation in education and training - part of the blossoming global economy.

The UK government attended the Royal Academy of Engineering Workshop - hosted at Zimbabwe’s NUST...

Grease (lubricant). Engineering industries’ little talked about best friend. Lubricants are present in many engineering industries: Power Generation, Water & Wastewater, Food & Beverage, Oil & Gas, Transportation & Fleet industries, and more. Lubricants simply help machines run at optimum efficiency - and have given rise to the term ‘a well-oiled machine’.

Industrial lubricants also ensure that machines stay healthier for longer. Reducing the amount of friction a machine...

110,000 Australian homes are to be powered by renewable energy sources before the end of 2018. Much of this is thanks to Partners Group - the global private market investment manager. They will be investing a total of AUD$700 million in a renewable energy platform named the Grassroots Renewable Energy Platform.

The investment will, over four years, help add 1.3GW of new wind power, solar power, and battery storage projects in Australia. It is not the first time Partners Group has thrown...

The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is about to be dethroned. 1,200 miles away, a new tower is nearing its completion in Saudi Arabia. In 2020, the tallest building in the world, the Jeddah Tower measuring in at one kilometer, will open. That is if engineers can complete the audacious towering skyscraper on the desert sand.

The tower’s construction is estimated to cost the Kingdom Holding Company around US$1.5 billion. Jeddah Economic Company website initially reported...

A startup in Melbourne, Australia, has introduced the world’s biggest 3D printer. The company in question is Titomic; they are experts in industrial scale additive manufacturing.

They boast that they also have the industry’s fastest metal 3D printing production line.

Source: Titomic

They specialize in titanium, of course. They print for an assortment of industries. They produce and manufacture metals for space ships, automobiles, skyscrapers, bicycles, military marine vessels, yachts...

If you aren’t utilizing a service that delivers your groceries to your door now, you most likely will use one in the future. Thanks to automation, you won’t have to cast your mind to the nonexistent workers that are packaging all of your groceries up for you - because all of the workers will be robots.

Source: Burst

If it sounds like a persuasive brochure from a futuristic sci-fi novel, it isn’t. It’s already happening. Ocado warehouse in Hampshire, England, utilizes hundreds of...

Food and beverage processing has been achieved by heavy duty machinery controlled by ‘robots’ for many years. Now the world is poised to experience an automated dining experience.

With the rise of automation the kitchen is beginning to look different. Not only are the chefs and kitchen staff being replaced by robots, the kitchen itself is being automated. The front of house is not immune either; the waiting staff are beginning to disappear in some restaurants.

Fast food giant, McDonalds, is...

A vast number of jobs are potentially on the chopping block in South Africa: engineering professionals, senior project managers, energy storage specialists, coal truck drivers, technicians, asset managers, operations officers, and others. They are seriously threatened if the state-owned power utility, Eskom, restructures its operations.

Presently it powers 95 percent of South Africa, but it is not looking good. It is struggling to weather historical maladministration, a failed nuclear deal...

The Vasa

Source: Vasa Museet


This Swedish ship was constructed between 1626 and 1628 and intended to be part of the Royal Swedish Navy. However, it only got 1300 metres into its maiden voyage before it capsized and sank. King Gustavus Adolphus oversaw the project and put tight time constraints on the engineers to get the ship finished. He also requested design changes mid-project, despite the constructers advising against them. Once the construction was finished, engineers conducted...

International Space Station

Source: NASA


First launched into space in 1998, NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) is an engineering marvel. Costing close to US $100 billion, its construction required over 100 rocket and shuttle launches, plus 160 space walks, and the components were not all in place until 2011. Russia, the US, Canada, the European Space Agency and Japan all contributed, in what became a new collaborative approach to space exploration. The ISS is larger than a...

Palm Island

Source: Daily Mail

In 2001, there was nothing off the coast of Dubai except for shallow gulf water. However, the city was becoming overpopulated quickly. To solve this problem, local real estate conglomerate Nakheel Properties used GPS precision to shape 94 million cubic metres of sand into a 17-frond palm tree-shaped island. Sixteen quarries throughout the UAE were dredged for rock, which forms a breakwater around the island to protect it from wind and waves. It took a decade...

Steven Hawkins

The scientific world has lost one of its modern day pioneers. Stephen Hawking, a modern cosmologist, passed away at age 76, on the 14th of March 2018. Hawking’s most notable work, “A Brief History of Time”, sold over ten million copies and he is remembered for his work on general relativity and black hole theories.

His impact on engineering is not lost either; Hawking popularized communication devices that aid those who are unable to speak. Hawking developed Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis...

Cruise ship holidays are growing in popularity. What’s not to like? Breakfast buffets. All-you-can-eat pizza and burgers around the clock. Restaurant dinners. Drinks. Great sea views. As the appetite for cruise holidays intensifies, the cruise companies are lengthening their pre-existing liners.

Instead of building new ships they are slicing the existing ones in half and inserting new middle sections. This feat of engineering has become standard practice for profit-turning cruise ship...

The 3D printing industry is a special one. A 3D printer has several necessary components: heat beds, bed surfaces, the printing materials (resins or filaments), extruders, hobbed gear, and more. Depending on the kind of printing materials engineers use, different printers are necessary. These several technological parts that make up a 3D printer can be sourced from around the globe from several manufacturers.

Thus, it takes quite a lot of engineered parts to make up an SLA workshop. What is a...

Bus in Ice

One of the islands in the Japanese archipelago is Hokkaido. Sapporo, a city on the island, is burdened by snow; it costs 20.4 billion yen (US$190 million) on snow removal every winter.

Local government removes snow on state owned properties and streets, but private property owners are on their own. Alarmingly, it is not uncommon for a meter of snow to fall overnight in Sapporo.

From time to time the air force is required to perform rescue operations on houses that have been snowed in to...

Mars

Governments may be responsible for the slowing down of technological progress around the world. Government shutdowns and Presidents who refuse to leave their seats despite alarming corruption scandals impact negatively on the advancement of technology in their countries.

Puerto Rico, devastated by a hurricane in 2017, only now, over 140 days later, has restored electricity to 75 percent of its inhabitants. In the modern age of engineering it is baffling that a U.S. colony has been incapable...

Chances are, if you live in the colder countries of the world, you’ve had to de-ice something in your life. De-icing is critical - the safety and usability of an engineered product often depends on it.

Engineering in the aviation industry is a point in case. Airports are an interdisciplinary hub of engineering activity as are the planes; minutes before a plane takes off it has to go through the process of de-icing.

The wings and the tail of the aircraft need particular attention - they...

Olympic Relay Flame

From the 9th to the 25th February this year the world will have access to a visual buffet of snow sports; the Winter Olympics is to be hosted by South Korea’s PyeongChang. Fans around the world will be cheering on their respective countries’ athletes. Also to be lauded, however, are the engineers who work behind the scenes; the smooth running of the Games is frequently their responsibility.

It started with the Olympic Torch Relay; technology played a bigger part in this tradition than ever...

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The Winter Olympics are upon us. The opening ceremony airs on February 9th, 2018. Over the course of the competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the feats of many engineers will be on display too. In fact it will be hard to find an event untouched by engineering. (Some of the athletes themselves even have engineering degrees.)

Source: Foter.com

One of the competitions at the Winter Olympics that should get pulses racing is bobsleigh. It is also known as Formula One on Ice because...

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New data generated from the U.S. Department of Transportation has revealed that more than 54,000 American bridges are structurally deficient. America has 612,677 bridges.

Americans cross these bridges 174 million times daily.

One in three bridges are in need of repair, and one in three Interstate highway bridges have also been flagged as needing maintenance.

Source: Pixabay.com

 

Dr. Alison Premo Black, Chief Economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders...

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The largest manufacturing plant in the world is in Wolfsburg, West Germany. It is a car manufacturing plant that belongs to none other than Volkswagen. It covers an area of 6.5 million square miles. It is so vast that employees are able to cycle around the company’s main headquarters.

The houses surrounding the factory are filled with Volkswagen employees, and whoever else lives there is in some way or another associated with the car manufacturer.

Volkswagen beat Toyota in sales, becoming...

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National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, American Nuclear Society, American Society of Safety Engineers, Biomedical Engineering Society, Institute of Transportation Engineers, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Order of the Engineer, Institute of Industrial and System Engineers.

 

This is enough to make your head spin. The aforementioned engineering societies are only a portion of those that exist in the United...

On the 9th of January 2018 a destructive mudslide, in Santa Barbara and Ventura County, California, hit the community of Montecito the hardest. Houses and businesses were literally swept off of their foundations. Days later the death toll had risen to 20 with scores more injured.

 

100 homes were destroyed and 300 more were damaged. Vehicles were among the losses too.

 

Freeways and hotels have been closed indefinitely as the community faces an enormous cleanup. Power had...

Cape Town, South Africa, may become the first modern city in the world to run out of water. This headline is being strewn across news networks around the world. Time is ticking toward ‘Zero Day’ - a day in April when the Cape is set to run out of water.

 

Cape Town residents are now restricted to 50 liters of water per household per day and this figure is soon to be halved.

 

Professor Mike Muller, the former Director-General of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry...

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The future of automation is set in stone. It seems clear that industrial robots will replace human beings on the assembly line inside most, if not all, factories in the future. Car manufacturers have already seen many of the tasks on the assembly line replaced by robots - tasks that, once upon a time, belonged to the human employee.

However, Ford Motor Company may have just prolonged the human employee’s stay on the assembly line with new exoskeleton technology.

EksoVest is a joint...

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Like water off of a duck’s back, Volkswagen’s Dieselgate controversy has not deterred consumers from buying their vehicles. Autoblog estimates that VW’s worldwide overall sales reached “around 10.7 million cars” in 2017, cementing it as the largest automaker in the world - inching just above Toyota.

The company also set a new record for a car manufacturing company; the company produced six million cars in a year. The Volkswagen Polo was the 7th most purchased vehicle in 2017.

For...

A new year has arrived, and with it, new engineering challenges. As 2018 rolled in, so did incredible weather events in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

 

In the Northern Hemisphere, it has been extremely cold. Days after New York’s governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, revealed a clean energy policy proposal for the state, a winter storm known as a ‘bomb cyclone’ descended upon the East Coast of the United States of America.

 

Extreme cold

The East Coast has undergone...

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It would not have been a pleasant break at the end of 2017 for those working in the power industry. General Electric (GE) is retrenching 12,000 employees from their electrical power division; it equates to 18 percent of their workforce. The European branches of GE Power seem to be the hardest hit; Switzerland and Germany are losing the most employees.

The company initially made its fortune when Thomas Edison’s idea for the incandescent light bulb was realized. In November 2017 -...

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The people of London, England, are officially one year away from using a new underground railway. Crossrail is a new railway that links up to the renowned Elizabeth Line; since 2009 the teams involved have been working around the clock to make it happen.

Engineers behind the project are calling it the most “ambitious infrastructure project since the Industrial Revolution”. Upon completion, Crossrail will be 118 kilometers (73 miles) long. 10 stations are also being constructed. By December...

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By now you might have noticed that voice recognition hardware and software are growing exponentially. Companies including Google, Amazon, and Apple are developing technologies that allow humans to access the internet and control connected devices by using their voices.

The introduction of products such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home has piqued the interest of consumers. They can envision the benefits of these emerging virtual assistants and so can businesses.

Even Microsoft’s Windows...

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Tire development has always formed a large chunk of the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) research. After all NASA has to put robust tires on the rovers they use in space. In fact the exploration of an arid, somewhat unpredictable landscape is very much dependent on good tires.

Space exploration has advanced alongside the growing capabilities of technology. With new landscapes to be explored the tires needed to be more versatile and durable.

Despite...

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Instead of entrusting a handful of engineers to design and build, why not open it to a world of engineers, or those who are enthusiastic about all things engineering?

Thanks to low-cost cloud computing, it is all possible. Collaborative engineering design was seen as far back as 2008 in the automotive industry, the company involved was Local Motors.

Founded in 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona, Local Motors became an open-source motor vehicle design and manufacturing company.

Source: Local...

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It is almost that time of the year again, the moment that sees out the old and welcomes in the new, on New Year’s Eve. In the seconds that take 23:59 in 2017 to 00:00 in 2018, bursts of fiery light will appear in the night skies around the world as displays of fireworks are triggered.

 

Some of the world’s grandest fireworks happen on Australia’s Sydney Harbor, on the United Kingdom’s London Eye, on France’s Eiffel Tower in Paris, and  on Brazil’s Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, to name...

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The world’s most powerful man’s house was built by a woman. A new documentary is attempting to make sense of the unorthodox and unexpected trajectory of Donald Trump; a complicated story of a man who went from property mogul to President of the United States.

After inheriting the family business, Donald Trump began his rise to prominence in New York City.

New York was in an unprecedented economic slump in the 1970s - but that didn’t deter Donald Trump from asking for tax abatements or...

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Zimbabwe could be at the dawn of a political revolution. It could also be business as usual. Amid a confusing week of political spring cleaning in the country, students working towards attaining qualifications in the tertiary sector have spoken out, painting a truly dire picture.

A few days ago BBC News described Zimbabwe as ‘cash-strapped and impoverished’. Despite this the powers that be were poised to initiate a raft of projects in honour of the recently deposed President, Robert...

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Whilst optimized curriculum vitae look good, professional licensing also speaks volumes to employers. But is the professional engineering status necessary? Can you call yourself an engineer without the formal designation of Professional Engineer?

 

In the fourth industrial revolution, with automation replacing many repetitive roles, a more fluid and dynamic set of engineering skills may be necessary. The future is very likely to require engineers to amass as many skills as...

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Yahama is taking self-driving cars a step further: self-driving motorbikes. Meet MOTOBOT, a motorbike driving robot that has been engineered to surpass humans; to beat them at their own sport.

 

After months of trial and error, the engineers at Yamaha were ready to pit their self-driving robot against a human - a professional biker named Valentino Rossi. But the road to getting a robot driving a motorbike had to start with one crucial function: balancing.

Image: Honda’s...

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The methods used by the architects and engineers in the ancient world often remain mysterious and enigmatic. How the Great Pyramids of Giza were built, for example, still manage to stump engineers and other experts from around the world.

 

Neither the tools nor the techniques used to construct these complex and giant edifices can be fully explained. It is this fact that makes them one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

 

The Lighthouse at Alexandria or Pharos of...

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The Great Pyramids of Giza are a complex of ancient monuments dating back to 2,000 BCE. They have taken their rightful place as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; monuments that reflect astonishing ancient engineering skill and precise architecture. The pyramids are also the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world to remain standing.

They have been extensively researched, prodded and explored; despite this the manner in which they were constructed is largely unknown...

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President Xi Jinping of China has earned official recognition as the Communist Party’s leader. An honor bestowed last to Mao Zedong and his successor Hua Guofeng. This means that the leader has garnered the utmost respect of all members within the party.

 

Xi Jinping can therefore put his recently unveiled Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) into action. The initiative is a $US1 trillion plan to revolutionize manufacturing and construction in the country. The government hopes to create...

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3D printing – the possibilities really are endless of where this technology can take us in the future.

An example of this is with Peter Armstrong, a mechanical engineering student from Colorado who was inspired by a family friend who underwent a double amputation to the lower limbs. Through years of research and various prototypes, Peter has been able to apply his knowledge and skills to produce low-cost prosthetics using 3D printing technology.

He foresees these prosthetics, costing an...

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Attrition rates are a bone of contention within tertiary education institutions. There is an inevitable desire to deny that the number of students dropping out of courses is too high, let alone rising.

Students, wherever they obtain the money, invest it into gaining qualifications; the key they believe, to establishing or furthering their careers. This is a high stakes investment with the idea of dropping out unthinkable for many.

Students failing to complete qualifications, however, is a...

EIT Stock ImageImagine a world where energy is available to all, distributed through a robust system of transmission lines, with a meter system so accurate that it charges consumers for the power  they need, but also allows them to sell excess energy to other consumers.

It is becoming more technically complex for energy companies to supply energy to their growing base of customers. To confirm the purchase of power a number of broker companies are involved to verify that the purchases have been made.
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Dick Morley

Back in 2008, when we were expanding from a company providing courses for professional development into a fully-fledged college of engineering, Dick was not only an enormous support, but his involvement contributed to the success we enjoyed.  He was hearty in his encouragement of our efforts and he shared his expertise generously. Dick’s enthusiasm certainly carried us through those tenuous early years, when doubts can often undermine one’s confidence and dampen persistence.

We, at the...

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Scotland’s world-first offshore ‘floating’ turbine farm has begun producing energy. 20,000 homes on the mainland will be receiving power from this renewable energy source.

 

The operation has been constructed in Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In a world first the wind turbines have been placed further out to sea than ever before; they are located 25km (15.5 miles) offshore. Why the greater distance you may ask? In an ocean, the deeper the water the more energy there is to be...

Internships

Internships provide the opportunity for a prospective professional to gain the work experience needed in the industry they are aiming to work in. Internships enable students or workers to gain the work experience that is being sought after by employers. Adding ‘work experience’ to the curriculum vitae is an invaluable addition that sets a candidate apart from others who don’t have any, especially in engineering industries.  

Internships are particularly famous for being used to...

Hurricane Harvey


Friday night (the 25th of August) a tropical storm hit Texas in the United States of America. 60cm of rain fell overnight (23 inches) with a total of 50 inches expected before the week was out. Whether or not Texas’ drainage system is able to deal with the volume of water that climate change is bringing will be a pertinent question once relief efforts have been fulfilled. Questions surrounding Houston’s water infrastructure are already being asked.

A New York Times opinionista has pointed...