Diesel engine innovation takes Grand Prix at 2012 BEEAs
7 min read
Parker Hannifin's Racor Filter division has won the Grand Prix at the British Engineering Excellence Awards for a breakthrough in diesel engine design.
The company was selected from a number of outstanding British engineering achievements for a simple, elegant solution to a pollution issue that is green, recyclable and doesn't require consumables. The Racor Super Impactor crankcase ventilator, developed in collaboration with Leeds University, not only reduces engine emissions in line with Euro 6 requirements, but also boosts fuel efficiency. What's more, it improves on its green credentials because it doesn't include a filter, which would need replacing annually. "The Super Impactor has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of the 30million diesel engines manufactured each year around the world," commented Ed Tranter, executive director of Awards organiser Findlay Media. "The UK's engineering sector remains a world leader and entries to this year's Awards reinforce that view." The British Engineering Excellence Awards 2012, held today at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London, drew entries from all corners of the UK's engineering community – ranging from small design consultancies to multinational organisations. Now in their fourth year, the Awards aim to promote the quality of engineering design within the UK and celebrate the companies and individuals that have demonstrated the skills, invention and dedication to succeed and compete on an international stage. Chairman of the Judges, Eric Wilkinson, commented: "By shining a light on some of the outstanding engineering that takes place in the UK every day, we can continue to build the reputation of Britain as a centre of innovation that is second-to-none. "As a BEEAs judge, I see resourceful, ambitious, entrepreneurial and outstanding engineers and scientists building successful companies, whatever the prevailing business conditions. Whilst the economic soothsayers openly worry about the UK's role in the global market, BEEAs entrants have found that, by working hard and being the best at what they do, people will come to UK companies for their products and services. Congratulations to all those that were shortlisted and to the winners." BRITISH ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2012 WINNERS Grand Prix Parker Hannifin Racor The Judges found this entry 'deeply impressive'. One said: "It addresses a real need to remove oil mist. It's a simple, elegant solution; it's green, it's recyclable and it doesn't require consumables." Some 30million diesel engines are manufactured each year around the world for use in automotive, marine and industrial applications. Designers of these engines have focused on reducing exhaust emissions. Their success in reducing the amount of pollutants – including NOx, hydrocarbons and particulates – is such that 'blow by' now comprises 30% of all emissions. 'Blow by' is caused by combustion gases under high pressure being forced past the piston rings and into the crankcase. These gases have to be allowed to leave the engine in order to avoid pressure build up and seal failure. Letting them travel through the exhaust system would result in increased emissions, so crankcase ventilators are employed to clean the gases and return them to the engine's air intake system. While crankcase ventilation systems help engines meet the current Euro 5 requirements, future legislation – such as Euro 6 – means crankcase ventilation systems have to become even more efficient. The R&D team at Parker's Racor facility in Yorkshire saw that oil driven centrifuge systems were complex, costly and required significant integration into the engine block, so they looked to simplify the solution by using a compressed air driven system. Through a collaborative partnership with Leeds University, the team developed the Racor Super Impactor crankcase ventilator, which not only reduces engine emissions in line with Euro 6 requirements, but also boosts fuel efficiency. The device operates by taking a small amount of air from the engine's turbo and using that to increase the separation efficiency of an inertial impactor. Alongside solving the problem of blow by emissions, the Super Impactor improves its green credentials because it doesn't include a filter, which would need replacing annually. Nor does it feature any rotating parts or electrical components. Meanwhile, the device is made from nylon PA66, which is recyclable – it can be melted and reused at the end of life. Consultancy of the Year Team Consulting Sponsor: Eureka Magazine Team is a 25 year old company which focuses on the design and development of medical products, systems and devices. According to Team, two things have helped to grow its business: a focus on the medical sector; and the desire to save lives and make people better. The Judges were particularly impressed by Team's development of a system which helps to keep a human liver alive for 24 hours, avoiding the need for racing against time to get the organ to its recipient. During the project, Team worked with its customer to turn a room full of manually controlled equipment into a self governing unit that could be transported in an ambulance. Alongside monitoring the liver and keeping it at body temperature, the system needed to be battery powered, not too heavy and to fit a variety of vehicles. According to Team, the project required 'all of our expertise to create a product that will have a real impact'. Design Engineer of the Year James White Sponsor: Mouser Electronics During a recent two year project, White lead the development of three loader arm assemblies which has, for the first time, given Caterpillar's back hoe products a family of loader arms with a common design. The project also reduced the number of loader designs from five to three and increased manufacturability and assembly efficiency. he has been a mentor for an Engineering Education Scheme Project developing a tyre test rig. Over the six month project, he provided the team with guidance in planning, technical design, manufacture, report writing and presentation skills. He also supported the team during a three day residential workshop. Design Team of the Year Qioptiq's SAKER project team Sponsor: Anglia The Design Team faced a number of challenges. The SAKER weapon sight needed to be compact, lightweight and to have low power consumption. This required innovation in the package, the two objective lenses and the image combining optics. The original design featured a plastic beam splitter, but this was not available in time for an important industry launch. A redesign was necessary, but the team delivered two prototypes in time for the launch. Highly Commended ByteSnap Design was highly commended for developing new electronics and software for GE charging posts to meet LOCOG's requirements for the Summer 2012 Olympic Games and pworing the fleet transporting atheletes and officials between venues. New Product of the Year (Electronic) Nujira NCT-L1100 Sponsor: Digi-Key Nujira's NCT-L1100, the first device in its Coolteq.L range of envelope tracking power supply modulators, can reduce the amount of power wasted in a mobile phone by more than 50%. This not only extends battery life, but also reduces heat generation. The NCT-L1100 also solves another challenge posed by 4G phones. While the 4G standard enables higher bandwidth, this is achieved through reduced efficiency. Using this device, multiband, multimode power amplifiers (PA) can transmit 20MHz LTE signals using less energy than single band PAs in current 3G phones. Green Product of the Year Parker Hannifin Racor Sponsor: National Instruments The Racor Super Impactor crankcase ventilator (CCV) reduces diesel engine emissions to the level required by Euro 6/tier 4 legislation. The lightweight solution is made from environmentally safe recyclable materials and there are no rotating parts. In fact, the manufacturer claims the Super Impactor CCV is 'smaller, lighter and more economical, with higher efficiency, than its closest rival'. New Product of the Year (Mechanical) Johnston Sweepers C201 Sponsor: igus (UK) There are more than 30 design improvements on the C201, ranging from a new chassis and engine mounting to safety and comfort features. Designing a new chassis allowed four wheel steer to be added as a modular option. The four wheel steer system improves manoeuvrability, but retains the 80° steering lock of the two wheel steer variant. Additionally, the system can switch automatically between the two modes, selecting four wheel steer at low speeds. A European customer has found a fuel saving of 40% for its fleet of 40 sweepers, cutting the fuel bill by more than £1million a year. Further evaluation has allowed a 99dBA tag to be applied, making the C201 suitable for use in German municipalities. Shortly after the C201's launch, Johnston won a contract for 300 units from the City of Moscow, including 225 C201s. Materials Innovation of the Year Tata Steel Europe Sponsor: Engineering Materials Magazine HPrail is a steel developed specifically for railway applications to offer greater protection against rolling contact fatigue (RCF). With RCF, cracks can develop in rails, leading to catastrophic failure. This is believed to have caused the Hatfield rail disaster in 2000. So far, the steel has been tested at 14 UK rail sites, but Tata is also targeting Europe and India. Small Company of the Year Outram Research Sponsor: D Young and Company LLP Established in 1980, Outram Research developed the Ranger data logger and licensed the design to a number of organisations. However, in 2003, founder John Outram negotiated the return of the IP, a move which allowed the company to design, manufacture and sell its products. This successful move has funded the development of new products, including the Outram FLM; the only portable instrument capable of determining current flow in a faulty electrical distribution network. The company competes successfully against multinationals and says it succeeds because of its attention to detail, its innovative approach, its service and, above all, its technology. Start Up of the Year Amantys Sponsor: Cambridge Consultants Set up in 2010 by former executives from ARM and an academic from the University of Cambridge, Amantys is targeting high power conversion across such markets as: electricity transmission and distribution; motor drives; renewable energy; and hybrid and electric vehicles. Amongst these markets, power requirements can reach the MegaWatt level, with voltages as high as 6.5kV. Through a combination of embedded intelligence and analogue control techniques, Amantys is addressing a market which it says is worth $4.6billion and which is set to grow by 12% a year. Its approach is to allow designers to optimise the efficiency of power converters and to improve system reliability. To enable this, it has developed advanced driver technology and communication techniques to export data. The company has already raised more than £7million in funding and has 14 staff, along with its own high energy test and qualification facility. Young Design Engineer of the Year JOINT WINNERS: Michael Aldridge and Simon Pykett Sponsor: RS Components Having graduated from Strathclyde University in 2008 with a Master's Degree in Product Design Engineering, Michael Aldridge won an internship with 4c Design in 2010, proving the strongest of more than 80 applicants. By the end of the three month placement, 4c said he had made himself 'invaluable'. Aldridge has since been involved with a range of projects, including: developing a 'fresh outlook' on liferaft design; the complete design of an electric bike – which involves a patent application; and a machine which can bottle vaccine solutions under sterile conditions. He has recently become involved with his local branch of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, promoting the activities via his blog. With a First Class Degree in Innovation and Engineering Design with German, Simon Pykett started working at Penny Hydraulics under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme Originally tasked with developing a way to lift and handle spent nuclear fuel, Pykett took ownership of the project, developing an internal capability by winning and delivering a £160,000 contract. He has since secured business at other nuclear sites, including a £240,000 contract with Magnox Recently seconded to Magnox to provide advice on lifting and handling nuclear materials, his work has helped the company to save more than £600,000. Pykett now manages a team of designers, along with quality control and shopfloor personnel, and chairs all client meetings dealing with design audits, functionality and load testing.