Winners of the 2015 Engineering Impact Awards announced

National Instruments (NI) has unveiled the winners of the 2015 Engineering Impact Awards at a ceremony held at the Royal Academy of Engineering, London. The awards highlight Northern Europe’s most innovative engineering projects using NI technology to solve some of the most demanding engineering challenges.

The 2015 Application of the Year Award was presented to Martin Mathias and Alex Trimnell, from Muc-Off, who also won in the Physical Test & Measurement category, for their case study detailing their use of NI hardware and software for chain lubricant optimisation for professional cycling teams. Ultimately, this helped to contribute to Sir Bradley Wiggins’ success in setting the current UCI World Hour record.

Muc-Off used LabVIEW and CompactDAQ to create a comprehensive testing system to quantify the quality of their lubricants and prove to Team Sky that they had the expertise to create the world’s best bicycle chain lubricant.

With no previous experience of using LabVIEW and a tight time frame, the Muc-Off team worked with NI to develop a training plan, adaptable hardware configuration with CompactDAQ and a scalable software development approach. This enabled Muc-Off to create a test rig that gives immediate results to both the technical engineering team and the cyclists, to improve development time. This innovation in testing is leading the development of a new class of lubricant, incorporating military grade materials and nanotube technology.

Using this technology Muc-Off supplied a fully tested and optimised chain to Wiggins on the day of his one hour record attempt. In professional cycling, the smallest improvement can make a huge competitive difference and Muc-Off’s optimised chain contributed to Wiggins smashing the world record by more than 3%, travelling 33.88miles.

Mathias said: “We now work with NI frequently to help drive further marginal gains in professional cycling, while always aiming to bring the best of this technology to the everyday cyclist. NI has the breadth of experience across many industries to assist in specifying and utilising the hardware and software to achieve our upcoming goals.”

Loughborough University won in the Education category by using myRIO and LabVIEW to simplify the coding of students’ mechatronics designs, allowing them to focus on design rather than coding. TBG Solutions won in the Machine Control category for its Subsea Cable Survey and Inspection ROV Control System. National Grid UK won in the Internet of Things category for its work in developing a platform, based on CompactRIO to provide measurements of the energy being used by the grid to optimise investments to meet the public’s energy needs for the future.