10th anniversary of the BEEAs: A decade of excellence

The British Engineering Excellence Awards has charted the breadth and depth of talent in the UK’s design engineering community for the last 10 years. Over the last decade the BEEAs has gone from strength to strength, as has the quality of the entries.

The ten-year anniversary of the British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEAs) was held in the luxurious surroundings of The Landmark London on Friday 11 October where robotics start-up Automata was named the winner of the Grand Prix prize.

Automata is on a mission to democratise robotics. Founded in 2014 by architects Mostafa ElSayed and Suryansh Chandra, the company was born out of the need to find a cost-effective approach to industrial automation when the only options available were prohibitively expensive industrial robots, or basic robot arms sold on Amazon that are little more than toys.

The work of Automata could change all that. The company’s Eva robot is affordable and easy-to-use, while also being fit-for-purpose in an industrial context.

Having launched commercially in March 2019, the company has now surpassed 150+ orders, with many happy customers with successful deployments who are now making repeat multi-unit orders.

Start Up of the Year Award and Grand Prix winner - Automata

In honour of it being the tenth anniversary of the BEEAs, a Design Engineer of the Decade category was awarded. This saw every previous winner of Design Engineer of the Year pitted against one another to decide on ‘the best of the best’. The winner of this prestigious prize was Sebastien Cuvelier Mussalian, who won in 2013 for his work as lead engineer on the OrganOx perfusion system, which keeps donor human livers ‘alive’ before being transplanted.

Since then, Sebastien has gone on to build an international reputation for the design, development and industrialisation of innovative, robust medical devices. The judges were keen to recognise his contribution to the industry; his ability to handle complex, multidisciplinary projects; and the truly global impact of his work.

Luke Webster, publishing director of awards organiser MA Business, said: “A decade on from its beginnings, this year’s British Engineering Excellence Awards winners are evidence that British engineering is still producing superb companies, products, projects and people. Through every category, the judges were deeply impressed by the quality of engineering put forward and the talent behind it. I congratulate all those entrants that were shortlisted and of course the winners.”

British Engineering Excellence Award Winners 2019

Small Company of the Year: Innovative Physics

Sponsor: Analog Devices

Operating in the nuclear, medical, and homeland security industries, Innovative Physics evolves current technologies to provide novel solutions to radiological obstacles for the benefit of customers and society.

Highly Commended: Precision Acoustics

Start-Up of the Year: Automata

Sponsor: SolidWorks

With its mission to democratise robotics, Automata impressed the judges with its development and launch of the Eva robot, which combines ease-of-use and affordability with fitness for purpose in an industrial context.

Design Team of the Year: Earthsense & Bluefrog Design

Sponsor: LG Motion

Working alongside air quality expert EarthSense’s electronics engineers, Bluefrog Design developed the Zephyr; a compact and robust air quality sensor. Packaging innovative electrochemical sensors and optical particle counters within a highly cost-effective product that is engineered to perform accurately across global climates and designed to measure pollution, temperature and humidity in the urban environment.

Materials Application of the Year: AIXal Brake Rod – Alvant

Sponsor: Goodfellow (Cambridge)

A two-year, £28m project, titled ‘Large Landing Gear of the Future’ has seen Aluminium Matrix Composites (AMC) manufacturer, Alvant, team up with high-technology group, Safran Landing Systems that could reduce landing gear weight by as much as 30%, assisting with the aerospace industry’s drive to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

New Product of the Year (Electronic): Quanta Dialysis Technologies – SC+

Sponsor: New Electronics magazine

Developed by Quanta Dialysis Technologies, SC+ is a small, simple and powerful haemodialysis system designed to provide greater flexibility around where, when and how patients manage and receive their dialysis therapy.

New Product of the Year (Mechanical): Bowman Power – ETC 1000

Sponsor: MiniTec

In addition to the low cost of power creation it offers, the ETC 1000 genset from Bowman Power can achieve up to a 10% increase in total electrical power; a 23% reduction in greenhouse emissions; a 40% reduction in unburnt hydrocarbons; a 7% reduction in fuel consumption; and a 50% reduction in pre-heated engine load ramp time.

Highly Commended: Russell Finex – AMPro Sieve Station

Engineering Ambassador of the Year: Laura Giddings, RS Components

Sponsor: Eureka! Magazine

An inspiring ambassador for engineering, in her role as education events manager for RS Components, Laura Giddings has achieved tangible results in improving perceptions around engineering, inspiring young people to pursue it as a career and helping educators with valuable and dynamic resources to bring STEM subjects to life in the classroom.

Young Design Engineer of the Year:James Veale, GB Innomech

Sponsor: RS Components

In less than two years since joining automation consultancy GB Innomech as a project engineer, James Veale has helped the company to develop its first product line which has been subsequently spun out in a separate company called GiroNEX.

Design Engineer of the Decade:Sebastien Cuvelier Mussalian

Sponsor: SolidWorks

Entrants in this category were the previous winners of all the Design Engineer of the Year Awards.Sebastien Cuvelier Mussalian was the winner, having won in 2013 for his work as lead engineer on the OrganOx perfusion system, which keeps donor human livers ‘alive’ before being transplanted. Since then, Sebastien has gone on to build an international reputation for the design, development and industrialisation of innovative, robust medical devices.

Consultancy of the Year: Drive System Design

Sponsor: MA Business

The tale of Drive System Design’s success can be told via its statistics. Since 2014, it has doubled its UK based employee headcount to 96 full-time employees and significantly grown its US office from four to more than 30 employees. In addition, during 2019, the company identified significant opportunities in Asia, and is in the process of launching within this market, specifically in Korea where representation has already been established.

Highly Commended: ByteSnap Design

Grand Prix 2019: Automata

Sponsor: Distrupol

What the judges said: “[Automata is] a company determined to democratise the use of robotics among small businesses and, with over 150 orders, it’s well on course to achieving this ambition.”