10th Anniversary of the BEEAs: A decade of excellence – 2011

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

The British Engineering Excellence Awards were launched in 2009 to champion and celebrate design innovation and excellence. Since then, the BEEAs have evolved as the number of companies entering to win the foremost engineering accolade for design has grown.

The BEEAs has been highlighting the breadth and depth of the UK’s design engineering community and how it is competing on a global stage for the last 10 years. Winners of the Grand Prix, the best-of-the-best of each year, have ranged from individual engineers doing outstanding work both in their industries and communities, to small companies with staff numbers in the single-digits, to larger OEMs.

Each year, hundreds of entries are debated and analysed by a judging panel of industry experts, which includes the winners of the previous year’s Grand Prix and Design Engineer of the Year Awards.

National Instruments has been a sponsor of the event since 2009. Richard Roberts, senior customer marketing manager, National Instruments says: “The BEEAs always recognises a broad-range of innovative UK engineering firms, which align with the strong engineering and innovative heritage of the National Instruments brand. It also offers the opportunity to network with many eminent engineers and business leaders. National Instruments has sponsored the Young Design Engineer award to help celebrate British engineering accomplishments and support the industry’s most precious, valuable resource – the engineers of the future.”

In retrospect

This is the third in a series of features looking back at the past winners of these awards and seeing how winning has affected them and their business.

The third British Engineering Excellence Awards ceremony took place at a gala luncheon on 13 October 2011 at London’s Globe Theatre. The winners were:

2011 winners

Grand Prix
Sponsored by: Findlay Media
Winner: ICS Electronics

Judges’ Special Award
Sponsored by: Totally Engineering
Winner: Peratech

Consultancy Of The Year
Sponsored by: Prototype Projects
Winner: Vocis Driveline Controls

Small Company Of The Year
Sponsored by: D Young & Co LLP
Winner: ICS Electronics

Start Up Of The Year
Sponsored by: Neul
Winner: Cambridge Consultants
Highly Commended:
Cambridge CMOS Sensors

Design Team Of The Year
Sponsored by: Element 14
Winner: IHC Engineering Business
Highly Commended:
Pelamis Wave Power’s P2 Wave Energy Converter Design Team

Green Product Of The Year
Sponsored by: National Instruments
Winner: E2V Prowave
Highly Commended:
Ashwoods Automotive

Mechatronic Product Of The Year
Sponsored by: Eureka and
New Electronics
Winner: RF Golf

New Electronic Product Of The Year
Sponsored by: Digi-Key
Winner: Oxford Digital

New Mechanical Product Of The Year
Sponsored by: Igus (Uk)
Winner: Fireco

Young Design Engineer Of The Year
Sponsored by: RS Components
Winner: Darren Jones, Fireco
Highly Commended: Adam James

Design Engineer Of The Year
Sponsored by: Mouser Electronics
Winner: Shaun Addy, Cubewano

Where are they now?

Consultancy of the Year is always a hard-fought category as the range of services provided and markets served varies significantly. In 2011, Vocis Driveline Controls won for its support of the automotive market, from global car manufacturers like Aston Martin, Lamborghini and McLaren to specialist suppliers in the UK, like Zytek, with which it worked on lighter, smaller and more efficient powertrains for its Motiv.e electric vehicle.

Vocis provides its customers with services from design and development through to integration, control and calibration of automotive transmission systems, as well as what it claims is the most advanced and most comprehensive range of transmissions for electric vehicles.

Innovation is central to the company’s offering. Its technology enables customers to improve the competitiveness of their products by refining performance, boosting controllability and reducing fuel consumption.

Shaun Addy (Pictured holding his award) won Design Engineer of the Year for his work on rotary engine design at Cubewano, as well as three decades of building, testing and designing high performance internal combustion engines at companies such as Lotus and BMW.

His rotary engine design ran on kerosene – the only engine in the world at the time with that ability and previously thought to be impossible. It was designed to be used in defence and aerospace applications. Cubewano won a $9million order in 2010 from the US government for the engine to be used in unmanned aerial vehicles as part of a wider future combat systems programme. However, the Obama administration terminated the programme, which effectively did for Cubewano as it had increased in size from 5 to 35 people just for that contract.

In 2017, Addy joined AIE (Advanced Innovative Engineering) where he continues to refine the designs of his rotary engines. Now though they’re being used in greener applications such as range-extenders for electric vehicles, heavy lift drones and auxiliary power units in hybrid aircraft.

On winning the award, Addy says Cubewano’s business picked up: “Big companies are always interested in who you are and what you’ve achieved. It definitely triggered some interest and we had various people wanting to make use of our engineering who wouldn’t have contacted us had it not been for the coverage we received.”

Addy states that companies with interesting projects should shout about them: “Promoting our own technologies and people is something I don’t think we do enough. We are, typically, innovators and sadly it’s typically foreign money that ends up being put behind the idea and it drifts off to other places. It’s a shame, but it doesn’t stop us from trying.”

As winner of Design Engineer of the Year, Addy was invited back to judge the 2012 entries, something he says was one of the hardest things he’s done: “I found it really challenging to plough through lots and lots of documentation in areas that weren’t necessarily familiar to me. It made me further appreciate the award that I got because of the level of digging that you have to do and understanding at various levels. It gave me a very serious appreciation of what I’d received.”

We will be covering the 2012 Awards in the March issue. Entries for the ‘10th anniversary’ awards will open in the Spring, so why not visit www.beeas.co.uk to pick up some top tips on entering your submissions.

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