10th Anniversary of the BEEAs: A decade of excellence – 2012

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

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.

Cambridge Consultants has been a headline sponsor of the event since 2009. Its CEO, Eric Wilkinson says: “Cambridge Consultants has supported the BEEAs right from their inception, because we believed that the quality of depth of engineering talent here in Britain needed to be highlighted and celebrated. The BEEAs do more than give engineers a lift for a day – they inform and inspire fellow engineers, entrepreneurs, investors and, perhaps most importantly, graduates and students to be proud of what they are part of and to give free rein to their ambition.”

In retrospect

This is the fourth 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 fourth British Engineering Excellence Awards ceremony took place at a gala luncheon on 25 October 2012 at 8 Northumberland Avenue in Central London. The winners are listed in the table above.

Where are they now?

The quality of entries for the Young Design Engineer of the Year was so strong in 2012 that the judges were unable to separate the first ever joint winners, Michael Aldridge and Simon Pykett.

Aldridge, who was working with 4c Design, was involved with a range of projects, including: developing a ‘fresh outlook’ on life raft design; the complete design of an electric bike – which involved a patent application; and a machine which can bottle vaccine solutions under sterile conditions. In 2015 Alrdridge set up his own design engineering consultancy in Glasgow called MADE Products working with companies ranging from start-ups to large multi-nationals.

Pykett won for his role in transforming Penny Hydraulics’ nuclear business by winning a £160,000 contract within six months. 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 contract, rather than by seeking contracts after the capability had been developed. His work also resulted in Penny Hydraulics becoming a quality assured supplier to Sellafield a year earlier than anticipated. He has since secured business at other nuclear sites, including a £240,000 contract with Magnox. In 2014 he become general manager of Penny Nuclear overseeing all activities relating to the nuclear industry.

Consultancy of the Year is always a hard-fought category as the range of services provided and markets served varies significantly. In 2012, Team Consulting won for its work on metra – a system that 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, OrganOx, 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 able to fit in a variety of vehicles.

The metra system is now CE marked and in clinical trials in hospitals across Europe, the US and Asia. Team has continued supporting projects ranging from innovative medical devices to corporate rebranding. But, due to Team’s location near Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge they have had continuing feedback on the metra project.

Chris Hurlstone, director of engineering at Team Consulting (pictured above, left), says: “Addenbrooke’s Hospital has transplanted around 25 livers this year that were perfused on the equipment, all successfully. There are people alive today because of this bit of equipment.”

Projects for the medical industry can be difficult to put forward for awards. Brennan Miles, senior consultant at Team Consulting explains: “Our clients are often highly confidential, so, it’s not often we get a chance to talk about the case studies. This one coincided nicely with the awards at the time. But also, there is a bit of reluctance sometimes for us to say how great we are.”

Hurlstone adds: “Maybe there’s a tendency to think that as long as we concentrate on excellence and the integrity of doing a good job then people will find out about it. it’s a competitive market, there are lots of companies like ours, we have to be talking about it and we’re definitely doing a lot more of that now.”

We will be covering the 2013 Awards in the May issue. Entries for the ‘10th anniversary’ awards will open soon, so why not visit www.beeas.co.uk to pick up some top tips on entering your submissions.

2012 winners

Grand prix
Sponsored by: Findlay Media
Winner: Parker Hannifin’s Racor Super Impactor CCV

Consultancy of the year
Sponsored by: Eureka
Winner: Team Consulting

Small company of the year
Sponsored by: D Young & Co LLP
Winner: Outram Research

Start up of the year
Sponsored by: Cambridge Consultants
Winner: Amantys

Design team of the year
Sponsored by: Anglia
Winner: Gioptiq, Saker Project Team
Highly commended: bytesnap design

Green product of the year
Sponsored by: national instruments
Winner: Parker Hannifin’s Racor Super Impactor CCV

Materials innovation of the year
Sponsored by: engineering materials
Winner: Tata Steel Europe HPRail

Electronic product of the year
Sponsored by: Digi-Key
Winner: Nujira nct-l1100

Mechanical product of the year
Sponsored by: igus (uk)
Winner: Johnston Sweepers C201

Young design engineer of the year
Sponsored by: RS Components
Winner: Michael Aldridge, 4CDesign and Simon Pykett, Penny Hydraulics

Design engineer of the year
Sponsored by: Mouser Electronics
Winner: James White, Caterpillar (UK)

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