Engineering Materials Blogs

Read the views and opinions from the materials community. Share your thoughts and write us a blog. Just email and let us know your thoughts, dilemmas, questions and opinions.

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Stay off the bandwagon

As many are embarking on summer holidays and we pause for breath before the run down to Christmas, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on the year so far. The last few years have seen a wave of change in the engineering community and the year so far seems no different, in that rarely are things staying the same.  Read More


Management must back engineers

'Continuous improvement' is one of many buzz phrases being bandied about at the moment. However the reality is actual change in a product, material or design is usually quite conservative to ensure the affects of change are positive... or indeed minimise them if they're negative.   Read More


Onwards and upwards...

It was a year ago that we were getting ready to launch the very first issue of Engineering Materials to the market. Though slightly nervous, we were sure that the concept for the magazine was a great one.  Read More


The Proud Factor

A recent press visit to British Airways Engineering near Heathrow airport highlighted two things. First and foremost, we are in good hands. Despite the surprising battering the aircraft receive they are – of course - immensely safe and extremely well looked after.  Read More


Can you have too much innovation?

A recent study by the Cass Business School, part of City University London, concluded that excessive innovation can actually be detrimental. It used the Formula One motor racing series as a basis for comparison. F1 is unique in many of the ways it operates and while it is probably not the best case study for a generalisation, it is an interesting and thought provoking conclusion nonetheless.  Read More


Brollies up! Kickstarter’s raining on the product development parade

Whilst the concept of crowdfunding is still new to a lot of people, and many product developers are only just coming round to the exciting possibility that ideas can be taken straight to the masses, Kickstarter, the world's biggest crowdfunding platform, has already rained on the parade and dampened the hopes of hardware startups.  Read More


The volume curve

If you are looking for production plastic parts, then injection moulding is a very cost effective solution for quantities down to and even below 100.   Read More


The circular economy

Never mind China, why are you hoarding scarce raw materials? Why am I? I'm not talking about the lean industrial machines that you all, hopefully, operate within; I'm talking about the consumer which is, of course, all of us.  Read More


The importance of selling

I've just spent the last two hours trawling YouTube to find a video for this month's newsletter. I searched a lot, and indeed watched some very cool materials and technologies being tried and tested, discussed and debated. The problem was they were nearly all American.  Read More


Injection moulding vs Vacuum casting

Injection moulding is often dismissed as being too expensive, requiring long lead times and being unflexible, but that's not always the case. We take a look at some of the advantages the technology offers with a real case that proves that is not always the case.  Read More


Questions for my readers...

Join my community, join my network, endorse me, follow me, like me, tweet me, comment on my picture! While it can all sound a little bit self-indulgent and attention seeking, social media seems to be the future. It is a forum for those that are extremely proactive and have interesting things to share, and those with far too much time on their hands.  Read More


Can it be done better?

Engineering and manufacturing in the UK has been on a proactive mission since the recession started. It has had more limelight and opportunity than it's had for decades to voice publically just what it does, and what it can do. Industry has shown great confidence and a spirit that many thought had been all but lost. And driving this has been the engineers that continue to add value and innovate.  Read More


Design for direct metal laser sintering: anything goes?

Additive Manufacturing (AM), 3D printing, rapid prototyping; call it what you like but AM processes offer tremendous opportunities to designers, engineers and artists.  Read More


The future is in your hands

The future is in your hands. This is perhaps more true of engineers than any other profession. Your choices dictate how something is made, how it should be used and ultimately how it should be disposed of. Affecting all of this, however – indeed, perhaps the most vital consideration – is material selection.  Read More


Welcoming a new arrival

When you received this month's issue, you will have noticed an additional publication. That is because this month, Eureka and Eureka Specifier are joined by our newest stablemate, Engineering Materials.  Read More


Andy Green’s Bloodhound Project diary

The thing about setting a land speed record is that speeding up is only half of the problem. Once you've gone flashing through the timing lights of the measured mile at over 1000mph you are faced with stopping a heavy, very high speed vehicle in a limited distance (about 5½ miles on our chosen track on Hakskeen Pan in South Africa). 5½ miles sounds like a long way, but if you're doing a mile every 3½ seconds, it doesn't seem that far at all!  Read More


IP or not IP? That is the question

At the UK Manufacturing Summit in March, one of the breakout sessions explored the vexed question of intellectual property – a subject close to the heart of any innovator or designer.  Read More


Putting a value on engineers’ success

Since its announcement in November last year, the Queen Elizabeth Award for Engineering has generated considerable comment. Launched by the Government and the Royal Academy of Engineering, it has attracted cross-party support and is funded by 11 British and Indian companies including BP and Tata Steel. Most significantly, perhaps, it will award the winner the pleasingly round number of £1m.  Read More


What do you know about UK manufacturing?

The UK's manufacturing sector is anything but past it; it generates some £130billion a year and employs 2.5million people. More than 50% of the UK's exports are of products made here; 70% of the cars made here are exported and the UK holds 17% of the global aerospace market.  Read More


Andy Green’s Bloodhound Project diary

What's the fastest and scariest thing you've ever done? For me, they are two different events. The fastest is, of course, driving Thrust SSC to the current World Land Speed Record of 763 mph, way back in 1997. The scariest thing, however, is an annual event that feels almost as fast – racing on the Cresta Run.   Read More


Peace and goodwill between manufacturing professionals

Gus Desbarats, the Chairman of the British Design Initiative (BDI), recently called for greater understanding and respect between designers and engineers.  Read More


Andy Green’s Bloodhound Project diary

An ambitious start to the New Year. I spent last summer running air operations over Libya, so missed out on our long-planned summer sailing holiday. As a result, our holiday crew decided to rent a boat and head out over the New Year instead – which was great fun (even in the rain) until the last day, when the storms arrived..... I've never experienced a 60 mph gust while at sea before – the force was truly humbling.  Read More


$10million prize offered to design a Star Trek tricorder

An article written in 1900 has recently been discovered. In it, a number of predictions were made of what technologies might be available and in use in 2000 (  Read More


Seeing past the gloom

It has become something of a media tradition that the New Year is a time for journalists, pundits and 'experts' make predictions about the year to come.  Read More


Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project diary

Late again! Very late again! Apologies! I last updated in August and Nick Chapman has just sent me a third email prod. Tonight (December 5th) is a very good night – first of all I am up to date with work (it doesn't happen very often) and second, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy appear to be settling their differences and pulling together to provide real leadership in Euroland.  Read More

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