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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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


Does engineering need more sex appeal?

A recent report published by the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that graduates with a first degree in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects earn, on average, 4.47% more than those with first degrees in other subjects.  Read More


Virtual design capability is not without its costs

The increasing capability of computer aided design has no doubt brought many benefits to the overall production of products and components.  Read More


Mixed messages for manufacturing

Anyone who has followed the news lately could easily be forgiven for a degree of scepticism as regards this Government's commitment to manufacturing industry. It is, after all, difficult to take seriously assertions about 'rebalancing the economy' in the light of large-scale job losses at BAE Systems – one of this country's flagship manufacturing companies.   Read More


Are we avoiding the graduate issue?

At World Skills this week, much of the conversation revolved around the need to inspire the younger generation, make them believe that they can and will succeed, and give them ambition. There was also a great deal of talk about 'practical learning', and the connection between these two themes.  Read More


Is it time to slow down the design process?

I've been struck recently by programmes like Radio 4's 'In Business' questioning the benefits of rapid growth and the mess that often results from it. David Cameron's 'happiness index' was also aimed at looking at the wider issues in life, and not just the rapid acquisition of cash.  Read More


The case for PLM

Modern manufacturing has succeeded in delivering levels of quality, safety and sheer variety that would have been inconceivable to the enterprise owner of even 20 years ago.  Read More


Will electric cars ever be the future?

As I walked up to the entrance of the Low Carbon Vehicle Show yesterday, I was passed by an electric Smart car. It made me smile. It was cute. And novel. 'While they may have a place in niche applications, they are often just as much as about branding and image as they are about reducing carbon emissions.'  Read More


Drawings or data?

We've all given up on the idea of the 'paperless office', and grudgingly accepted that new technology often creates more, not less waste, but is this as true for engineering data as it is for office paperwork?  Read More


Latest manufacturing figures 'deeply worrying' warns IMechE

August's CIPS/Markit report on manufacturing has raised concerns that the slowdown in the global economic recovery is starting to hit the UK manufacturing sector hard.  Read More


Is this the end of the factory?

The Economist carried a leader earlier this year entitled 'Print me a Stradivarius – how a new manufacturing technology will change the world'. The violin in question is indeed impressive – and made using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) by German company EOS – one of the leaders in the field of 'Additive Manufacture' (AM).  Read More


Cutting through the red tape

In the wake of some disappointing growth figures, it is hardly surprising that government should be seeking to stimulate the manufacturing sector in any way it can.  Read More


Overcoming the 'boffin' cliché

Lord Sugar's recent assertion that he had never come across an engineer able to turn their hand to business has been so thoroughly and deservedly debunked by so many different and illustrious bodies that it is superfluous for me to add my voice to the chorus of disapproval.  Read More


Time for IP reforms to be implemented

Intellectual Property (IP) is one of those areas which the legal system has, to an extent, contrived to ignore; some of the legislation which is applied can be traced back more than 300 years. The result is a bit of a mess, particularly if you're an IP developer.  Read More


Can an engineer turn his hand to business?

The latest eviction from The Apprentice was Glenn Ward, dismissed from the programme by Lord Sugar with the parting words: "I've never come across an engineer who can turn his hands to business. You're fired."  Read More


Helping you to do things better

This month's cover story concerning the soon-to-be-opened National Composites Centre is to some extent designed to pique the curiosity of those who may have considered using composite materials in their designs, but have been hampered by a lack of information or advice to help them do so.   Read More


BEEAs entries now accepted

Entries are now being accepted for the 2011 British Engineering Excellence Awards; the celebration of all that is good about UK engineering.  Read More

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