• Question: What would you consider to be your greatest success in using your skills to solve an engineering problem?

    Asked by Anish Petit to Andrew, Dona, Liena, Sandra, Stevie on 9 Nov 2015. This question was also asked by 862ened32.
    • Photo: Andrew Allan

      Andrew Allan answered on 9 Nov 2015:

      I really enjoyed my final year project at university. It’s a really great example of good engineering.

      The project was to investigate inflatable space structures. When launching things into space, you need to minimise the weight to minimise the launch cost – so an inflatable structure could be cheaper to send into space (there are other challenges – but they aren’t the point of the question).

      So to test the design, we launched the project on a high altitude balloon with support from the European Space Agency BEXUS programme. I was in charge of the mechanical design of two parts – the structure to hold the experiment, and the experiment – it came out of a box at maximum altitude of around 20km.

      It was a very challenging project because we had to minimise the weight – we couldn’t apply big safety margins in the design. We had to engineer the solution to be exactly as strong as it needed to be based on the flight forces.

      And it worked perfectly 🙂

    • Photo: Sandra Fayemiwo

      Sandra Fayemiwo answered on 10 Nov 2015:

      I would say my greatest success is working with a brilliant team of engineers with different skills and arriving at a solution that works.

      At my job involves a lot of feasibility studies where assessments are carried out to determine objectively the strength and weakness of any project, to outline different requirements and still should be cost effective, so I get exhibit my problem solving and analytical skills to the team.

      On a project design, I had to ascertain different connection points for future capacity at an existing switchyard with no physical space to install this infrastructure that is where the challenge is. So with help of my team mates we came up technically compliant solution “mobile substation modular technology” with interfaces with the existing protection system and sends trip signal in the event of fault to discriminate the fault. The equipment works just like a LEGO kit placed on the end of a trailer and it is safely cabled into electricity network, it saves a construction time and outage period on site.

      The client was extremely happy with the innovation.

    • Photo: Steven Wray

      Steven Wray answered on 10 Nov 2015:

      My greatest success in using my engineering skills was probably a project where I had to come up with a way to connect up all of the control signals for a new circuit breaker. Circuit breakers protects electrical circuits from problems by turning off the power if a problem is detected. This one was rated to 36,000 Volts and fits in a wardrobe sized cubicle.

      The problem was, no one knew which signals they wanted connecting up! So that was the first part, asking everyone what they wanted and making sure it was possible. Then there was going through each signal and developing a way to make sure it would work. Finally, I installed the control wiring with the help of an experienced technician and it worked!

    • Photo: Dona Galhena

      Dona Galhena answered on 10 Nov 2015:

      I involved in a project where we tried to combine two cutting-edge technologies – supercapacitors and resonant charging. Resonant charging is also known as wireless charging. For eg. you may have seen phones which could be charged by placing it on a Powermat. In resonant charging you do not have to place the phone right on the Powermat, it could be charged even at a higher distance. It was very challenging.