With year-end fast approaching, we’d like to say thanks to all of our clients who’ve supported us this year. From our perspective, the NZ Engineering sector is in great shape. We’re seeing a thriving, diverse, high-value manufacturing sector. Manufacturers are also increasingly wrapping their products in a range of value-adding services to create a competitive edge in the market. The most important trend highlighted is the move beyond commodities into value-added goods, differentiated through innovation, quality, brand and service. NZ Engineers are delivering exciting solutions on the global stage and Caliber are proud to work alongside these businesses.
In this issue, we celebrate some exciting product designs that are coming out of our schools and tertiary institutions. These “post millennials” are quite remarkable—the future of engineering is in good hands!
Wayne Le Sueur | Managing Director
A group of students from Massey University have won the Dyson award for their environmentally friendly cargo trike. Designed for efficient package delivery while easing traffic congestion and improving safety, the trike was described by Sir Ray Avery as “an urban ute … this could become an transportation game changer from a global perspective”.
A Tauranga 13 year old has developed an avocado ripening device for her school science fair project. Motivated by her mother’s frustration over a lack of ripe avocados, despite growing their own, she researched the ripening process and modified a soda stream machine to spray ethylene into a bag containing the avocado. The result: a ripe avocado within a day.
Drowning is the highest cause of accidental death in Aotearoa. With that problem in mind, two Victoria university students have designed the Nah Yeah Buoy: a 3D-printed buoy that alerts swimmers to the exact location of rips by flashing a red light when a rip is detected, lets lifeguards activate the lights remotely if they see a hazard, and the buoys can talk to eachother.
Some big new projects have been keeping our Auckland engineers entertained: An automated production line for washing machine drums, hi-tech baggage handling equipment, AI vision retail recognition system, El Kobar business park, and major new infrastructure design at the Zoo.
Great to see a lot of familiar faces at the SolidWorks 2020 launches recently and an informative presentation on Additive Manufacturing by Olaf Diegel (the guitar man).
Business Development Manager | C 021 774 286
Waikato’s tech sector is the fastest growing in the country, and we are seeing this firsthand out of our office window at the Waikato Innovation Park. With the existing buildings fully occupied, work has started to expand the tech hub with an additional 2900sq m of space, designed as a focal point to the precinct.
On a windy day in October, a new spray drier was installed into the processing plant under construction in the far corner of the park. The new drier is being built to facilitate projected growth in the sheep milk industry which is growing at a significant rate. It is a very exciting time to be part of a vibrant and innovative community here in Hamilton.
A recent team event in Christchurch showcased the trials and tribulations of team work—we each painted a canvas which, when put together, combined to create a picture of the tram on Christchurch’s New Regent Street. Thanks to the team at Paint’n’Sip for facilitating such a fun team building experience.
We’re looking to grow our team in Christchurch, so if you know of any experienced design engineers who want to work for a great company, send them our way!
SI Regional Manager | C 021 206 3413
University of Auckland Final Projects Day
I recently had an opportunity to see the latest local developments in mechanical and mechatronic engineering, and talk to the students who will deliver these developments to industry, at the University of Auckland Final Year Projects day. I represented Caliber Design as one of around 30 industry judges selected from a broad spectrum of the mechanical engineering design and manufacturing sector, industry bodies and learned societies.
Caliber presented a prize for the project which best covered the complete product design process; from concepts and theory to prototypes and testing, into a developed, feasible product. This was awarded to “Augmented reality for sports rehabilitation” in which the students mapped physiotherapy exercises, created a CGI figure performing the exercises, and overlaid it in an augmented reality phone app. This used the phone camera to show the figure in front of the patient (in the scene being captured by the phone camera) who can then walk around the figure to see the correct form for the exercise from all angles. This development could also be used to demonstrate maintenance and repair for plant equipment, or as a virtual user guide. Quite a different approach to technical documentation!
There were many other notable projects, which included:
- Completion of an infra-red heating rotational moulding machine: where energy consumption and heat-up time are dramatically improved with infra-red heating compared to a gas or electric heated oven.
- Recycling of multi layer plastic films through reprocessing: taking multilayer bags (having polymer and aluminium layers), experimenting with pulverising and adding new polymer to produce a potentially useful recycled polymer product. This could be used for applications such as bins and cable spools; it’s still a little way off replacing engineering polymers.
- Recycling of multilayer bags into fibre reinforced composites: using the same bags but laminating them with glass fibre to produce composite panels from (mostly) recycled material. In this way the bag layers don’t need to be separated. This makes the process more viable as separating layers is a difficult, costly process.
- Reconfigurable grasping mechanisms for aerial robotic vehicles: the students designed mechanisms for drones to pick up and transport odd-shaped objects. They built two of them; a contracting net and a rectangular contracting band. Potentially the future of courier delivery.
- Automated hull cleaning system: designing and prototyping an electric vehicle able to adhere to and traverse a steel hull. The students demonstrated a working model which had wheels with magnets and urethane pads. This quite significant achievement meant that the students didn’t get as far as steering or underwater testing. I’ll look out for that development next year.
Some of these projects were industry-sponsored, which often gives the students who completed them the important next step of an internship (which they need to complete their degree); and a first job, where they will continue their education and learn how to apply their knowledge and understanding in a commercial environment. The rest of the students will be out and about after their exams, actively seeking that essential next step. So to help keep engineering in New Zealand thriving, I encourage you to consider taking an intern for the summer period. We were all fresh out of school once!
ARTICLE BY | Simon Hall, Design Manager
How Much Does Simulation Cost?
The price of FEA and CFD tools (such as Abaqus, ANSYS, SolidWorks Simulation etc) has come down dramatically in recent years. Each price drop creates more and more situations where virtual prototyping is more cost effective than physical prototyping. It also means that as professional analysts, the better pricing we can offer our customers.
So what do this pricing actually look like? Below are a couple of projects we’ve done in the past to give you an idea.
SCENARIO 1: DEFLECTION TESTING OF A CHAIR BACK
Did you know there’s a local design standard for chairs? A customer approached us a while ago looking to analyse their plastic chair design prior to going to tooling. For about $2.2K plus GST, we ran and validated a range of analyses (using the loads in AS/NZS 4688.2-2000) and found that the chair back thickness would need to be increased. Without this simulation, the alternative could have been costly rework of a big mold tool!
SCENARIO 2: COOLING DESIGN
Another job we carried out last year involved modelling the heat generation of some mechanical pulverising equipment and finding ways of keeping the system cool. We were able to test a variety of different cooling fin configurations, air velocities and flow balancing arrangements to point us towards the best prototype to build. This modelling work was carried out for about $1.6K plus GST (less than the cost of a single physical prototype) and demonstrated the ability of simulation to shortcut the development process in a really lean manner.
Of course, every simulation is different and costs can vary significantly but I hope the above shows just how accessible simulation has become. If you’d like to chat about how simulation could be applied more effectively to your design process, please get in touch.
We wanted to share some of the awesome things members of our team have achieved recently:
- We have seven wonderful individuals taking part in Movember this year. The Caliber Design Mo Bros‘ are raising money to support men’s health. You can sponsor them and monitor their progress (mo growth and fundraising) here.
- Matt Evans was recently awarded his PhD in Mechatronics! Matt collaborated with a New Zealand firm to develop new technology in the field of energy harvesting, designing a novel device that may be embedded into flooring and used to self-power electronics. The technology leveraged piezoelectric ceramic plates to produce electrical power with minimal movement of the flooring panel. A compliant mechanism was incorporated to amplify the force applied to the piezoelectric plates. His research achieved highly efficient operation by optimising the device to best fit the input force and electrical circuitry, resulting in a strong commercial advantage for the client.
- Matt Holland is on leave for the next six months while he undertakes a project in Nepal with Engineers Without Borders.
- Eddy van Oosten has worked is way through the Solidworks accreditation program and is now a certified Solidworks Expert.
- Alison Barbosa, Samantha Milne, Sanjeev Chandriki, Chris Taylor, and Matt Evans have successfully completed the Inventor Autodesk Certified Professionals (ACP) course.
- Not to mention the painting prowess displayed by both teams at our recent painting events …
Shortage of resources? Looming deadline? Skill gap that needs to be filled?
We have talented engineers with experience and innovative ideas, ready to help. Just drop us a line!