The last quarter has continued to be extremely busy with some interesting projects underway. We’ve continued to grow our team bringing on new engineers in Tauranga, Auckland and Christchurch recently. Next week we’re attending and presenting at Foodtech Packtech and we’d love to see you there.
We have Caliber engineers working with clients throughout the country on cutting edge projects. Our engineers work on a project-by-project basis, which means our clients can access the specific skills they need, when they need them. Working with Caliber gives them peace of mind. It removes the need for recruitment, training, and administration overheads. Our clients know our engineers are qualified, experienced, great communicators, highly engaged, and always ready to inject fresh ideas and design thinking into projects.
We hope you enjoy this newsletter – a celebration of kiwi ingenuity.
Researchers at University of Auckland’s engineering school are building mechanical exo-skeletons that fit over a person’s arm or leg to help strengthen and retrain the limbs after a stroke or in children with cerebral palsy.
“One of the big problems with therapy is compliance … so the robots control a gaming system, which makes it more interactive and provides motivation.”
Tasked with making something to lift fodder beet, this Paeroa-based agricultural engineer has designed a successful product and his story on “Country Life” is worth a listen.
An iterative design process, helpful testers, a few prototypes, a viral “rugged bucket action” YouTube video later, over 200 BEETBOSS harvesting buckets have been sold out of a tiny rural town in South Canterbury.
Aeronavics in Raglan are developing a drone to help Anti-Poaching Units protect Rhino in South Africa.
The drone is a quad rotor model which can fly for about 45 minutes and tolerate high winds. It has a range of several kilometers from its radio and video controls. It carries a standard camera and thermal camera. It is hoped that better technology will help cover a wider area and enable more animals to be protected.
At Foodtech Packtech 2018, we’re excited to be showcasing the value that talented engineers can bring to the food technology and packaging technology industries.
The machine above is a potato chip packing line that we modified to fit an extra packing station. Space, finances, and deadline were tight. Our engineer worked with the client the develop the best solution. He designed two reversible belt conveyors, procured the parts, oversaw the manufacture, then worked with the fabricators to install and commission the equipment. Read the full Case Study here.
In another recent job, we designed two multi lane conveyors for a frozen confectionery manufacturing facility. The scope was complex and involved various bends and lane pitch changes. Design for safety, hygiene, assembly, reliability, and serviceability were paramount. The resultant design delivered a system that will be robust and serviceable throughout its lifetime while minimising costs. Read Case Study here.
This month, as part of our commitment to the analysis industry, we became a part of the Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA) who are “a non-profit research organisation dedicated to serving the needs of our metal-based industries in New Zealand”. HERA provide a fantastic range of technical resources, publications, and presentations—I’d recommend you take a look!
While we’re on the topic of useful resources, there’s a continually evolving landscape of useful pages and applications out there, some of which you may use on a daily basis and others which you may never have heard of. Here are four great mechanical engineering pages and apps we use all the time:
- NAFEMS | The International Association for the Engineering Modelling, Analysis and Simulation Community, NAFEMS provide a raft of great technical resources, training courses and best practice guidelines for simulation. A must see if you’re doing any analysis work.
- MATWEB | An enormous online materials database with over 125,000 datasheets
- WOLFRAM ALPHA | Calling itself an ‘answer engine’ this website is the Google of the engineering world. With natural language input, predefined equations, graphing and all sorts more, this is like a pocket calculator on steroids. Great for those back-of-the-envelope calculations!
- MATHCAD Express | While more of a conventional desktop program, we use this lightweight piece of software for all our engineering calculations. With predefined or custom units and a straightforward input and layout, this program beats traditional spreadsheet calcs by a mile.
Contact | Ashley Brittenden, Design Manager
In New Zealand more than 200 million disposable one-use cups and lids are used every year; the vast majority ending up in landfill. We’re doing our bit by supplying our team with reusable coffee cups to use. And, these aren’t just any old reusable cup. They are designed and made in New Zealand by the team at Ideal Cups. There are plenty of cheaper imports available, but we’re proud to support a New Zealand made product.
Shifting from product-focused design to customer-centric design
I recently went to an interesting talk about engineering design methodology, from a marketing perspective, delivered by an engineer turned marketing academic. She delivered some interesting insights into what she sees as the future of engineering design.
The example she used was one that will sound familiar—company had designed a product with significantly better performance than competitors’ products, while fulfilling the same function. But they were concerned about the long-term ramifications of a traditional marketing approach, where the product is sold on its performance. They didn’t want to end up ‘giving it away’ as a product and competing on price in a race to the bottom. In the past this outcome had seen them ultimately providing a maintenance offering—as with ink jet printers, the company makes their income on the operational costs of a product, not the initial sale.
This company was focused on technical development but wanted to figure out how to climb the value chain. The proposal was to instead sell the outcome (or the solution) rather than the product. This would increase the value for their customers by selling a performance offering instead of a maintenance offering. This would be a shift from purely product innovation to identifying new markets and new ways of competing.
Understandably this shift in marketing approach required a major shift in design approach. It required a shift from designing the most technically superior product to designing the solution that would enable customers to experience maximum value and benefit. This could still be accomplished using the traditional design tools of conceptualising, experimenting, prototyping, and testing … but working back the other way—from the customer to the product.
Customer relationships are a means to learn about their needs and wants (and thus how best to satisfy and sustain those), and a means to collaboratively create value. If you like the sound of this approach, Caliber can help you reach out to your customers with initiatives such as Voice of Customer Analysis.
Contact | Simon Hall, Design Manager
We have a new member on the team—a great little South Island 2K Cup Racer!
We couldn’t believe our luck finding a Toyota Levin in Caliber orange! It was obviously meant to be! With a (hopefully) bullet proof little 1600 4A-GE engine, it should be good for 170km/hr+ down the front straight (although a good driver would probably get it to 180!)
The 2K Cup series is all about having a go at motorsport. “Race the car. Not the bank” is their motto. There are quite a few of us with Toyota Levins out at the Sprint days, so there’s great racing between us. Feel free to join us!
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!