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Design & manufacturing

Where technical knowledge and design skills come together to solve problems and bring a multitude of different types of products to life.

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  • Design & manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • Innovation Watch

The manual washing machine for low-income communities

UK-based social enterprise The Washing Machine Project has developed a manual washing machine designed to help people in displaced and off-grid communities do their laundry.

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A man sitting at a table, holding a prototype of a prosthetic hand based on the classic 'split hook' style
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Health & medical
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 95

Making prosthetics without compromise

Prosthetics for upper limb differences often involve a choice between something user-friendly and affordable, or aesthetically pleasing. University of Strathclyde-based startup Metacarpal is trying to bring all three elements together with a new body-powered prosthetic hand.

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  • Design & manufacturing
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Profiles

Q&A: Deborah Meaden

Ahead of this year’s National Engineering Day, green Dragon, Deborah Meaden emerged from the Dragon’s Den to share a few secrets of success with Ingenia.

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  • Aerospace
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Technology & robotics
  • Innovation Watch

How AI can help 3D print perfect plane parts

Finding and correcting 3D printing errors is especially tough in the aerospace sector: a part with even a 300-micron defect could be catastrophic.

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  • Design & manufacturing
  • How I got here
  • Issue 95

Q&A: Laura Tuck

After a stint designing products now sold worldwide for Dyson, design engineer Laura Tuck has been working to empower women worldwide at several startups.

A green tape measure lying on top of green-coloured denim
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Issue 95

Turning jeans green

The engineering behind the trusty wardrobe staple, and how new technologies are attempting to lessen their well-documented environmental burden.

  • Design & manufacturing
  • Chemical
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Materials
  • Innovation Watch

Kicking single-use plastics to the curb

This spider-silk inspired plastic alternative produces no plastic alternatives – unlike existing "compostable" plastics.

A BMW i4 crashing into a pole on its right hand side. The glass in the windows is shattering and the airbags have inflated.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • Transport
  • Issue 94

How crashing cars can help us make them safer

When your day job sometimes involves totalling a £100k car in the name of keeping passengers safe.

A syringe with the needle sticking into a purple sphere with long pins sticking out of it, which is a model of a covid virus particle
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Opinion
  • Issue 94

How lessons from COVID-19 could speed up UK tech development

Ian Quest and Dick Elsy CBE FREng reflect on how we can take the learnings from the Ventilator Challenge UK to wider technology development in the UK.

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  • Design & manufacturing
  • How I got here

Q&A: Nabilah Thagia

Nabilah Thagia is an engineering undergraduate at Dyson and was recently awarded Engineering Apprentice of the Year at the Engineering Talent Awards.

An array of toilet rolls on a pink surface.
  • Materials
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Issue 92

From tree to toilet: engineering loo roll

It takes complex technology to turn trees into toilet rolls. Dr Anna Ploszajski unravels the engineering behind and production of one of life’s essentials.

Two artists, one on a ladder and one crouching, who are working on a replica of a Raphael painting next to a table of art supplies.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Arts & culture
  • Technology & robotics
  • Issue 92

The technologies that recreate historic artworks

Did you know Churchill's wife once set a portrait of him on fire because he hated it so much? Factum Arte used modern technology to recreate it, so it lives to see another day – sorry Clementine.

The top of a wind turbine peaking through orange mists in the sky.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Issue 91

Breathing new life into wind turbine blades

For years, the world’s blade-makers have been looking to save composite decommissioned blades from landfill but significant progress has been made in the breakthrough development of RecyclableBlades, which has found a way to repurpose retired blades.

A closeup of a metalens from a scanning electron microscope with four rows of diagonally facing pillars shown. A small bar in the bottom left shows a scale of 1 micrometer.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Issue 91

Metamaterials, metalenses and beyond

Manufacturing techniques borrowed from the semiconductor industry are now being used to make ultrathin ‘metalenses’, which could slim down cameras still further, and even allow handheld devices to sense all kinds of things beyond the visible spectrum.

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An engineer standing in a manufacturing facility.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Aerospace
  • How I got here
  • Issue 90

Q&A: Kate Todd-Davis

Apprentice Kate Todd-Davis followed her passion for aerospace and automotive engineering to Rolls-Royce – and gained a degree in manufacturing technology from the University of Sheffield along the way.

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A woman with an afro standing in front of three specialist detangler combs.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 90

The afro hair comb inspired by printing

Swansea-based engineer Dr Youmna Mouhamad is using her R&D experience to invent a hair comb designed to make looking after textured hair easier and less painful.

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A photograph of individual bike parts.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 89

Machining titanium components

Titanium has a high tensile strength and is light in weight but notoriously difficult to work with. Ed Mason has developed a way to machine the metal and has built a reputation for producing high-end custom-made parts for titanium bicycles.

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  • Health & medical
  • Design & manufacturing
  • How does that work?
  • Issue 87

Lateral flow tests

During the pandemic, millions of people took lateral flow tests every week to detect COVID-19, enabling them to get a result in just 15 minutes.

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A portrait of Felicity Milton performing a rock on hand gesture.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • How I got here
  • Issue 86

Q&A: Felicity Milton

Felicity Milton is a mechanical engineer and Senior Manager, Strategy and Innovation at adidas, where she is responsible for digital strategy and business model innovation.

A headshot of Dr Luisa Freitas dos Santos FREng.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Profiles
  • Issue 86

Facing engineering’s ultimate challenge

Dr Luisa Freitas dos Santos FREng – with teams to manage in Singapore, the UK and the US – was one of the first people in the UK to experience how the pandemic would affect engineering operations

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A person with blow-dried blue and pink hair
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Sports & leisure
  • How does that work?
  • Issue 85

Electric hairdryers

Invented in the 1920s, the electric hairdryer is an everyday household object that has changed significantly over the past century – and is likely to continue developing as technology evolves.

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  • Design & manufacturing
  • Civil & structural
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 83

Another brick in the wall

With natural resources running low, Scottish engineers have created a brick that uses more than 90% recycled building materials.

  • Arts & culture
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Issue 82

From brass to recyclable plastic - the reinvention of musical instruments

The brightly coloured trombones made of recyclable ABS plastic, pBone, weighs less than a kilogram and costs a tenth of its metal cousin. It's driven a demand for a range of polymer-made instruments, including a trumpet.

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Mamta Singhal in front of a logo for the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
  • Food & agriculture
  • Design & manufacturing
  • How I got here
  • Issue 81

Q&A: Mamta Singhal

Mamta Singhal is a Commercialisation Manager for Coca-Cola European Partners, GB Supply Chain. Before this, she worked for two large toy manufacturers as a design engineer with Hasbro and as a project quality engineer for Mattel.

New cars lined up inside of the National Automotive Innovation Centre in Warwick.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • Issue 79

A centre fit for future transport

As focus in the automotive industry turns to vehicles that are greener, safer and smarter, a new centre at the University of Warwick – a collaboration between WMG, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors European Technical Centre – is addressing the challenges that are posed by their development.

Nick Rogers smiling, standing in front of a Land Rover.
  • Electricals & electronics
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Profiles
  • Issue 79

Driven to an electrifying future

From apprentice to Executive Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, Nick Rogers FREng takes a special interest in young engineers. His career has included managing the transition to electric vehicles while simultaneously developing new car models.

A lady sitting in a Trekinetic wheelchair at Death Valley National Park in California.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • Issue 79

Wheelchairs that access all areas

Surprised by how little change there had been in wheelchair development over the years, former toolmaker Mike Spindle challenged himself to design and build a high-tech, lightweight wheelchair that could be created bespoke for each user.

An aerial view of an engineer writing in an A5 notebook, with a laptop and paper highlighted on the desk in front of them.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Opinion
  • Issue 78

Is engineering productive?

Professor Will Stewart FREng argues that engineers also have a part to play in promoting engineering’s role in greater productivity, as the way in which productivity is measured in the UK does not account for advances in engineering and what these have added to GDP.

A person in a williams' racing suit and helmet in a supermarket, holding a basket of groceries.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Energy
  • Issue 77

Warm response to fluid dynamics

Technology that makes racing cars go faster is now saving energy in supermarkets and reducing the ‘frozen aisle’ effect often found near the chiller cabinets. An established engineering company and a startup business worked together to bring this new engineering to the market.

Eilian walking on a road lined with green hedges on a sunny day. He is using his adapted three-wheeled rollator.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Issue 76

Tailor-made inventions

Engineers can design and create equipment to help disabled people live more independently. UK charity Remap matches up volunteer engineers with disabled people who need bespoke solutions. Three engineers spoke about what attracted them to the charity and how their innovations had made a difference.

A flat build plate containing multiple metal dental products attached to the plate by many vertical pins.
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Issue 75

3D printing with a bite

Dentistry is a new frontier for the application of additive manufacturing or 3D printing. The technology is able to produce components with complex geometry, such as those evident in dental frameworks. Find out how it was introduced in the traditional, artisan-based industry of dental laboratories.

  • Design & manufacturing
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 75

A tough lock to break

A successful online Kickstarter campaign helped to launch an award-winning, lightweight cycle lock that is now sold in over 70 countries and is the only bike lock on the market that closes without a key.