As an independent engineering materials consultant, I offer a consultancy service which can range from attendance at a few meetings to longer term contracts attached to your project.
I also offer engineering design CAD services; aimed at SMEs and start-ups who may not have the capability in-house, but need to produce CAD drawings of components and assemblies for manufacture throughout the project life-cycle.
With the flexibility that independence offers, my services can be tailored to precisely what you need, and for how long you need them; making it a cost-effective alternative to hiring specialists or fixed term contractors.
I am happy to quote for complete tasks, an hourly rate, or on a "call-off" contract basis against an overall plan and cost limit.
Materials selection should be performed in the earliest stages of the design cycle but is often overlooked, causing project delays with associated increased costs later.
Selection of the most appropriate material depends on many factors and several outside the usual parameters of strength, toughness, etc.
In product design the main goal of material selection is to minimize cost while meeting product performance goals. Systematic selection of the best material for a given application begins with the required properties. These should be defined in the Product Design Specification (PDS), with no reference to materials at the PDS stage. For example, a thermal blanket must have poor thermal conductivity in order to minimize heat transfer.
Systematic selection for applications requiring multiple criteria is more complex. For example, a rod which should be stiff and light requires a material with high Young's modulus and low density. If the rod will be pulled in tension, the specific modulus, or modulus divided by density,
[E / ρ], will determine the best material.
These properties also have to be ratified against the cost of the material and available production techniques for shaping and forming.
A systematic approach to materials selection will be applied to your project, which will ensure that all design parameters are satisfied while minimising costs to the project.
CAD has become the "norm" for drafting in the engineering arena.
The advantages of using CAD are numerous, but the key advantages are the flexibility and ease at which new designs can be turned into drawings and existing designs can be modified during the design process. These make CAD an essential tool in the engineers box.
In the product development space, the extended features in modern CAD software are also useful visualise a product.
Overall, CAD is a tool for increasing productivity, improving quality, and reducing costs.
When combined with Computer-Aided Manufacture (CAM) via CNC machining equipment and, more recently, 3D printing technology, CAD can give a company options to send their model data to suppliers to get things made remotely, with just a phone call or two to confirm details, etc. This advantage is able to reduce costs by allowing suppliers to be situated anywhere in the world.
I have three CAD packages that can be deployed on your project, depending on the project budget. I use AutoCAD and Salome, the latter used to create meshes for later analysis by FEA.
So, depending on your needs, whether it is a one-off paper-design-to-CAD exercise or a longer term product development exercise, I have an efficient solution.
For engineering designs, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a natural follow-on from CAD.
FEA allows the design (or modified design) to be analysed against its performance parameters without the expense of producing working test items.
Modern FEA software includes a graphical user interface for model creation, meshing and post-processing. the calculation engine is usually "hidden" from the user and will require very little interaction, save to check the model parameters and solution accuracy.
Load cases can be applied to the design and the response of the component analysed. These analyses can be fed back into the design, which can be modified accordingly.
The design - analysis cycle can then be repeated as often as necessary before a working test device or prototype is made.
The use of modern CAD and FEA tools makes it very quick and cost-effective to iterate design modifications and analyse them.
For FEA, I use "Code-Aster" on a 64-bit Linux platform. Code Aster is an FEA tool developed and used by French energy company EDF. It is highly versatile and is capable of numerous post-processing options to allow detailed analysis of your design.
University of Surrey
Post Grad Cert, Advanced Materials Technology