"Engineering is the practical means by which our greatest challenges will be solved… environment…, poverty… health and wellbeing. We engineers are trained and practiced at looking in two directions at once – both at science and at business and commerce – and integrating them to find an optimal solution… Those who wish to make a difference to the world should, I suggest, become
(Browne, IET Catalyst, 2007)
Clever engineering is about making surprising things happen in the real world.
Clever technology is a key component for sure, but so too is an understanding of the 'real politik' of how the world actually works. As truly creative engineers we have to provide real solutions for real people. That in turn means understanding the broader context of the challenge. Taking on board all the dimensions of a problem and creating the best possible working solution is one of the truly rewarding aspects of being an engineer.
The following is a changing list of examples of how different and wide ranging clever engineering can be. Enjoy the adventure that engineering can be…
Pyramid Creek Salt Interception Scheme
How to create an environmental remediation solution that reduces soil salinity, as well as create a sustainable industry? Build a salt farm. Now there's a real world engineering solution.
The facility is designed to intercept over 22,000 tonnes of saline groundwater from reaching Pyramid Creek annually and generates benefits of over $650,000 per annum to water users downstream on the Murray. The harvesting system comprises a series of lined evaporation basins that operate in sequence to gradually increase the concentrate of salt, which is then removed and processed.
An inspiring project which positively affects millions of people and also sets an international standard for salt interception schemes with its detailed analysis and ongoing monitoring, innovative groundwater pumping and community communications.
Middleborough Road Rail Separation Project
Great technology, superb organisation and an outstanding result.
15km east of the Melbourne CBD, the Middleborough Rd rail crossing was a hassle and an eyesore. So the railway line was lowered by six meters so that Middleborough Road now bridges it, improving traffic flow, safety, general amenity, noise and pollution.
Sounds simple… but there was a lot more to it. Major construction was carried out over four weeks of intensive works beginning Monday, 1 January 2007. All done in just 27 intensive 24 hour days.
Work also included rebuilding nearby suburban Laburnum Station and constructing a new rail bridge to cross over Laburnum Street.
Click here for further information.
Vertech Vertical Concrete Poles and Piles
Not all engineering innovation has to happen in million dollar hi tech labs – this sure didn't. But it's ingenious, and it works.
An Australian vertical casting process for the manufacture of steel reinforced, hollow, concrete poles replaces a 90+ year old international convention of horizontal spun concrete technology (developed by Hume ancestors early last century). It generates benefits in every area of production.
Less space, less labour, faster and much safer - as well environmental advantages.
Vertech Hume is currently exporting to an international market.
Electronic dreams become realities with Altium Designer
The world's first and only 'concept-to-manufacture' unified product development system that provides engineers an unmatched ability to take a design from concept to completion of next generation electronic products, within a single application.
A new approach that brings together E-CAD and M-CAD and streamlines design flows, simplifies data management, enables rapid prototyping, makes design concepts easy to explore, and promotes collaboration across all teams involved in bringing a product to market.
National Aquatic Centre, Beijing
Another gold medal performance from Australia's engineers and other building consultants.
The Water Cube in Beijing is an exceptional feat of engineering and architecture that became one of the world's most recognised and iconic and structures during the Beijing Olympics – and remains so.
Seating 17,000 people covering an area of 18,000m2 it makers for a fascinating story of engineering and design innovation and achievement – an amazing journey well worth exploring.
Dux Airoheat® - Stylish, smart and so efficient
It adapts to its environment with the aid of an inbuilt computer (also makes it easily upgradeable). So it's greener, more efficient, cheaper, and enhances users' lifestyles.
The Dux Airoheat® is a domestic heat pump water heater which utilises free energy in the ambient air to heat water domestically at low electrical energy consumption levels – and it is 30% more efficient than Australian competitors (based on water delivered).
Ultra easy to install and commission, it is also remarkably quiet. A little world beater designed here in Australia by Australians, for our conditions. Compared to a traditional electric storage water heater, you get the same amount of hot water using a quarter of the energy. So go figure… some 30% of energy use in the average home is consumed to heat water… Airoheat can help reduce this by 65%.
This is the only rotational boat transporter in the world. It has two arms and each arm forms a kind of huge tub filled with water. Boats enter the tub, the the tub locks up and the huge arm starts rotating… Download the presentation here (size: 1.2Mb) to read more about this exciting project.
Future Engineering Challenges
So what might you be working on in the future?
Here is a quick introduction – but no single website can do the topic justice… just think for a moment of how many future possibilities there are for great and even iconic future engineering endeavours… it very quickly becomes a long and fascinating list - and you could be part of it.