Engineering is the art of making something that is very complex look effortless. This is the case, for instance, in the retaining clips we manufactured for the Tate Modern in London. All ambitious engineering projects – like this one – are born from a problem and the active intention of finding a solution. And to make sure this solution is completely satisfactory, engineers follow a design process.
This is, basically, a methodical approach to the problem and sometimes its steps vary according to the nature of the project itself. But, why is it so important?
This is, no doubt, the most essential part of the designing process and the very first step any engineer should take. It may seem simplistic, but if there is a misunderstanding on any aspect of the real problem, the final solution won’t be entirely valid.
One common error that many inexperienced engineers make is to mistake the symptoms of the problem for the problem itself.
Engineering is, contrary to what many people think, never a lonely job. Engineers work in teams and communicate with fellow colleagues all over the world. That is because the very essence of engineering is to make everyone’s lives easier.
During the design process, engineers investigate the methods that others have used to tackle similar problems. It is also the moment where they study directly the environment where the solution will be implemented to make sure that they are aware of all the possible restrictions.
Engineering is always a process of improving reality so all engineers – no matter the stage of their career – always feel they have many things still to learn. During the design process, the solutions that have been theorised previously move into the real world. Prototyping offers the perfect chance for engineers to learn from their mistakes without having to face any negative consequences.
During the prototype phase of the design process, concepts are turned into prototypes that are functional for testing. This is when the real learning takes place, because all the team will be taking notes about the test and the performance of the mentioned prototype in its desired environment. It’s never a question of succeeding or failing but of improving. Let’s remember here that Edison had to make more than 1,000 prototypes until he created his most successful idea: the light bulb.
Engineering is also about details and the way they turn any device into something that people need but also love to use. For instance, a vacuum cleaner is a very effective way of keeping the dust out from your house; but the fact that this machine has a flexible arm to reach everywhere or that you can use it standing are the reasons why people prefer it to the brush.
Engineers work with the latest technology – such as CAD modelling – to make sure that the ideas they have can be translated into reality up to the smallest detail.
Without any doubt, a good design process is what turns an ordinary project into an outstanding invention. That is why here, at European Springs Ireland, we are always open to collaborating with other industries – as our partnership with Liberty in London shows – as well as implementing the latest advances in the manufacturing of our springs. If you have any enquiry about our products, don’t hesitate in contacting with our skilled team, we’ll be delighted to help!