The Engineer's Contribution to Society

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Design principles The engineer’s contribution to society

F O R E W O R D

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Visiting Professorship Scheme in Principles of Engineering Design appointed skilled and successful practising engineers to contribute to the teaching and development of undergraduate courses. The professors appointed not only expressed their enjoyment of this opportunity, but also expressed an interest in formulating fundamental design principles. We decided to try and define these principles. Engineers contribute considerably to the quality of life in society and it is important that they articulate their role clearly and firmly. We hope that a definition of these principles will enhance this contribution. Dr James Hodgson Armstrong OBE, Hon DEng, FREng, FICE, FIStructE, FRSA

T h e f o u r o b j e c t i v e s o f t h e Co r p o r a t e P l a n o f The Royal Academy of Engineering for the years 2001-2004 can be summarised as:

‘ TO M A I N TA I N A C R U S A D I N G , L E A D E R S H I P R O L E . . . R E CO G N I S I N G T H E E N G I N E E R ’ S R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y F O R L E A D I N G D E B AT E A N D AC T I O N O N A W I D E R A N G E O F I M P O RTA N T I S S U E S O F N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T A N D I M P O RTA N C E W H I C H H AV E A N E N G I N E E R I N G D I M E N S I O N , S U C H A S S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y, B I O M E D I C A L E N G I N E E R I N G A N D E M E R G I N G D I S C I P L I N E S . . .’

‘ TO S U P P O RT E N G I N E E R I N G E D U C AT I O N A N D T R A I N I N G AT A L L L E V E L S . . .’

‘ TO W O R K TO WA R D S G R E AT E R C R O S S F E RT I L I S AT I O N B E T W E E N I N D U S T R Y A N D AC A D E M E . . .’

‘ TO P R O M OT E T H E I M P O RTA N C E O F E N G I N E E R I N G N AT I O N A L LY A N D I N T E R N AT I O N A L LY; TO I M P R O V E T H E Q U A L I T Y O F A D V I C E TO PA R L I A M E N T A N D M I N I S T R I E S ; TO P R O M OT E G R E AT E R U N D E R S TA N D I N G A N D I N T E R E S T I N E N G I N E E R I N G ; . . .’

C O N T E N T S

6 9 11 13 15 16 CASE STUDIES 18 20 22 24 25 26

Introduction Design principles Need Vision Delivery An intelligent prosthesis – Chas. A. Blatchford & Sons A breath-actuated metered dose (asthma) inhaler – IVAX Pharmaceuticals The Tsing Ma Bridge – Mott MacDonald The Trent aero engine – Rolls-Royce Visiting Professors in Principles of Engineering Design The Royal Academy of Engineering The author

5

A broader role for engineers in decision-making
ANY ENGINEERING PROJECT INVOLVES A COMPLEX DECISION-MAKING PROCESS – DESIGN – THE SUCCESS OF WHICH IS MEASURED IN THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROJECT. ENGINEERS NEED TO PLAY A MAJOR PART IN THE EARLY STAGES OF DECISION-MAKING. AN UNDERSTANDING OF BASIC DESIGN PRINCIPLES HELPS TO ENSURE SUCCESS

The Royal Char ter of the Institution of Civil Engineers describes the role of the engineer as that of : " … H A R N E S S I N G T H E G R E AT F O R C E S I N N AT U R E F O R T H E U S E A N D CO N V E N I E N C E O F M A N . ” ( To d a y w e w o u l d a d d : “w i t h d u e c o n s i d e ra t i o n o f e n v i ro n m e n t a l a n d e c o n o m i c s u s t a i n a b i l i t y. ” ) Traditionally, engineers are trained to deliver products, projects or services to fit some specified requirement. They work to a required performance and quality, within a given time and budget. But the creative and analytical skills of engineers are frequently used only to develop or make practical the decisions of others. The importance of engaging engineers in the early decisionmaking processes of a project is frequently not appreciated, and major decisions are left in the hands of the non-engineering professions – the politicians, lawyers, accountants or marketing experts. This is despite the fact that these decisions may require not only understanding the engineering possibilities, but also knowledge and experience of potential environmental and social consequences....
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