• Question: Could you describe a time when you used your engineering knowledge to solve a problem for which there appeared to be no answer?

    Asked by KieranHesketh to Huw, Gosha, Ray, Stacey, Steve on 10 Mar 2015. This question was also asked by aristeaindia, Hydrogen, morebrainlesssurgery.
    • Photo: Gosha Barzowska

      Gosha Barzowska answered on 10 Mar 2015:

      Hey! What a typical interview question! There were many situations where I thought can’t be resolved because of technology constrains or other reasons. I recently was working on a 3D printing project where I used 3D laser scanner to scan an uneven surface to then be able to use it in our 3D CAD model instead of trying to model it from scratch (It was kind of ‘what if’ exercise if you know what I mean). I wanted to check if it can be used in general to model simple parts to speed up the design phase despite the fact that most of the engineers I worked with thought it won’t be possible to produce an accurate model. I proved them wrong by doing this simple exercise. But it would be to good to be true…right? the only constrain at the moment is the technology available – our computers are not powerfull enough to handle big scanned surfaces but maybe one day it will happen.
      Here is a link to our website where you can find interesting video’s about what’s Airbus plan for the future which at the moment is constrained by technology but we are working on it! 🙂

    • Photo: Huw Williams

      Huw Williams answered on 10 Mar 2015:

      What a great question KieranHesketh and aristeaindia,

      Engineer’s are always innovating, coming up with ideas to fix problems. One example that stands out for me is when I worked in the Engine performance department during my apprenticeship. We had a problem with a noisy engine, our customers all want really quiet ones, who knows why? Anyway it was a problem that we didn’t understand so I was set the challenge of finding out what was wrong.

      This was something which we’d never done before so I had to write a computer programme from scratch to analyse lots of data from the engine and then combine this with data from microphones which monitor how noisy planes are as they come in to land. Writing the programme was really tough and I learned so much from it, but I used what I learned to show that our engines can be noisy when certain valves are open and then recommend a change to the engine’s controller so that the valve would open at a different time hence making it quieter when the plane is close to the ground and to people’s homes.

      Huw 🙂

    • Photo: Steve Cox

      Steve Cox answered on 12 Mar 2015:

      We had a door come open on a crash test of a new car we were developing when they should stay fully shut to protect the occupant, and we couldn’t understand why.

      We carried out an almost “forensic” engineering examination of the slow motion film footage that gets taken of every crash test, and we employed some pretty advanced computer aided modelling of the door structure to analyse what might be happening.

      We proposed quite a few possible theories, tested them out in the computer model and then decided which was the most likely and engineered a solution for it.

      When we repeated the crash test with the fix in place the door stayed shut. So that was a triumph of engineering know-how, advanced computer analysis and logic applied to a very complex problem.