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Thoughts on product innovation
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Horizon 2020 success!

I have just been informed that a Horizon 2020 proposal I co-wrote has been positively evaluated.

The proposal I co-wrote earlier this year was one of only two proposals evaluated positively to receive funding from the 20 that were submitted for the FoF-4 call. It deals with how the ubiquitous ITC infrastructure and data-gathering that is part of the Factories-of-the-Future (Industry 4.0) concept can be utilised to improve the attractiveness of factories as a place of work for the well-trained employees the manufacturing sector needs.


Flashforge Creator X

3D-printer joins stable of workshop tools

I’ve just installed a Flashforge Creator X 3D-printer for plastic rapid prototyping.

The Creator X is—like many other 3D-printers—a Makerbot Replicator 2 clone (in itself modelled on the RepRap open-source printer).


Carbon fibre chassis Alfa Romeo 4C

Designer materials: modelling novel composites

The Horizon 2020 proposal I’ve been writing—submitted earlier this week—deals with improved numerical simulation tools for the behaviour of complex, composite materials.

Think about carbon-fibre reinforced car bodies, aircraft wings, or surf boards. The performance of composite parts not only depends on the constituent materials, but to a large extend on fibre/matrix structure and material interactions at the molecular scale (e.g. fibre/matrix adhesion).


I’m giving a talk at Medtec UK on May 15th

I’ll be giving a talk on Thursday May 15th at the Medtec UK conference held at London Olympia. It’s titled “Specifications suck: Why too much focus on essential requirements leads to mediocre products”. Well, the organisers did say they wanted a catchy title…

The gist of my talk is that stating design objectives as pass/fail requirements does not capture the relationship between design parameters or design choices on the one hand, and the utility or value of the designed product on the other hand.

I’m also chairing stream A on the Thursday so I will be around in Olympia all day.


EMC testing

Does my product need a CE-mark?

Probably. By applying the CE-mark to a product, the manufacturer or importer indicates that the product meets all applicable EU regulations—mainly on end-user health and safety, but also on energy and material efficiency.

Many categories of products require CE-marking before they can be placed on the market: These include medical devices, electrical and electronic equipment, machinery, toys, pressure equipment and many others. They specifically exclude food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The European Commission (EC) has published the “blue guide”, which offers excellent if very wordy guidance.


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