Engineering – A Different Dimension
Krzysztof Tutaj MSc MIEI, CEO & President E-TEC Power International Ltd.
There are times when you think you’ve seen it all, and then you see something that makes you realise that no matter how long you live, the world will always have the potential to surprise you.
As we aspire to become engineers, many of us start via an academic route where we go through a formal education learning theory and putting it to the test to some degree or other. Then we take our education into the real world and find we still have much to learn, so we continue the process but with the difference that we now start to learn more “from experience”, although if we’re honest, a certain amount of time that actually means “from our mistakes”!
In terms of mistakes people can make when interpreting engineering documentation, I thought I’d more or less seen it all until I paid a visit to a customer one time about 20 years ago, and as he spoke to me I started to become distracted as I observed a 40 kW UPS system I supplied him installed in the middle of the room as expected, but with a brick wall built around it on three sides, definitely not expected, so I had to stop him to ask why. He said he had been a bit puzzled too, but that a dimensioned drawing in our manual clearly showed that a wall had to be built around it with a 100 mm gap, so he faithfully followed the instruction as he understood it. It fact what the drawing actually showed was that for ventilation purposes, that particular kind of system needed a gap of at least 100 mm to any other solid surface from the sides and rear of the enclosure. I decided not to embarrass him in front of his colleagues and simply complimented the workmanship of his bricklayer and swiftly changed the subject! Of course I talked to him about it later, and we laughed about it on subsequent occasions, but it’s a story I often recount by way of encouraging people to think carefully about how others may interpret ideas or instructions they are trying to get across, particularly if there is a language barrier.
Every young engineer starting out has a hill to climb in their development and for the good ones that takes the whole of their career, but to really make their mark they must help leave the hill behind them in a state that allows the next generation to start their ascent at a higher level and thus push innovation ever upwards and onwards. At E-TEC our stated mission is “To be a world leader, by providing and developing Innovative Solutions that transforms the Engineering Industry“, which some might say is ambitious, but never the less has been our mindset from day one. In 2014 we look forward to marking 15 years in business, and in that time the world has seen advancement in all kinds of technology including increasing adoption of 3D CAD and Digital Prototyping, and through continued investment in the development of our PEARL Virtual Engineering project we aim to move to a point where engineering, simulation, visualisation and ease of access to information/documentation about an installation is available in one software package, and practical to use when working with our clients on the smallest of installations to largest of Data Centre builds, to improve design efficiency, accuracy and discipline, and reduce costs and the amount of mistakes that can be made along the way. The down side is that it may put the occasional UPS bricklayer out of work, but I still see it as progress!