As the post Covid recovery gains momentum attention is naturally shifting towards the more complex engineering disciplines such as Nuclear and Aerospace. These disciplines have always had longer lead times as specialist engineering operations require specialist engineering support services. The opportunity that the post-Covid reset has presented is that we have a rare opportunity to move away from expensive piecemeal engineering support design towards a more strategic, holistic and cost-effective approach.
Depending on exactly which sector you work in you will probably use different terms for rigs, jigs, fixtures, fittings, product handling, industrial tooling, specialist lifting or even infrastructure management; regardless of the sector the design principles are the same and the changes affect everyone. The unavoidable reality is that, as a result of the pandemic, it will be much more difficult and expensive to have large, skilled workforces onsite for extended periods. The days of throwing people at the problem are well and truly over! The trend over the next 5 to 10 years will be towards more automation, less staff, and less experienced staff, meaning that specialist engineering companies will need to invest more strategically in their engineering support services. In the past, we may have been able to turn a blind eye to a one-off urgent operational requirement for a jig or a fixture, but future leaner workforces on tighter project management plans will demand a more tailored engineering support and services package that has been designed to support throughout the full lifecycle of a project whether build, decommissioning or continuous operations.
Good design engineers start by understanding the big picture before focusing on the details, in engineering support this can mean the difference between a series of single-task tools and an ingenious multi-function design. The place to start is the building itself as often the best way to increase engineering efficiency is by designing permanent platforms, ramps or gantries to simply and safely assist access. Precision, durability and safety are key design considerations for all industrial tooling and engineering support services, but good designers also consider quick changes and tooling flexibility to increase the tempo of a continuous operation. Finite Element Analysis is a key capability that all good designers must have at their disposal to design out predicated points of failure and ensure safety, particularly when designing heavy lifting and load-bearing equipment for tasks such as material handling.
In summary, Covid has changed much but it has also given us an opportunity to reassess what was previously considered normal and look for better solutions. Engineering Support and Services for specialist engineering sectors (especially nuclear, aerospace and defence) have been too expensive and too inflexible for too long, adding cost and production delays where they were meant to be delivering speed and efficiency. Previously, it all seemed too difficult to fix but now is the opportunity to get it right and start designing specialist engineering support holistically. Our workforces have changed for good and now our engineering support services need to be designed to match them.
As a respected mechanical engineering design company, CAL International provide first-class engineering design support to our clients. We believe in strong Customer Communications and so each project has a designated Project Manager who oversees the project from initial concept through to final delivery regardless of whether it’s a simple design project or a Full Turnkey Solution.
We track, review and manage each project in accordance with PRINCE 2 principles. Whilst we manage smaller projects more informally for customer convenience any large projects and all Turnkey solutions are managed through formal monthly Project Management Plan and Baseline review meetings.
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