Welcome to my first post on Engineer Blogs. It seems traditional to start with a post describing who you are and how you got into engineering , so I won’t flout the tradition.
My name is Peter Francis and I’m Head of Design at ebm papst UK Ltd where I’m responsible for a team of hardware / software engineers designing controllers and fan products for a diverse range of UK customers.
I’m a Mechanical Design Engineer by training and have an interest in electronics and software as well as aviation and motorcycles. I’ve even been known to tinker with an Arduino occasionally. Enough about me , how did I get into engineering ?
Well it started a long time ago… and by ‘a long time’ I mean 1966. It was the beginning of the summer holidays from school and I was 6 years old when I was given a large, rather battered, heavy box which had once belonged to my older brothers. The box contained a Meccano set. For those that are too young to know what Meccano is it’s a construction set consisting of perforated metal strips, plates, angles, brackets, wheels, axles and gears, with nuts and bolts to connect it all together.
Meccano has been re-released in recent years as small dedicated kits to build a specific model. The kit I was given contained hundreds of parts and a small instruction book with a few basic examples, but the idea was to come up with your own designs and not follow a set of instructions.
That was the start of a very busy summer during which I built all manner of mechanical devices including cars, a drawbridge and a Ferris wheel to name but a few. That was it! I was hooked on design and engineering. This pattern continued for the following school years interspersed with the building of radio controlled model planes as well as Airfix kits until I left school at the age of 16.
That was when I started a 3 year mechanical engineering apprenticeship, during which I attended college on day release ultimately gaining my HND. Upon finishing my apprenticeship I became a draftsman with an aerospace company and after a few years I was running the Drawing Office. From there I became a ‘subbie’ (sub contract design engineer) working for a diverse range of companies on short term contracts designing flight simulator displays, periscope sights for armoured fighting vehicles, metal detectors for food processing equipment and unmanned aerial vehicles. This was probably the best training I could have received working for diverse companies with differing systems and viewpoints. I returned to permanent employment about 15 years ago and joined ebm-papst UK Ltd about 11 years ago.
So that’s my background, but where am I going to take my blog?
Well, I’ll be covering a range of subjects including MCAD / ECAD integration, Computational Fluid Dynamics, design working practices, software tools as well as wider ranging engineering issues such as engineers status and standards of training.
I hope you’ll find my blogs interesting and informative, please feel free to contact me either through Engineer Blogs or via Twitter at @peterjfrancis.