Disaster planning and showcasing manufacturing

Features editor

As the summer season begins, engineers can get a taste of humanitarian work and show off their photography skills

As the summer holiday season gets into swing, the calendar begins to go quiet for events in the engineering and manufacturing industries. Most of the forward events planners are showing little in the diary until September, but there is still some activity for those who look hard enough.

For engineers who would like a taste of what it would be like to work on a disaster relief project, The Institution of Civil Engineers and humanitarian charity RedR are joining forces to running an event in Gloucester where small teams of engineers will be challenged to design a refugee camp against the clock with the kind of limited resources that tend to be available in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Those who enjoy this kind of challenge might like to look into RedR’s training courses for engineers working in sanitation, water and shelter provision; the charity trains some 8000 engineers every year.

For keen photographers, the EEF has launched its annual photography exhibition this week, looking for the best depictions of products, components made in the UK, assembly lines and production processes taking place in the UK. Parts depicted in the photo may be sourced from overseas, but the final product must be made in Britain. ‘We want keep British manufacturing in the spotlight by capturing the brilliance and significance of British manufacturers, ensuring their contribution is recognised by the rest of the UK and beyond,’ says the EEF.

The theme is open to interpretation as long as entrants can explain how their image meets the criteria. If you don’t have access to a manufacturer as part of your everyday routine, don’t worry; a variety of companies ranging from Clipper Teas to Morgan Motors are allowing photographs access to their plants to take pictures: the full list can be seen here, including contact details for those who would like to take up this offer. A prize of £5,000-worth of Canon photography equipment will be shared among the winners in three categories: best photo taken by an amateur, best photo taken by a professional; and best photo taken by a 14 to 19-year-old. Winning pictures will be used in print media and as party of EEF PR activity.

The big economic news from the industry this week will come from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which will reveal its monthly figures on car, commercial vehicle and engine production on Thursday. Recent figures have been steady, with car production climbing slightly and engine figures dipping as new manufacturing facilities are commissioned, but  with around a million engines being made per month.