THE MECHANICAL ENGINEERING INNOVATION AWARD

Winner: Spirax Sarco

Runners-up: Falcon Machine Tools; BSA Tools; Holroyd; Ifield Technology

Spirax Sarco’s APT14 automatic pump with integrated steam trap is a compact solution to the problem of fluctuating temperature output from heat exchangers – a common headache for many processes. During times of low demand, when input steam pressure is insufficient to clear condensate from inside the exchanger, heat transfer surfaces can become waterlogged, impairing production efficiency.

The APT14 ensures complete removal of condensate from steam heat exchangers and process plant.It is 50% smaller than other commercially available units and was designed for efficient and safe plant operation in applications where there is limited installation space. Saving space also helps avoid the cost of having to raise floor-mounted equipment, or having to excavate a pit in the floor to install a conventional pump.

The APT14 is self-contained and uses plant steam for its motive power, only operating when there is fluid to be pumped. This makes it far less expensive to run than standard electric pumps.

Runners-up

Falcon Machine Tools’ innovative Rolla-V press brake tool, a close runner-up in this category, can cut overall bending costs by up to 50%. It will not mark or deform sheet metal components during the bending cycle, and thus does away with the need for finishing operations.

Another strong contender was the Pro-Elip elliptical turning system from BSA Tools, which offers a cost-effective alternative for fast, accurate production of `out-of-round’ components such as pistons and steering gear. The results include 10-fold improvements in machining cycle times.

Holroyd’s application of contact analysis software to the wormgear production process brings lower production costs, improved wormgear performance and increased confidence in product quality.

Also shortlisted was Ifield Technology’s high efficiency pump/motor design, which recycles over 70% of braking energy, making stored hydraulic energy propulsion systems viable. Ifield went on to win the Automotive and Aerospace Innovation Award.