Digital technology is responsible for changing the face of many of our traditional industries and none more so than the world of engineering.
In days gone by engineers were deskbound and relied on mountains of paper based resources to inform the work they were involved in, but no more, now they can access the information they need remotely and collaborate via the internet and the digital cloud. Here we take a glimpse at how the engineering industry is changing.
The Scope of the Engineering Sector
One needs to look no further than the sheer breadth of work that now occurs in the engineering sector to begin to understand just how huge the changes taking place are. By definition, engineers are individuals who work to design and build engines, but that has now changed and also takes in disciplines such as bio engineering and software engineering to name but two. In essence, what a modern day engineer is concerned with is the business of solving problems and much of this is done with the help of digital technology.
Civil Engineering and the Environment
Civil engineering is a good example of how the industry is changing, Flood Protection Solutions founder Simon Crowther commented, “There has been a move within the civil engineering sector to work with nature and the environment, rather than battling it with concrete.
Within my industry (flood defence) the Wildlife Trust is calling on the Government to invest in natural flood defences as natural solutions may help prevent or reduce the impact of flooding in the future. Habitats such as bogs, moors, ditches, leaky dams and grasslands can all help ‘slow the flow’ and ultimately reduce flooding without the need for concrete.
Financial incentives, consumer consciences and an awareness of climate change will lead to far more engineering jobs related to environmental engineering. Lean manufacturing will become more commonplace – reducing waste, and thus our impact on the environment.”
In this instance digital technology is used to map the landscape and run diagnostics that indicate how the land behaves given particular changes and conditions.
Providing the Tools for the New Look Engineering Industry
As the industry changes, then so too does the equipment and machines that it uses. Vacuum manufacturer Dyson, for example, have recently announced that they will now only be developing cordless products and thus new equipment and technology will be required in order to do so. There is a raft of companies who are at the forefront when it comes to providing the engineering industry with state-of-the-art tools and machinery– many of these items also rely heavily digital technology for efficiency, accuracy and reliability.
The changes that the engineering industry is undergoing can be encapsulated quite simply. It is bigger and more important than ever before and is harnessing the power of digital technology to create, innovate and achieve.