Five to watch: Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers
We profile five of the trailblazing engineers on this year’s honour roll.
Engineers Australia has once again published its annual Innovative Engineers list, recognising 30 of the country’s most talented and successful engineering pros from a range of sectors. Here are five recipients who really stand out.
Managing Director, TENSA Equipment
Markwell was recognised this year for leading the team that developed Roborigger, a crane device that allows riggers to orient and rotate loads from a safe distance. Each year, there are an average of three fatalities from crane accidents in Australia, and the deaths often occur when workers are in the vicinity of loads during the potentially dangerous orientating and lowering phases. Roborigger attaches at the end of a crane hook and uses gyroscopic and inertial forces to accurately rotate and orient crane loads, allowing workers to keep their distance. The technology is now rolling out at construction sites across the country.
Associate (Built Environment), Aurecon
Milne led the Aurecon team that built the low-carbon Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the Ian Potter Southbank Centre. The client asked for a building that could potentially generate zero carbon emissions in the future, which meant Milne and her team had to rely solely on electricity (not emissions-producing gas) for heating and cooling. Their solution was to use four-pipe air source heat pumps which, with simultaneous heating and cooling, offered the lowest life-cycle cost. Additionally, dynamic thermal simulation software was successfully employed to ensure the building’s climate-control system was designed efficiently.
Davies is the founder of GeoReports, an online database that provides detailed subsurface information covering much of Australia. The platform gathers data from the millions of boreholes and sampling points that have been drilled across the country and maps it for re-use in future projects. GeoReports allows users to glean insights into soil, rock and groundwater conditions and potential contamination risks, improving safety outcomes and reducing the need for fresh surveying. The service also allows data users and providers to exchange data or leverage private datasets. Davies recently secured a second tranche of government start-up funding, and his work to collect and license data continues apace.
Associate Professor, RMIT University
Dr Fox and her team achieved a world first when they coated 3D-printed titanium implants with diamond. Although titanium is a fairly reliable material for medical implants, the human body can sometimes reject it, prompting scientists to look at alternatives such as diamond, which adheres more reliably to bone and tissue. To create the coating, Dr Fox used detonation nanodiamonds, which are cheaper than titanium powder. Excitingly, her team also discovered that the diamond coating actively encouraged the proliferation of human cells, enhancing the integration between the human body and the implant.
Director, EWFW Consulting Engineers
With his wife Melanie, De Gioia founded the podcast Beer With An Engineer in 2018. The pair launched the podcast to rally the engineering community after becoming concerned by reports that the number of new engineers was decreasing. They have so far produced more than 50 episodes, each featuring a guest engineer and all of which are available to download for free. De Goia has more than 20 years’ experience in the building services sector and is currently the director of a multi-disciplinary engineering firm which has offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Wollongong. He is also a keen lager drinker.