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Young members

Young engineers highlighted as UK’s most promising entrepreneurs

Amit Katwala

​The inventor of a tool for automating complex manufacturing was among the finalists in a search for the UK’s most promising entrepreneur.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub's Launchpad competition was a nationwide search for the UK’s greatest entrepreneurs in engineering and technology, between the ages of 19 and 25.

Nick Schweitzer, the 25-year-old inventor of a machine learning tool to help brands uncover new ideas, was named the winner. The three finalists also included 25-year-old Jack Pearson of EngX, a company which is developing a tool for automating complex manufacturing, and which sprung out of a research project at the University of Bristol.

EngX have created a hybrid manufacturing process that integrates 3D printing, assembly and wiring of products in one unit. In the case of a drone, it could 3D print the outer shell, insert electrical components and wire them together. It uses a modular system to switch between tools depending on what’s required.

“This really fits into a black hole in manufacturing,” Pearson told Professional Engineering. He said it would be useful for custom products or smaller volumes of 10 to 500, especially as electronics become embedded in more and more device as part of the Internet of Things. Prosthetics and robotics are two potential applications.

The third finalist was 25-year-old Britanny Harris, who was also voted the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Along with a co-founder, she has developed software for monitoring the environmental impact of civil engineering and construction projects.

It brings together data from disparate connected sensors into one piece of software that can monitor and provide a visual sense of environmental factors such as air quality. “It’s been a bit of a constant frustration for us,” she told Professional Engineering. “On construction sites there’s very little monitoring of the environmental side around water quality and vibration impacts.”

She said it wasn’t genuine neglect, but it was sometimes hard for contractors to keep track of. “The idea of the platform is to make it very visual. You’ll track your air quality, for example, and you will get an alert when you’re getting near to your particulate parts per million. The idea is to support contractors in actually being able to respond immediately to those changes communicate.”

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