Reinventing the Wheel: Engineering Prowess in Dundee and Angus

Reinventing the Wheel: Engineering Prowess in Dundee and Angus

Karen Tocher, business tourism manager at Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau, reveals all about Dundee and Angus’ engineering ingenuity…

The world we live in wouldn’t exist without engineers: the buildings we live and work in wouldn’t stand, the cars and planes we travel daily on wouldn’t run, and the phones and computers we rely upon to run our lives would be little more than expensive paperweights.

The field of engineering stretches back thousands of years to the invention of the wheel. And here in Dundee and Angus, it’s just been reinvented…

Abertay University has been working with Carruthers Renewables to develop the Carruthers Waterwheel – an innovative new design that is significantly more efficient than traditional waterwheels.

Whereas traditional waterwheels stop the water dead, to ensure a steady turning speed, this isn’t required in energy generation. The Carruthers Waterwheel is instead the first of its kind, harnessing both potential and kinetic energy by slowing the water down instead of stopping it.

The wheel has been designed to be able to be replicated across the world allowing for a multitude of uses, and its unique design enables it to be used in rivers which would not traditionally be able to house a waterwheel.

This waterwheel is just the latest in a long line of engineering innovations to come from Dundee and Angus.

Throughout history, the region’s engineers have made their mark on the industry around the world. Sir James Ewing, for example, worked in Japan before returning to his home of Dundee to become the first Professor of Engineering at the newly founded University College Dundee (now the University of Dundee). And Brigadier-General Sir Alexander Gibb – born in Dundee – served as Civil Engineer-in-Chief to the Admiralty and Director-General of Civil Engineering at the Ministry of Transport.

Engineering developments in Dundee and Angus, however, are not simply relegated to the past. Today companies like Rautomead Limited drive engineering technologies to new heights around the world. Established by Sir Michael Nairn and others in the late 1970s, the company has become the leading supplier of continuous casting technology for non-ferrous alloys, providing solutions for engineering projects across the globe.

The area’s academic institutions are also driving the field of engineering forward, allowing a new breed of engineers to take to the fore.

Students at DRIVE at the University of Dundee are racing to design, build, market and race a car in the global iMechE Formula Student competition, while Abertay University civil engineering student Stephen Brindle was instrumental in the construction of the V&A Dundee, checking each one of the building’s 5,000 fixing points.

It’s no wonder that the area’s academic pedigree in engineering is in good standing – Abertay University is currently ranked 8th in the entire UK for civil engineering.

From world leading technologies to academic excellence, engineering is at the forefront of industry in Dundee and Angus – once again proving that this is where #ideasbecomelegend.