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July 30, 2020

Revitalising the high street

~ Let’s not let our high street fall to the wayside ~ The government has recently announced plans to invest billions of pounds into UK infrastructure to help rebuild the economy. The UK will “Build Back Better”, it claims. The decline of the British high street has been cause for

Read More »

Saving up on energy consumption the smart way

Have you been shopping around for the best medium voltage switchgear and circuit breakers? Are you frustrated because you have been paying heavy electric bills? The first step is to grab an efficient electric control system. Go for the best brand so that you can get hold of gadgets and

Read More »

Getting Back into Business: The Comeback Costs After Lockdown

The UK is getting back into business. Gradually, sector by sector, we are beginning to embrace the ‘new normal’, and businesses are once again raring to go. After the most recent loosening of lockdown measures, many pubs, bars, and restaurants have opened their doors to the public again. The likelihood

Read More »

5 Ideas for Using a Mid Century Modern Coffee Table

A coffee table can bring an aura of class and beauty into your living room. When creating your interior décor, a coffee table is one piece of furniture that can help you complete that elegant look that you desire in your living room. They come in many designs and colors,

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

July 30, 2020

World’s first electric digger wins MacRobert Award for UK engineering innovation

JCB’s innovation recognised as vital step in transition to a low-carbon future as UK gears up for construction-led economic recovery  The MacRobert Award is the UK’s most prestigious and longest running prize for engineering.  The Royal Academy of Engineering has recently announced JCB’s electric digger (19C-1E) as the winner of the 2020 MacRobert Award, the most prestigious prize for UK engineering innovation. The winning team receive a £50,000 prize and a gold medal.  The 19C-1E excavator is the world’s first volume-produced fully electric digger and with it, JCB has shown it is possible to make powerful construction machinery without an internal combustion engine. To date, the current fleet has saved the equivalent of 15,100kg in CO2 emissions across 5,616 hours of work, but if used across the global construction sector, which contributes 39% of all carbon emissions, these savings could reach billions of tonnes. JCB’s winning team are; Tim Burnhope FREng, Chief Innovation Officer, Bob Womersley, Director of Advanced Engineering, Lee Harper, Chief Engineer – Electrified Machines, Lee Milward, Design Manager, and Corey Smith, Test and Development Manager. The announcement is especially timely following the Prime Minister’s commitment to putting building and construction at the centre of the government’s plan for the UK’s economic recovery.  As well as significantly reducing carbon emissions, the electric digger has zero exhaust emissions and very low noise levels. This combination makes it much better suited than traditional construction vehicles to operating inside buildings or in areas where noise must be kept to a minimum, for example near hospitals and schools. JCB, the iconic British brand and world leader in the manufacture of construction and agricultural equipment, launched the digger in 2019 and has already sold hundreds of the machines.  The MacRobert Award judges lauded JCB for demonstrating the utility of electric machines in a construction setting and the potential for future innovation to boost sustainability in the sector.  The hope is that this entry could do for the construction sector what the double MacRobert Award winner Johnson Matthey did for the motor industry with the catalytic converter, which has stopped hundreds of millions of tonnes of pollution from entering the atmosphere. Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award judging panel, said:  “JCB’s electric digger is a huge engineering achievement. The team has developed all parts of the electric propulsion system to deliver system performance that matches real customer requirements. This is a huge achievement in itself, but the additional benefits of zero exhaust emissions and much lower noise has lifted the 19C-1E excavator to a new level. The digger is more than a great bit of engineering, however. It has the power to be the catalyst for change in an industry that is responsible for around 10% of all of the UK’s carbon emissions.”   JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said:  “To win one of the world’s most respected engineering prizes is an outstanding endorsement for JCB’s electrification team, who have achieved so much in applying a science which was new to our business. JCB’s electric mini excavator will contribute to a zero carbon future and help make the world more sustainable. It’s a huge honour for our contribution to be recognised in this way.”    JCB’s electric digger was selected by the MacRobert Award judging panel in competition with the other shortlisted finalists: the all-electric I-PACE sports utility vehicle from Jaguar Land Rover and ecoSMRT® liquid natural gas reliquification technology from Babcock’s LGE business. The MacRobert Award is run by the Royal Academy of Engineering with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers. Since 1969 it has recognised engineering achievements that demonstrate outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. The first award in 1969 was made jointly for two iconic innovations: to Rolls-Royce for the Pegasus engine used in the Harrier jump jet, and to Freeman, Fox and Partners for aerodynamic deck design of the Severn Bridge.  Other former winning innovations include: Allowing doctors to see inside the human body with the CT scanner invented at EMI (1972 MacRobert Award winner). Raising one of the world’s largest structures – the Millennium Dome, now the O2, engineered by Buro Happold (1999 MacRobert Award winner). Creating a computer the size of a credit card – Raspberry Pi (2017 MacRobert Award winner). Diagnosing cancer through a simple breath test – the ReCIVA breath biopsy developed by Owlstone Medical (2018 MacRobert Award winner). MacRobert Award winners are chosen by an expert panel of Academy Fellows, who have vast experience across engineering industry and academia.  This year’s MacRobert Award will be marked by a debate ‘Powering net zero Britain – the current ideas’ – a MacRobert Award discussion presented by the Royal Academy of Engineering  To mark the 51st year of the MacRobert Award, the most prestigious prize for UK engineering innovation, the Royal Academy of Engineering is assembling an expert panel to discuss how British engineers can apply their creativity to decarbonise our homes, travel and workplaces while creating jobs and a better environment for all over the next 30 years.   Chaired by Helen Czerski, physicist and presenter, the panel will include:  Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS, Chair of the MacRobert Award judges Dervilla Mitchell CBE FREng, Chair of the National Engineering Policy Centre’s Net Zero emissions working group. Tim Burnhope FREng, Chief Innovation and Growth Officer at JCB Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, co-founder and CEO of energy storage firm H2GO Power. 

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Revitalising the high street

~ Let’s not let our high street fall to the wayside ~ The government has recently announced plans to invest billions of pounds into UK infrastructure to help rebuild the economy. The UK will “Build Back Better”, it claims. The decline of the British high street has been cause for concern for a number of years, but this new investment could offer a lifeline. Here, Nick Cowley, managing director of aluminium building product supplier, Endurawood, shares insight into how to construct a modern high street that thrives. It’s no secret that the high street has been troubled in recent years. Consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping, and if they do venture out, it’s probably to a large indoor shopping centre. With fewer customers on the high street, retailers are not making enough profit against their overheads, forcing them to close high street stores. The resulting empty shops are an eye sore, making towns and cities appear run down and lifeless. The high street must be renovated in order to bring shoppers back, and retailers must adapt to modern consumer lifestyles and shopping habits. Time to adapt The British high street developed in the 1860s and 1870s due to urbanisation, as many people no longer had the facilities to grow their own crops or keep livestock. Consumer lifestyles were vastly different at that time — there was no internet, less travel and less to do. Shoppers had no choice but to buy their supplies from the high street, and had more time to do so. Now, many consumers have larger work time commitments, and the ability to travel and use the internet makes it easy to shop elsewhere. With many shoppers now possessing a more modern lifestyle, the high street must adapt and evolve to avoid death of businesses. A number of high street shops trade nine-to-five and close completely on Sundays. For a worker in a nine-to-five Monday to Friday job, this outdated trading pattern leaves only Saturday as an opportunity to shop. Retailers who start opening an hour earlier in the morning or offer late night shopping will be able to create a few extra hours of shopping time a day. To prevent shoppers going elsewhere, high streets must offer something unique. Dispersing small businesses between the well-known retailers gives shoppers the perfect balance of the familiar and the novel find. Hosting events, such as student discount nights, food festivals and craft markets, can attract shoppers and add vitality to the high street. Shoppers are unlikely to tire of the ease of online shopping. Because of this, retailers should aim for their stores and websites to work together. A great way to do this is through click and collect delivery, as the shopper is likely to see something they like in store when they visit to receive their order. Ensuring customers experience a welcoming and calming atmosphere gives physical shops an edge over online shopping, where there is no contact. Shoppers who choose to go to store wish to view the items in person and have an enjoyable trip out of the house, so retailers must capitalise on this. Keeping up appearances The appearance of the high street is critical to its success. Visitors to an area of empty shops and run down streets are likely to turn away and never come back. In contrast, passers-by of a modern, prosperous area are likely to explore. Investment in new paving and lighting can make a large difference to the feel of a high street. Incorporating areas of interest, such as sculptures and small green spaces, also helps to uplift the area and provides space for social interaction. Adding more cafés and restaurants also boosts the social attraction of the high street. However, the main way to boost the appearance of the high street is to update the shops. Drab buildings give the impression of a boring and lifeless shopping experience, so modernising is essential. Exterior cladding can transform an ordinary brick building into a sleek store with character, and make the area appear warmer and more welcoming. Adding decking to the outside of cafés and restaurants provides a new space for trade, and the ability to seat customers outside gives the appearance of a thriving high street. Incorporating railings into the surrounding area can provide spaces for shoppers to get away from the hustle and bustle of the high street and recharge. Adding enclosures can conceal unsightly areas, such as large shop bins, keeping the space looking clean and clear. However, it’s important that the materials used to renovate the high street are durable and low maintenance, allowing the area to look new for years to come. Endurawood is an aluminium material with a woodgrain finish. Endurawood is available in cladding, decking, railing and enclosure systems that are easy to install and provide a number of performance benefits over traditional wood. Aluminium is non-warping, frost-resistant, non-porous and dissipates heat, making it durable in all weathers. The woodgrain finish is colour stable and stain and scratch resistant, ensuring the features stay looking pristine. In addition, the material is non-combustible and slip resistant, which ensures the safety of customers and staff. The new government investment into infrastructure provides an ideal opportunity to re-invent the high street. By incorporating changes in retail operation with updated store aesthetics, the high street can return to being the thriving hub of urban areas — creating employment and boosting the local economy.

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Saving up on energy consumption the smart way

Have you been shopping around for the best medium voltage switchgear and circuit breakers? Are you frustrated because you have been paying heavy electric bills? The first step is to grab an efficient electric control system. Go for the best brand so that you can get hold of gadgets and electric equipment at a reasonable price. Secondly, there are many simple steps that you can follow to reduce your electricity bill. Your bill will reduce by cutting down on the electricity consumption and we will guide you. Reducing your energy consumption Choose LED bulbs Go for an energy-efficient light bulb. For example, you can consider opting for LED bulbs.  They cost about 75% less than incandescent bulbs. The good news is that the LED bulbs do not have any mercury. They last 25 times longer than the traditional bulbs. Try to use power strips You should think along the lines to use power strips. The benefit of the power strips is that you can easily turn off all the devices in one go. When you flip the switch on the power strip, then it is equivalent to unplugging the socket from the wall. Consider eliminating the use of vampire power Are you familiar with the term vampire power? It refers to standby power. Devices like scanners and television even use power when turned off. The best approach is that you should unplug all the devices and appliances not in use. As a result, you will be able to eliminate the vampire power. You will need to make it a rule to turn on only one switch at once. Gradually, you will get into this habit and can reduce your power use. What you must keep in mind is that even your computer uses a lot of electricity. Make it a habit to turn your monitor off in the night. It is also vital to use refrigerator the wise way. For example, you need to set the temperature as recommended by the manufacturer. Ideally, you should not even leave your mobile for overnight charging. It tends to take up power too. Get into the habit of turning off the oven before the cooking time runs out. Your food will continue to cook for a few minutes even when you turn off power. However, you can save up on the power by turning off your oven early. Some people have a habit of peeping into the oven while baking. Well, you should avoid it by all means for sure. When you open the oven during baking, then the temperature drops at 25F. As a result, it tends to take up more electric power. There are times when your appliances use more electricity because you miss out on the maintenance. For example, you should make sure that you defrost your freezer or fridge. If there will be less ice buildup, the appliances will work more efficiency. Try to use natural light when possible. All these efforts will pay off eventually.

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Getting Back into Business: The Comeback Costs After Lockdown

The UK is getting back into business. Gradually, sector by sector, we are beginning to embrace the ‘new normal’, and businesses are once again raring to go. After the most recent loosening of lockdown measures, many pubs, bars, and restaurants have opened their doors to the public again. The likelihood is that it won’t be too long before most offices will begin to reopen as well, and the 8.4 million people who were furloughed and the many working from home will return to their workplace, ready to make up for lost time.   However, it won’t be quite as simple as wandering back to your old desk, greeting your colleagues, and getting back to normal as if nothing has changed. Workplaces are set to undergo a complete transformation, adjusting to the legal requirements of social distancing and the ethical requirements of supplying employees with the necessary PPE to feel safe in the workplace. The new workplace will involve many essential measures, but from squirts of sanitiser to mandatory face masks, how much is this all going to cost? Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown of PPE costs and find out how much the UK is going to have to fork out for the safety and wellbeing of its workers in the following months.  2 pumps of hand sanitiser per hour for every worker — £3,058,560 Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, hand sanitiser has become an essential item, and many wouldn’t leave their home, let alone re-enter the workplace, without one in their bag. Health and Safety England have set out guidelines for the use of hand sanitiser including tips on how to identify a suitable product for your workplace, but how much is this product really going to set us back? For every single full-time employee to get two pumps of hand sanitiser for every hour they are at work, the overall cost for one day back in the office will amount to £3,058,560! And it looks like this measure will certainly be needed for the foreseeable future. 2 face masks for each worker — £72,000,000 Next up, we have face masks. Face masks are absolutely essential for frontline workers and they are now also a legal requirement for anyone travelling on public transport in most parts of the UK. It will be at each business’s own discretion whether or not facemasks are essential in the workplace. But for service industry workers in particular, face masks are of great importance and could play a vital role in protecting staff. In total, the UK would have to fork out £36,000,000 to ensure that each and every full-time worker has access to a face mask. For two masks each, which would be more appropriate, the cost would amount to a staggering £72,000,000. Floor markings in all commercial spaces — £1,234,309,789 Social distancing is set to remain in place as we return to our places of work, with two metres being the original rule, and one metre distancing coming into play when necessary (‘1m-plus’). However, when there is a large number of employees or customers in one space, temporary floor stickers are necessary to uphold the social distancing regulations. In the UK today, there are 678,192,192.00 square metres of commercial space. So, to have social distance markings at every two metres, it will collectively cost £1,234,309,789 for businesses in the UK. A deep clean of all commercial spaces in the UK — £2,373,672,672 As well as getting all the PPE in place as employees gradually re-enter the workplace across the country, businesses are going to have to dramatically step up their hygiene efforts. Naturally, this will call for regular deep cleans so that every surface is left sparkling. For every business to conduct one thorough deep clean, therefore covering every inch of commercial square foot in the country, the overall cost will come to £2,373,672,672. Training — Free! Finally, we have the cost of training staff in essential health and safety procedures. Thankfully, the World Health Organization is offering online training courses completely free of charge. These courses include subjects such as Infection and Prevention Control, health and safety briefings for respiratory diseases, Operational Planning Guidelines, and more.   Overall total — £3,683,041,021 So, for day one back in the office, the collective cost for the UK will be a staggering, £3,683,041,021. The costs may seem steep, but for the businesses that are beginning to reopen, health and safety must be the priority above all else. In relation to a safe return of the workforce, Gary Peeling, Chief Executive Officer at Where The Trade Buys, said: “With shared office spaces gradually reopening, businesses will require numerous health and safety products to ensure the safeguarding of their staff. Ahead of office doors reopening, careful planning will be needed in order to put the necessary protective equipment in place and enhance health and safety measures before employees return to the workplace.” Gary Peeling, CEO at UK commercial print company: Where The Trade Buys, currently producing PPE for UK workplaces, hospitality venues, retail stores, education spaces, charity shops, the NHS and more. The company has also been involved in manufacturing face visors for NHS essential workers in the fight against Covid-19. Sources: Data Sources: Number of employees NOS: Full time workers: Pumps on hand sanitizer: Average cost of hand sanitizer: https://sanitizersupply.co.uk/hand-sanitiser (500ml bottle bulk buy) Average cost of face mask: Commercial square feet: Average cost of a floor sticker when you buy in bulk (100):

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5 Ideas for Using a Mid Century Modern Coffee Table

A coffee table can bring an aura of class and beauty into your living room. When creating your interior décor, a coffee table is one piece of furniture that can help you complete that elegant look that you desire in your living room. They come in many designs and colors, and you can also custom make your own to fit into your space. A mid-century modern coffee table is particularly one which you can use to make your room aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. The tables range in a variety of designs allowing you to play around with your available space. Here are some of the cool ideas of how you can use such tables. 1.    Having Coffee Having coffee is the primary use of these tables. With the table strategically placed next to your couch, you can use it to place kettles and coffee mugs and enjoy a warm glass of the same while relaxed on your sofa. You should always ensure that your table is the right height relative to your sofa. The table should be a little bit low, but too low to enable you to place your mug comfortably. 2.    Placing Decorative Vases While your coffee table is in itself a decorative piece, you can add on to its beauty and the general outlook of your room if you place flower vases and other decorative items on it. Always ensure that the table is not cluttered and that you allow enough space for mugs and kettles. Depending on the shape and design of your coffee table, you can either place these vases at the edge or right in the middle of the table. Most people go with the latter option where you place a decorated bottle with artificial flowers in the middle of the table. 3.    Books and Magazine Storage While you might have a shelf to place your books and magazines, coffee tables give you more space for this purpose. Of course, you do not keep all your books in the table’s storage compartment, but only those you are reading or the magazines you would want your guests to access. The idea is to have a place you can quickly retrieve your book from when you want to relax and read instead of having to go to your shelf often. 4.    Resting Your Legs You can use your coffee table for resting your legs while relaxing on your couch. When you come home tired and just want to relax and catch up on a book or watch your favorite television sitcom, you can sit with your legs outstretched on your table, and enjoy. Just make sure the table is free of other items and is strong enough. 5.    Placing Snacks There are those times that you just want to snack up as you enjoy your movie in the living room. You do not have to hold on to a bowl of snacks that you might even spill accidentally. A coffee table is an ideal place to place such snacks or even a vase full of fruits. 

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