Latest News


Teaching the Toyota Prodcution System and the Toyota Way - 4th February 2020 

The South Wales Region welcomed Martyn Hayward for Toyota's LEAN education centre on 4th February to here about the culture of LEAN and how it is implemented in Toyota and other organisations to ensure that continuous improvement is embedded at the heart of the organisation and becomes part of the culture.  The system places a real emphasis on it people who are at the heart of any change   nd can really make a difference to implement change.

The room was packed full of students and professional engineers alike who cam to here about this important topic.  We would like to thank Martyn for giving this talk on our behalf.

Please click on the link here to download a summary of the presentation.



Swansea University Students Excel in Design Competition

In conjunction with Swansea University the South Wales Region hosted a design competition with the faculty of Mechanical Engineering.  Engineering Central was the venue for this latest competition which it is hoped will be held annually to support the Mechanical Engineering discipline in one of our local universities. 

Students were given the task of designing a remote controlled vehicle and producing a design report.  The design study and report were examined by a panel of judges and prizes were given out to the winning students.  Mathew Holt our Young Member’s Panel Chair was on hand along with Dr. Andrew Rees to make the presentations to the winning students.

Prizes were awarded to the following students:

1st place: Rory Crockatt

2nd place: Katie Clark

3rd Place: Evan Millership


17th Ian Hewerdine Memorial Lecture - 19th November 2019
Innovations in Pipework Replacement

Every year we host a  lecture in memory of one of our part Chairmen, Ian Hewerdine who worked for the HSE in Cardiff for a number of years.  This year we were joined by members of the Hewerdine family and Ian's former colleagues for lecture on the replacement of the scour valves and pipework at Talybont Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons. Mr Adam Bush (Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water) was the Project Manager for the project and gave a talk on the innovative techniques that had to be employed in order to achieve a successful and safe outcome for the project.  

The audience heard about the adoption of syphons to keep customers in the supply of fresh waster throughout a dry period in 2018.  Additionally, we heard about the use of submersible vehicles to effect a safe isolation of the pipework allowing operatives to change valves and pipework safely whilst working at depth inside the dam's structure.

We would like to thank Adam and Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water for giving this talk which was suitably fitting given the safety related theme of this lecture. 

If you would like to view a summary of the presentation then you can view it here.


Technical Visit - 18th April 2019
Cardiff Bay Barrage


The South Wales Region and the Institute of Water organised a joint visit following on from our excellent lecture in February on the same subject.  Over 24 members of both organisations attended and were treated to a tour of the control rooms and the sluice gates and locks area during the 2 hour tour.

We would like to thanks Cardiff Bay Harbour Authority and the Institute of Water for helping us with this visit and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future.

  • IMG_0663
  • IMG_0652
  • IMG_0661
  • IMG_0652
  • IMG_0647
  • IMG_0648
  • IMG_0661
  • IMG_0663
  • IMG_0659
  • IMG_0651


Lecture Event - 13th Mar 2019
Transforming Waste into Manufacturing Products


For our NSEW lecture the Region welcomes Mr Damian Walsh of AMGEN Cymru to speak about the Bryn Pica Eco Park located near Aberdare in the South Wales Valleys.  The former open cast mine and land fill site has been transformed into a waste recycling and power generation.  The site was last used as a land fill site in the 1990’s and it originally held over 200kT of waste.  This was reclaimed and the area sterilised and sealed prior to building the Eco Park with a view to recycling waste from several local authorities and generating power by means of an anaerobic digestion plant using food waste from the surrounding area.

Damian explained that the site currently recycles several difficult products such as nappies, paint, mattresses and plastic film.  In addition to this it also recycles hard plastic, wood, metals and glass.

It also processes around 8,000T of waste wood and this is used for heating via a biomass boiler.

Power is generated on the site with approximately 22kT of food waste being used to generate 1.2MW of electricity with direct export to the grid frequently occurring.

Future plans for the Eco Park include a wash plant to clean plastic waste for recycling and re-granulation into manufacturing products.  This will cut down on the carbon footprint as currently washing is undertaken elsewhere and it will also improve the quality of the re-granulated product.

Finally Damian spoke about the key focus for the future as being in collaboration with other local recycling plants and Universities. Ongoing work with Swansea University Mechanical and Chemical Engineering departments will continue and ensure that difficult to recycle products can be re-used and integrated into the supply chain for the manufacturing industries in South Wales

The South Wales Region would like to thank Damian and Rhondda Cynon Taff Council for giving this talk on our behalf. 

Please click on the link to view a summary of the presentation

  • IMG_3517
  • IMG_3517
  • rct-waste


Lecture Event - 5th Feb 2019
Cardiff Bay Groundwater Modelling

On Tuesday 5th February,  Mr. David James of the Cardiff Bay Harbour Authority came to talk to us about the Cardiff Bay Barrage and the modelling of the groundwater in and around Cardiff.

The Cardiff Barrage Act was passed in 1993.  The impoundment of the bay was initiated in November 1999 and is around 200ha in area.  The bay has to deal with one of the largest tidal ranges in the world (14m i.e. +/- 7m) in the Severn estuary.  The barrage typically has to accommodate a 4m groundwater rise inland of the barrage.  Cardiff City Centre is 0.5m Above Ordnance Datum (AOD).

The control of groundwater in the bay region is under an act of parliament.  Cardiff bay is situated on a bed of unconfined and confined gravels.  This is a typical of the geology of most areas in Cardiff.  However there is a swath of Murcia Mudstone running from Barry to the midlands which could affect the groundwater levels.  Underneath the Cardiff area there is a layer of Alluvium (clay) that is impermeable to water apart from one area where a brick works was situated and a clay pit dug to supply the works.

In the early 1990’s ground condition characterisation was initiated leading to layer and grade thicknesses via a standard ground penetration test.  Boreholes where sunk around the Capital to monitor the groundwater levels.  There were 236 boreholes initially with only 178 being in operation in 2019.  Data is logged via pressure sensors every 30 minutes.

A groundwater protection scheme was put in place for 20 years and there has been no detrimental effect to the property and dwellings in the Cardiff Bay area.  It was deemed that anything situated at below 11m AOD would be liable to help if it was proved that the barrage affected the property.

The South Wales Region would like to thank David for giving this talk. 

Please click on the link to view a summary of the presentation


Lecture Event - 15th May 2018
Water Hammer and Surge Analysis in Pipeline Design

On Tuesday 15th February, Mr. Nik John, FIMechE gave our pre AGM lecture on hydraulic analysis and pipeline design.  Nik has a wealth of experience in this area and can be considered as one of the experts in the field.

Nik gave us an overview of hydraulic system design and how water hammer or surge is created in pipelines and some of the fundamentals that are required to understand how surge pressures can be mitigated.

Finally Nik talked us through some of the examples that he has encountered during his career in the design of these systems.

The South Wales Region would like to thank Nik for giving this talk.

Please click on the link to view a summary of the presentation


Lecture Event - 6th February 2018
Lightning Research at Cardiff University

On Tuesday 6th February, Dr. Daniel Mitchard from the Morgan-Botti Lightning  gave the audience an overview of lightning research at Cardiff University.  The laboratory can produce “lightning” of up to 100kvA.  This is normally three  times higher than most lightning strikes.   Of particular interest to the research facility is how lightning interacts with materials and in addition to this how the materials respond to being hit with a bolt of lightning.

Dr. Mitchard showed the electromagnetic fields that are generated when a lightning strike occurs and it was interesting to see the mechanics of how a material reacts which is somewhat different to a “normal” energy impact from more regular force.

The audience was also shown the differences when alternative materials are used to create the lightning arc and the temperatures generated can be in excess of 9500K.

Finally we were shown the continuing research that Cardiff University are undertaking into wildfires.  Of particular interest was how eucalyptus trees survive in the blue mountains of Australia’s East coast after they have been struck by lightning and continue to thrive afterwards.

The South Wales Region would like to thank Dr. Mitchard for giving this talk.


Lecture Event - 26th September 2017
Tidal Energy & Artificial Reefs


It was a welcome return to Pembrokeshire for the South Wales Region and the audience was treated to a very informative lecture from Dr Ruth Callaway who is part of the SEACAMS2 Project running in Swansea University.  Dr Callaway described how renewable energy equipment can serve as an artificial reef for marine life and depending on the materials used, can help with populating the equipment with a variety of marine life. 

It was very interesting to see how marine biology and engineering can work side by side to secure renewable energy and improve the marine population of various species.

The South Wales Region would like to thank Dr. Callaway for giving this talk.

Please take a look at the lecture summary slides here

Please download the conference paper on the subject here


Lecture Event - 16th May 2017
IMechE Heritage - The Hidden Story

John Wood who is a past President of the IMechE and current chair of the heritage division gave our pre-AGM lecture this year.  John described the work of the heritage division and what criteria need to be met when considering a particular engineering artefact for heritage status.  John gave the audience a brief tour of the UK’s engineering heritage and what is left of the estate after much has been demolished or left to ruin.

John then proceeded to show us the many success stories that have been preserved or renovated for the benefit of all.

Of particular interest to the audience, was the selection criteria of what makes a good candidate for a heritage award.  The definitions of “significant”;  “accessible”; and are replicas and reproductions considered?  These headings provided attendees with a valuable insight to how the heritage division works and how they make the decision of what gets an award – or not!

 Again the South Wales Region would like to thank John for delivering this highly informative talk on our behalf.


Please take a look at the lecture summary slides here


Lecture Event - 14th March 2017
Bloodhound SSC - An Engineering Adventure

On Tuesday 14th March we held our National Science & Engineering Week lecture in Swansea University.  This year Dr. Ben Evans of Swansea University came to talk to us about the design of the Bloodhound SSC, the car that will be attempting the world land speed record and aiming to achieve 1000mph.

Dr. Evans showed us the varying engineering challenges that presented themselves when trying to evaluate how a vehicle will perform at these speeds and also how it will interact with the ground when the car finally is launched in South Africa in 2018.

Dr Evans started the talk by showing us what happens when you move from sub-sonic speed to super-sonic speeds and the physical effects from stationary to supersonic  and the pressures that are involved, which, are in excess of 12t/m2 over the surface of the vehicle.  Next, we were given an overview of the Spray Drag Model using Computational Fluid Dynamics. It was also refreshing to see how the technology has been transferred to process industries which has resulted in competitive advantage for partner companies.

Additionally, a discussion around the many design changes and model revisions of the vehicle was particularly interesting.  This is of particular importance when one considers that the changes to the vehicle has moved from major to subtle over the course of the project.

The South Wales Region would like to thank Dr. Evans for giving the lecture on our behalf.

Please take a look at the lecture summary slides here


Lecture Event - 15th November 2016
State of the Art Methods for Studying Corrosion in Metal and Alloys

Prof. James Sullivan from Swansea University came to give the 15th Ian Hewerdine Memorial Lecture on behalf of The South Wales Region.  The audience was treated to several methods for studying corrosion away from the more traditional methods

The talk commenced with a look at how the technology works using a Scanning Vibrating Electrode Technique (SVET) and the difference between scanning techniques both spatial and time resolved.  Additionally, we were shown the chemical reactions present in a corrosive environment. 

Prof. Sullivan also showed us how this technology works across applications in the world of forensics.  The scanning technique can be used to increase the human fingerprint on metal objects so that any imprint is clearer for analysis.  Even when the object is subjected to extreme heat, the finger print remains on the surface of the metal and this was proved by showcasing a spent gun cartridge with a test fingerprint upon it!

 The South Wales Region would like to thanks Prof. Sullivan for giving this lecture on our behalf.

Please take a look at the lecture summary slides here


Lecture Event - 27th September 2016
From Daedalus to delta wing - Engineering safer aircraft

Dr. Ryan Marks, Research Associate from Cardiff University came to give this talk on our behalf on the structural health monitoring work that he has been undertaking in partnership with aerospace companies who are looking to take condition monitoring of aircraft to the next level.

The talk commenced with a look back at the aircraft failures of the past and what series of events occurred in order that they should have happened.

Ryan talked about the acoustic analysis work that has been done to highlight potential areas of damage in the aircraft structure before they become dangerous.  He showed us the intention to create a central nervous system on an aircraft that is similar to the human body by including a range of sensors so that any damage sustained to the aircraft is automatically registered as such and analysed for its potential severity.

Dr. Marks showed how his work is also across technologies with a brief but interesting look at damage detection on wind turbine blades.

The South Wales Region would like to thanks Dr. Marks for giving this lecture on our behalf.

Please take a look at the lecture summary slides here


Lecture Event - 17th May 2016
Cavitation in pumps - A system approach

This was the second time that the South Wales Region have held a lecture after the AGM and the attendance was very high.  Nearly 50 people came along to listen to Mr. Dennis Goodlad CEng FIMechE talk about the phenomena of cavitation in centrifugal pumps.  Dennis started his talk with a review of pump hydraulics theory and then followed this up with an introduction on what cavitation actually is.  We were shown the experiment at whereby water can be made to boil at 408C if the pressure is low enough.  Many of the audience remembered this from their school physics lessons but now with the added relevance of significant professional experience!

Dennis also showed some excellent high speed photography detailing the actual air bubble collapse and the resultant release of energy which leads to erosion of the pump impeller.  There were also several slides showing what happens if cavitation is allowed occur over extended periods of pump operation.

Whilst this lecture was kept mainly to the pumping of water, the audience contributed through the lecture by bringing various case studies of their own to share with the rest of the group which stimulated the discussion around the topic of pumping other fluids and the inherent problems that these can bring to hydraulic systems.

Finally Dennis discussed ways to alleviate cavitation in pumps and the steps designers could take to reduce the chances of this occurring in hydraulic systems.  Several case studies were presented during the talk including a large sewage pumping system installed at Beckton WwTW in London.

Please feel free to download a summary of the lecture here.



Annual Dinner - 6th May 2016
Wg. Cdr. Andy Green - Pilot Bloodhound SSC

 On Friday 6th May the South Wales Region held is annual dinner in City Hall, Cardiff. This year nearly 100 guests had the pleasure of listening to and meeting Wg. Cdr. Andy Green who is the pilot of the Bloodhound SSC which will be making an attempt on the world land speed record in 2017.  Andy currently holds the record which was set at 763mph in 1997 in the Thrust SSC vehicle.  Andy started his speech by recounting his career and the series of events that have lead him and the bloodhound team to the verge of the land speed record attempt.  He also mentioned the considerable amount of work that has been undertaken in Wales by Swansea University in the field of computational fluid dynamics to ensure that the car will run at speeds in excess of 1000mph.  He also relayed that some of the problems faced by the engineering team with regard to the car’s performance and handling are still unknown, because no one has ever attempted anything like this before!

After the dinner, Andy was on hand to answer questions from the audience and sign autographs for the many people who stayed on to speak with him.

This year we were also joined by President Elect, Jon Hilton who gave us his vision of what he would like to do during his presidency in 2016 -2017.  Jon has had a very successful career in motorsport which would be the envy of many engineers working in the field today.  It was very refreshing to hear that he wanted engineers to help each other and share knowledge where they are able and to collaborate as much as possible.

Special thanks must go to the Taliesin String Quartet who provided the entertainment for the evening.



Social Event - 25th March 2016
An Evening with Lowri Morgan

On Friday 25th March The South Wales Region held its 5th Members & Partners evening.  This event was originally set up to welcome new members and their partners to the IMechE.  This year our speaker for the evening was Lowri Morgan who is an extreme athlete.  Lowri  is one of only six people in the world to ever complete the notoriously difficult 350 mile non-stop footrace '6633 Ultra' in the Arctic and the challenging Jungle Ultra Marathon in the Amazon Forest.

S4C's (Channel 4 Wales') cameras followed her adventures in the highly acclaimed Ras yn Erbyn Amser (Race Against Time) series, which Lowri also produced. Both series were awarded numerous awards including the highest accolade in the Celtic Media Festival and won Best Presenter and Best Documentary Series at the 2012 BAFTA Awards.

 The first series saw Lowri completing the Jungle Marathon in the Amazon. In the heat and humidity of the jungle, out of the 150 top runners only 50 finished. She finished the race in the top ten in her first ever ultra marathon.

What shone through during the talk was Lowri’s vast amount of fitness, resilience, positive mental attitude and at times stubbornness, she has in order to achieve her goals!

The talk was followed by an excellent Q&A session and a buffet.


Lecture - 15th March 2016
Lightning Interaction with Composite Aircraft

On Tuesday 15th March Dr. Daniel Mitchard of the Cardiff based Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory came to Swansea University to present to us on how lightning interacts with aircraft now that they are predominantly manufactured from composite materials.  Dr Mitchard started off the talk by describing how the laboratory in Cardiff actually works.  Utilising some very large capacitors and bespoke switch gear, the laboratory can generate up to 200kA of current or lightning to simulate a typical strike.  This figure is the maximum that has been seen in nature, however, 100kA is typically e used for regular testing purposes.  From initial experiments using non-metallic and metallic models to the more complex composite models, Dr Mitchard demonstrated how the lightning hunts for a low impedance path to earth and typically this is via the aircraft.

Following on from this, demonstration videos were shown of what aircraft manufacturers employ to mitigate the effects of a lightning strike.  One such measure was the incorporation of a wire mesh which acts as a “faraday cage” so that the current flows around the outer body of the aircraft.  What was also very good to see were the numerous visual aids that Dr Mitchard brought along which stimulated a lot of post talk discussions with the many students that were in attendance.

The South Wales Region would like to thank Dr. Mitchard for giving the talk during National Science & Engineering Week.

Please download the slides for a summary of the lecture here.


Lecture - 21st September 2015
Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Mr Adam Huckstep, Engineering Director of Intelligent Energy gave the very informative talk in our new venue of Hereford.  The company are an independent British technology development company commercialising fuel cell technology and this focus is on automotive applications.

The talk looked at applications of fuel cell technology in automotive area as well as consumer electronics with Adam showing a fuel cell that was being used to charge his smartphone!

The talk not only looked at the science behind fuel cells but also discussed the commercialisation of the technology and the adoption of fuel cell powered cars by the consumer.  Several technological challenges were discussed such as hydrogen production, storage and delivery to the combustion point in the engine.

The talk was concluded by a lively Q&A session which was contributed to, by many of the audience that had came along to find out more about this new field of engineering.

Please download the slides for a summary of the lecture here.

Once again the South Wales Region would like to extend its thanks to Adam and Intelligent Energy for giving this informative talk on our behalf.


Lecture - 12th May 2015
Off Highway Braking Systems

Mr Keith Williams of Carlisle Braking Systems was the speaker for this lecture which followed our AGM for 2015.  Keith not only took us through the theoretical side of braking technology but also gave an overview of where the industry is going over the next few years with regard to new development and incorporating some of the technology commonly found in passenger cars.  These were the introduction of anti-lock (ABS) and traction control (ESP) systems.

The lecture started with a look at the theoretical side of braking with particular regard to how designers determine how much braking force is required for each vehicle coupled with the gear ratio of the machine so that adequate braking force can be applied by the system.

Looking at various method for off highway braking such as the "ball on ramp" system and then booster/mastercylinder hybrid assemblies Keith explained how the industry looks to increase the capacity of it's braking system which are predomiantly hydraulic with "servo" assistance from the vehicle's air systems.

Finally an overview of the commercial aspects of braking systems and how this fits in the global marketplace just showed the audience how much this technology is being employed in the "BRIC" economy.

Once again the South Wales Region would like to extend its thanks to Keith Williams and Carlisle Braking Systems Ltd for giving this informative talk on our behalf.


Friday 8th May, 2015
Annual Dinner at Cardiff City Hall

Friday 8th May and the venue was Cardiff City Hall.  This year the South Wales Region were joined by Dr. Colin Brown, Engineering Director of the IMechE and Geoff Baker, Chair of the Regional Strategy Board.  Colin was on hand to give an Award to Cardiff University Student Lucy Onyett who completed an outstanding year of work during her time in industry on the IMechE’s accredited MPDS scheme. Additionally, Colin gave an award to our Chair, Keith Craig who was standing down after two years in the role.

 Our Guest Speaker for the evening was Wynne Evans, an international tenor and probably even more well known as the star and character “Gio Compario” featured in the TV advertisements for the company Go Compare.  Again we were treated to a fantastic four course dinner and then entertained by Wynne after the formal speeches.  As a finale we listened to the power of Wynne Evans’ voice from his rendition of the song “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)”



Tuesday 21st  April, 2015
Region Visit to Airborne Systems, Nr. Bridgend


On Tuesday the 21st of April, The South Wales Region hosted an MP visit to Airborne Systems Ltd in Llangeinor, Nr Bridgend.  Huw Irranca-Davies MP for Ogmore was accompanied by Keith Craig South Wales Region Chair and Sian Brake, South Wales Region Young Members Chair.  Mr Irranca-Davies was given a full tour of the manufacturing facility by the Managing Director of European operations Mr. Chris Rowe.   Afterwards, Huw signed the IMechE commitment to manufacturing pledge.  The event was part of the engagement that the South Wales are looking for with people at national government level. 

Huw Irancca-Davies is pictured alongside South Wales Chair Keith Craig, and Mr. Chris Rowe MD of Airbone Systems Europe.



17th March 2015 - Lecture

Inside The Human Body, Seeing With Ultrasound


The South Wales Region were delighted to welcome Professor Peter Wells CBE, FRS, FREng of Cardiff University to give our National Science & Engineering Week Lecture.  It was also encouraging to see many students from the medical engineering society at Swansea University.  Prof. Wells commenced the lecture by giving us an overview of what ultrasound is and how it can be used to see inside the human body.  In his talk he contrasted the use of ultrasound with that of X-Ray technology and what the main differences are between the two in terms of application.  When showing the frequency and particle displacement amplitude at which medical ultrasound operates it was surprising to see the evolution of the technology.  Of particular interest to mechanical engineers was the use of elastography or elasticity imaging technology where the Young’s Modulus and Poisson’s Ratio of the different types of body tissue are used to give a view of what is happening within the body.


Additionally the use of micro bubbles using Marcel Minneart’s (1933) equation was also very interesting to the attendees of this lecture. 


Finally the lecture concluded with an overview of applications for medical ultrasound with some of the equipment that is now available to medical practitioners resembling a compact smart phone!


The Q&A session was wholly supported with some extremely relevant questions being asked by the audience. 



16th March 2015
Engineering Education Scheme Wales Event
Celtic Manor, Newport

Once again the South Wales Region was in attendance at the Engineering Education Scheme Wales Event at Celtic Manor, Newport.  Each year the South Wales Region supplies a good number of assessors for the day as well as sponsoring a prize for the best consideration of safety issues.  This year it was won by Ysgol Duffryn Taf, from Camarthenshire who along with Princes Gate Mineral Water looked at a scheme that involved layout of the warehouse facilities and the introduction of lighting regime within the warehouse space to reduce the risk to personnel but also to reduce the amount of energy being used to provide light to the area.

The South Wales Region also had a stand at the event which was staffed by our YMP Chair, Sian Brake and YMP Secretary Kerry Tudor.  Thanks must go to them for all of the good work that they did throughout the day interacting with potential members about their career aspirations as well as teachers who wanted some advice with regard to what the South Wales Region can offer in terms of support for key stages of the curriculum.  It was also an opportunity to distribute our new merchandise consisting of pens, erasers and mugs!


13th March 2015
Members & Partners Social Evening
Dr. Rhys Jones, BBC Wales


This is the fourth time that the South Wales Region have held a members and partners social evening.  Every year the Region extends a warm welcome to members both new and existing to join us for an entertaining yet informative evening.  The Bear Hotel, Cowbridge was the venue and Dr. Rhys Jones of BBC Wales was the speaker for the evening.

Dr Rhys Jones holds a BSc in Zoology and Genetics, an MPhil in Medical Molecular Entomology and a PhD in Genetics, Phylogeography, Parasitology and Herpetology. Rhys holds the title of Distinguished Visiting Fellow to Cardiff University where he lectures in various topics including Wolf Ecology, Reptile Mitigation and Cardiff's flagship Animal Diversity module. He has also lectured annually on the Cardiff University Tropical Ecology Field course in Kenya since 2005.

Rhys is also the star in his own BBC Wales television programme titled “Rhys to the Rescue” where he travels around Wales helping local police forces and animal protection organisations rescue animals.  He also provides assistance to the police with regard to the illegal trade in Rhinoceros horn and showed us the scientific work that he has done in DNA sequencing of different types of Rhinoceros horn to determine its origin.

After an extended Q&A session the talk was followed by an excellent buffet and networking opportunity.  Our thanks must go to Rhys for spending so much time with us during the evening and we wish him well with his future research and broadcasting endeavours.



2015 Publications

IMechE HQ in London have produced a new "get registered" leaflet .  Please click on the link below to download your copy now!
 Get Registered Leaflet

The 2015 Learning & Development guide for IMechE Sponsored courses is now available.  Please click on the link below to download your copy now!
2015 Training Guide


17th November 2014

12th Ian Hewerdine Memorial Lecture
Safety In The Skies


The 12th Ian Hewerdine Memorial Lecture was given by Pete Finlay who was the Senior Flight Engineer on The Concorde Fleet.  Pete delivered an extremely informative lecture on the issues surrounding flight safety.  Pete has over 13,000 hours flying experience and holds commercial pilots license for both the US and UK.  Focusing, mainly on the human aspects of flight safety and how small mistakes and oversights can sometimes lead to catastrophic results was very interesting to the audience that attended this memorial lecture.  Using several case studies to emphasise the issues Pete treated the attendees to his own personal opinion of why flight safety can sometimes be compromised.  The lecture concluded with an in depth analysis of what went wrong on the Air France Concorde incident that contributed to the decommissioning of the Concorde fleet.  With active participation from the audience in the Q&A session at the end of the lecture everyone surely left the event having learned something new about flight safety engineering.  The South Wales Region would like to convey their thanks to Pete Finlay for giving this lecture on our behalf.


11th November 2014

2015 Programme Lecture
Hitachi Super Express Trains for the Electrified Great Western Mainline


This event which was run in conjunction with our Railway Division offered attendees the chance not only to attend a very interesting lecture from Hitachi Trains but First Great Western also gave an insight into what is required by a Train Operating Company (TOC) in order to operate a 21st Century mass transit operation. Firstly attendees were given a very interesting overview of what will be happening with regard to the electrification of The Great Western Mainline with paying particular attention to infrastructure improvements. It was then over to Sean Dennington who is fleet deployment manager for Hitachi Trains, where he described the facilities that will be required to manufacture rail vehicles (In Newton Ayecliffe, Co. Durham) and also service and maintain them along the M4 corridor.  It was especially refreshing to see the design intent being displayed with regard to the design of the driver’s cockpit area as well as the excellent news that the railway sidings at Swansea will be refurbished and used for maintenance of the new rail vehicle fleet.   Sean and Mary were also on hand to discuss the finer points with attendees for quite a while after the lecture.  Afterwards there was the opportunity for delegates to attend a networking event in The Technium at Swansea University where Arriva Trains Wales and other organisations were on hand to discuss careers in the rail industry.



27th October 2014

2015 Programme Lecture
Marine Energy In Wales - Current Status

This year the South Wales Region decided to hold another lecture in Swansea University instead of our normal venue of Cardiff.  Dr. Ian Masters of the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) based in Swansea University gave a very insightful lecture  on all of the marine energy projects that are happening around the coastline of Wales. Anyone who has read the press recently will be aware of the Swansea Bay Lagoon Project as well as the Severn Barrage however Dr. Masters told the audience about the many other small scale (by comparison) projects that are happening off the coast of Anglesey as well as Pembrokeshire and the Bristol Channel.

Discussions around the various types of tidal energy machines that can be employed to generate electricity were presented, with regard to the pros and cons associated with each method.  After the talk, a robust question and answer session took place which could have continued for quite a while given the high quality of the questions being asked by an attentive audience.

The South Wales Region would like to thank Dr. Masters for his time in delivering this excellent lecture.

Please feel free to download a summary of the lecture here.


22nd October 2014

Presidential Visit To South Wales Region

Group Captain Mark Hunt, who is the youngest ever president of the IMechE came to South Wales on 21st October.  His day was split into two visits in the Region.  In the morning, Group Captain Hunt visited University of Wales Trinity St. David in Swansea where he learned about the current and new undergraduate and post graduate courses in automotive and motorsport engineering.  After  tour of the facilities and a meeting with the faculty staff Group Captain Hunt met with students and discussed their future ambitions and what they wanted from the IMechE.  After a short exchange of gifts and lunch with head of school - Dr Owen Williams it was on to Calsonic Kansei Radiators in Llanelli where a tour was arranged by the CEO of the company James Davies and COO Tsukasa Fujii.


7th October 2014

2015 Programme Lecture - Corrosion Evaluation

Once again the IMechE south Wales Region travelled to Pembrokeshire to host a lecture for our members in the West.  This evening's lecture featured new developments in corrosion evaluation techniques especially with regard to galvanising techniques.  Dr James Sullivan, Associate Professor at Swansea University introduced us to the various alloying elements that are now available to enhance the traditional zinc coatings that have been used to protect steel for many years.  The audience was shown coated crystal growth using additions of Magnesium and Germanium which in the case of the latter looked absolutely incredible and certainly not like something that you would normally associate with sacrificial coatings.  It is perhaps unsurprising then to learn that some of these applications have space exploration applications.

Finally, Dr. Sullivan explained the novel corrosion evaluation technique that he has developed using time lapse photography and a Scanning Vibration Electrode Technique or SVET for short which has been a real success story for Swansea University for many years.

The South Wales Region would like to thank Dr. Sullivan for this very interesting and informative lecture.


12th July 2014

Summer Social - Elan Valley Visitors Centre  

Over 30 people attended what was our most successful, and certainly enjoyable summer social event to date.  With a mixture of both adults and children in attendance it was great to see lots of different people who haven't come to an event before. 
    First on the agenda for the day was "The Dambusters Walk" where we journeyed to the Nant-y-Gro dam which was used in scale tests for the explosives used in the bouncing bomb.  Our photo gallery shows what was left after the dam was destroyed as part of the bouncing bomb project.  After the walk, we returned to the visitors centre for a fantastic buffet lunch followed by a technical talk by  Tracey Williamson CEng, Reservoirs Safety Manager for Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water.  For the younger people a wonderful bug hunt was organised by the Elan Valley Rangers, followed by a much deserved ice cream!

Following the technical lecture and bug hunt it was time to jump in the Landrover and make our way to the Pen-y-Garreg dam where members were allowed to walk inside the dam to the valve tower (which is now registered for civil ceremonies) and take a unique view of the dam layout.  We returned to the visitors centre after the tour where we all departed for home after some light refreshments.

On behalf of the South Wales Region a massive thanks must go to Tracey Williamson, Alan Samuel and Janice Vincett who really made the day!


22nd May 2014

Engineer's Question Time @ The Senedd  

On invitation from the IET our very own Vice-Chairman, Andy Pugh was asked to join a panel of engineers for a "question time" style event at The Senedd, Cardiff Bay.  The whole event was recorded so if you missed the event then you can listen to the whole recording by clicking on the link below.
                                  Engineer's Question Time


18th March 2014

2014 Programme Lecture - Prognostic Engine Health Monitoring

It was reassuring to see so many students taking time out to attend our annual National Science and Engineering Week lecture at Swansea University.  With over 60 attendees the Faraday lecture theatre was certainly the right venue for this evening event.  Mr Chris Burden from Rolls Royce was our speaker for the evening.
    The lecture commenced by detailing how traditional component monitoring has been employed to understand how components perform in service and ultimately fail.  The speaker was keen to emphasise that the job facing engineers is to know when the optimum time is to replace the component due to wear or fatigue.  Too soon and you have expensive maintenance costs, too late and the damage could be beyond repair.  Chris gave everyone an introduction into Medium Frequency Energy Transfer (MFET) and how acoustic emissions technology can be used to interpret "stress waves" in rotating objects so that these "waves" can be monitored and understood.
      The lecture concluded with an depth Q&A session which was wholly supported by the many attendees and diverse engineering disciplines at the lecture.
    On behalf of the South Wales Region we would like to offer our sincere thanks  to Mr Chris Burden for this lecture which gave all of the attendees a useful insight into the field of how condition monitoring can help predict the life of complex assemblies such as the aero engine. 


4th February 2014

2014 Programme Lecture - Tidal Stream Energy

It was very reassuring to see so many people making the difficult trip along the M4 (due to traffic conditions!) for this lecture on alternative energy solutions.  Prof. Tim O'Doherty of Cardiff University gave an in depth presentation on the challenges that face the tidal energy industry.  Taking the presentation from the beginnings of the technology all the way through to functional testing and condition monitoring was very interesting indeed. 
    The lecture commenced by detailing the fundamental challenges that all renewable energy technologies face when being compared to traditional fossil fuel sources.  We were then presented with various prototype models that have, and are being tested in the various research institutions around the United Kingdom.  Additionally, several finite element and boundary condition models were presented and along with computational fluid dynamic models made for a deep understanding of the tools being used to simulate this emerging technology.  The lecture concluded with a robust Q&A session which was wholly supported by the many attendees at the lecture.
      On behalf of the South Wales Region we would like to offer our sincere thanks  to Prof. O'Doherty for this lecture which gave all of the attendees a useful insight into the field of tidal stream energy. 


8th October 2013

2013-2014 Programme Lecture - Thrust or Bust?

It was good to see so many other local institutions in attendance for this event and as well as students from all of the Universities in South Wales taking the opportunity to listen to our speaker Dr. Cameron Pleydell-Pearce from Swansea University.
    The lecture detailed the rigorous testing procedure that any aircraft engine component has to undergo before it can be considered ready for service as well as the developments in gas turbine component material technology.
    The lecture was excellent for novices and experts in the field alike because Dr Pleydell-Pearce started by leading the audience through the evolution of gas turbine technology conlcuding with the more detailed science behind what makes an efficient and safe gas turbine engine.  He finished off the lecture with an excellent Q&A session which was wholly supported by the attendees at the lecture.
      Our sincere thanks must go to Cameron for this excellent lecture and we hope to secure his attendance at future lectures. 


25th September 2013

2013-2014 Programme - First Lecture 

Tubes! - A New Family

This was the first event of our 2013-2014 programme and building on the success of last year we decided to return to the Bridge Innovation Centre for our lecture based in Pembrokeshire.  This year Dr Chris Owen and Mr Jim Parley from Tata Steel - Tubes gave us a presentation on the new range of welded steel tubes and how the various specifcations relating to conveyance pipelines can be applied.  With many samples being passed around the audience it truly was an interactive experience!  Another clear benefit of the talk was the promise of CPD certificates which has resulted in many of the attendees reqeusting them from the presenters.


14th July 2013

Summer Social Event 

Dean Forest Railway & Clearwell Caves 

Over twenty members and guests made the trip to Dean Forest Railway & Clearwell Caves on Sunday 14th July.

We were treated to an "exclusive" train ride in our very own reserved carriage from Norchard station which took around an hour with a stop for much needed drinks and ice creams  due to the wonderfully warm weather. 

When we finally arrived back in Norchard Station it was time to depart for Clearwell caves that are ancient iron mines which are still being worked to today to provide colour for paint products and cosmetics.  The temperature in the caves below was in stark contrast to the surface where temperatures all year round stay at 10ºC.  Sincere thanks must go to our guide for the afternoon who showed us the past  workings of the mine and how the industrial revolution impacted the whole area.

After the tour it was time to go to The Old Barn at Llanmartin for much needed refreshment and a superb buffet!

Many thanks go to Dr. A. Clarke for organising this event for the Region. 


17th May 2013

Annual Dinner - Student Awards 

Every year the South Wales Region gives a prize to the best overall student on an MPDS.  This year we had a tie so the award was given to two deserving students, Constance Lewis and Andrew Niland.   

Constance Lewis is a student at the Cardiff School of Engineering and is in the penultimate year of a degree in Integrated Engineering. She spent her year in industry at Cummins Generator Technologies in Stamford, Lincolnshire where she worked as a Lean Manufacturing Deployment Placement with the Global Operations Transformation Team.

Her areas of interest include Lean and its application to industry and Sustainable Design and Development.

Andrew Niland is also a Mechanical Engineering student at Cardiff University.  He took the opportunity for a Year In Industry working with Plant Asset Management, Petrofac. He found a passion for engineering consultancy in the oil and gas sector and enjoyed many new and exciting experiences. He is am looking forward to continuing work with Plant Asset Management during my summer break and after completion of my studies.

Constance and Andrew are pictured below with Derek Brockway From BBC Wales and the Met. Office.


23rd April Lecture Review

A Bulk Nano-Crystalline Metal 

Over sixty people attended this excellent lecture by Prof. Harry Bhadeshia of Cambridge University.  Prof. Bhadeshia showed how the structure of a metal can be refined using a novel heat treatment process to align the crystal structure so that it can be incredibly tough and also has high value applications with regard to end use.  The lecture focused on how the final structure of the metal can be realised with a sequence of heat treatments which over a period of time can be fine tuned so realise the desired microstructure. 

There is no new manufacturing technology required, the fabrication of the steel is conventional. But the heat–treatment is far from conventional, involving periods of up to ten days at temperatures in the vicinity of 200°C. The end result is a hardness in excess of 700 HV, strength of the order of 2.5 GPa, uniform ductility in the range7-27%, and toughness in the range 30–50 MPa m1/2.

Again this was a cross Institution lecture which also involved the South Wales Materials Association and IOM3 which just goes to show the close links that we have forged with them here in the South Wales Region.


19th March Lecture Review

Novel Developments in the Design of Helicopter Rotor Blades


This was a joint lecture with RAeS, IOM3 and SWMA and was presented by Simon Stacey of Agusta Westland.  The lecture focussed on the development of helicopter rotor blades from their initial design right through to modern day aircraft applications.  The audience was treated to an excellent lecture consisting of a combination of slides, videos and physical samples to emphasise the particular issues faced when designing helicopter rotor blades.  The attendees were shown a film of the Agusta Westland Merlin helicopter which features in the latest James Bond feature film and was also given an in depth techical presentation on the British Experimental Rotor Program (BERP) that the speaker had been working on for a number of years.


© 2011 Institution of Mechanical Engineers. IMechE is a registered charity in England and Wales number 206882