As a Design Engineer at Ransomes Jacobsen [TSV] I largely worked in Continuous Improvement, where we addressed various design shortcomings in our product range. These mainly centred around mechanical failures and ease of manufacture issues. I was involved in two major projects:
The first was the low cycle fatigue failure of exhaust pipes caused by thermal expansion. Here I carried out much of the design work for one proposed solution. This involved designing a system, manufacturing the parts in the Prototyping department, fitting it to the machine and then extensively testing (physical/FEA). The testing was then used to inform the next design iteration until the system was fully refined. Having proved that the solution was effective, it was then evaluated against factors such as cost and ease of manufacture before being compared to the other design solutions.
The second was an extensive redesign of the cutting units, used on our 3-gang Articulated Rotary Mowers. In this project, I was entrusted with leading the mechanical design, from concept to initial preproduction Alpha build and testing phase. This project forced me to take on a high level of responsibility in delivering a viable solution directly to a customer within a very tight timeframe. (See below my redesigned machine during service cut testing).
In addition, I supported the transition of the American product line for manufacture in the UK. This huge business move now sets up Textron’s Centre of Excellence for Turf Care in Ipswich. This involved updating parts and drawings for manufacture using the tooling and processes available in Ipswich, checking the viability of replacement hydraulic fittings and filing relevant design changes through ‘Engineering Change Orders’. Of course, this transition was hardly made easy by the global supply chain disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic!