In our past two posts, PTC Mathcad Takes on the Demanding World of the Oil and Gas Industry and From University to the Oil and Gas Industry, PTC Mathcad A Reliable Tool you were introduced to Luke Devall, a graduate engineer who specializes in design at Neptune Subsea Engineering. In Devall’s spare time he has been working to start Enghance, a community for professional engineers that all allows them to share resources, interact with others, and keep up to date with the latest engineering news.
As cofounder of Enghance, Devall works alongside Gareth Fuller who comes from a Mechanical Engineering background at the University of Aberdeen and now currently works as a graduate analysis engineer for a subsea consultancy called PDi. There he analyzes rigid and flexible pipelay using Orcina’s OrcaFlex software package.
Enghance.com emerged while both were in University. The site was born out of frustration over the existing engineering community sites. They noticed that these existing sites lacked the interactive and user friendly tools that they had become accustomed to through various social networking sites and felt the engineering community deserved a modern, easy to use, but feature rich community site. Thus Enghance.com became the simple resource sharing application it is today.
But Devall and Fullers’ aspirations don’t stop there. They explain,
“Our vision for Enghance is to be the first place engineers think to go when they are searching for engineering solutions. Whether that is custom calculators, technical documents, engineering related questions, etc. Most of all we want Enghance to become a place where enthusiastic engineers interact and share aspects of their work. We’re always looking for ideas from engineers on how to achieve this.”
One idea they’ve had so far would be a timeline for engineering projects. Devall and Fuller believe this feature would allow others to follow and interact with engineers working on interesting projects. Because they are engineers themselves they believe their background helps them focus on the features they think engineers like them would consider to be fun and valuable to use.
For Devall and Fuller, sharing among engineers is a very valuable tool. They say
“We believe and have been taught that the best solution to any problem is found when built on top of existing solutions to the same or a similar problem. For example, engineering students undertaking the annual Formula student challenge will generally produce a more competitive car if they build upon the previous year’s design.
It’s the same in the Oil & Gas industry, internally after every project there will be a lessons learned meeting where all issues with the project are documented. This allows the companies involved to deliver safer more efficient projects in the future. The problem with this is that the lessons learned are seldom shared further and therefore others are left to make the same mistakes. So we believe that through Enghance or alternative solutions the engineering community as a whole could develop safer, more efficient solutions by sharing resources and other digital solutions. “
On Enghance.com there was a recent short blurb on PTC Mathcad Express that reads
“Mathcad is offering their “Mathcad Express” software for free on an unlimited basis. I have used Mathcad for years at my old job, it’s the best package I’ve used for producing engineering calculations. In particular it handles all units and unit conversions for you, and allows you to produce an easily readable and printable document that can be checked by others (unlike excel where the working is hidden). The free version has some limitations (cannot use programming functions, cannot integrate excel sheets etc), but as far as I can tell these will not be a problem at all for most engineering calculation work. Worth a look!”
We certainly believe that PTC Mathcad Express is an important tool for engineers to be made aware of, especially if they find value in sharing calculations with each other. With this free for life tool, engineers can clearly calculate and document their engineering calculations and easily share with others who download the free software.
Devall and Fuller state,
“Mathcad is an invaluable tool in the engineering world. Anything which can make an engineer’s work more efficient is a plus. Mathcad’s defined units makes life simpler and will also flag errors in your working (we are all human after all).
Using Mathcad allows work to be presentable, which is extremely important when dealing with clients. It allows them to see each parameter defined and saves a lot of questions.
Engineers are often victim to last minute changes e.g. the power rating being changed or a change of material. In the past this would lead to a complete re-work of calculations but with Mathcad you’ll just need to change one number and the rest is changed automatically. Mathcad also allows for a great flow of information. For example, in the office another engineer might pick up someone’s work, but with Mathcad it is easy to see what has been done and it is easy to continue to work on the same problem without asking questions.
In short Mathcad is a clean, short, and efficient tool for completing calculations.”