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Clear future for young engineer

Recent graduate Jordan Davison has patented a pioneering nanotechnology coating that could save businesses millions

Posted by Julian Owen | November 29, 2017 | Higher education

Less than two years ago Jordan Davison was made redundant from his job as a turner – now the Sunderland engineer is on the verge of graduating with a degree, a new job, and with an idea that could revolutionise his former trade.

Jordan, 26, from Ryhope, will graduate from BEng Manufacturing Engineering on Wednesday 29 November at the Stadium of Light, and has landed a new role as Lead Quality Engineer at TI Automotive Sunderland. As well as his degree and new job the young engineer’s research at the University of Sunderland has led to the discovery of a revolutionary use of nanotechnology, which could potentially save businesses millions.

Two years ago Jordan was serving his apprenticeship at Express Engineering in Team Valley, when the economic downturn led to him being made redundant. Jordan bounced back and landed a post at Nissan as a Quality Engineer, and decided to return to university to top-up his HNC to a full degree. But his years as a CNC turner never left him, and led to him coming up with a patent to help out his former discipline.

“CNC machines have a glass safety screen which allows you to see all of the tooling and cutting that’s going on inside the machine,” says Jordan. “But the operator’s view of the inside of the machine is often obscured by the coolant liquid that’s applied to the tool.

“When I was a turner I saw a few tooling collisions where it ripped the tool right off, and to repair that is very expensive and time consuming.”

Jordan had read about early experiments applying nanotechnology repellents on car windscreens, and began to research the technique.

“I read a lot of specialist articles and spoke to companies. I was really surprised when I looked into it, that none of the heavy engineering companies who build these machines had ever thought of using nanotechnology to solve this issue.”

Jordan perfected the nanotechnology coating so it could be simply and quickly applied to CNC machines’ glass viewing panes. Working with local business NSERT Jordan was able to significantly cut down on their expenditure.

I was really surprised when I looked into it, that none of the heavy engineering companies who build these machines had ever thought of using nanotechnology to solve this issue - Jordan Davison

From November 2016 their scrap quantities went down from five per cent, to three per cent in April 2017. Their rework time went down from three per cent to one per cent.

The technique also had an impact on downtime. When tooling damage occurs, it’s not simply a matter of restarting the machine, the company have to get a specialist from the machine’s manufacturer to reset the machine. With Jordan’s nanotechnology coating, NSERT managed to get that downtime down to more or less zero.

“They’re over the moon how much it has improved their day to day working environment,” he said. “In the past their view had been totally obscured, but after applying the nano coating all that can be seen are tiny rain droplets.”

Derek Dixon, Senior Lecturer in Engineering, supervised Jordan at the University of Sunderland. He says: “Though Jordan only joined us on the final year of his degree, he has demonstrated academic and personal characteristics that identify him as being an outstanding student and individual.

“Jordan has shown commitment and willingness to learn in bringing a new product to market, and his work with local business NSERT in trialling his product has been excellent.”

Jordan has now patented his technique for the UK, China and the USA, and is preparing to launch his own company, Nano Nano with the support of the University of Sunderland’s business start-up team in the new Hope Street Xchange.

He says: “I’d like to study for a Masters degree and do some further research into applying my patent to other fields.

“It has a lot of possible applications, from the cosmetics industry to contact lenses.”

But Jordan admits that he is surprised how successful and popular his idea has proven to be.

“I thought it was a really obvious idea,” he says, “But it seems that no else had ever thought of it!”

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