Kingswinford – Did You Know – Trivia :-)

We came across these “Did You Know” trivia facts in the local paper and thought we’d share :

  • Kingswinford is mentioned in the Doomsday book
  • In Roman times and for centuries afterwards Kingswinford was a dense primeval forest.
  • Records show that in 1920 coal was being mined in the area and in the 1600’s ironstone was also being extracted.
  • Kingswinford has links to the gunpowder plot when Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Several of his co conspirators were captured and killed at Holbeche House where they had taken refuge in 1605 after fleeing when the plot was uncovered.
  • Many of the streets on the Charterfields housing estate built during the 1970’s adopted names of the gunpowder plot conspirators including Catesby Drive, Digby Road, Keyes Drive, Tresham Road, Ambrose Crescent, Monteagle Drive and Rosewood Close.
  • Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick from Kingswinford were among the founding fathers of America.
  • The couple were early immigrants to the American colonies going there in 1627 on what was thought to be the second crossing of the ship, The Mayflower.
  • In 2004, Kingswinford was put on high alert when it was announced that a crocodile was sighted in a local park.

What can you tell us about your work location ??

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Posted in Engineering Design, Nova Design News

Happy Birthday Nova Design

Happy Birthday Nova Design - 27 Years Old on 1 August 2015

1 August 2015 sees Nova Design celebrating 27 years in business, all this time providing subcontract engineering design services to a variety of industries across the West Midlands, the UK and into Europe.

Starting as a new business in August 1988, Nova was started by Dave Parry (Nova’s Managing Director) and business commenced on the second floor of Pensnett House in Kingswinford around 500 metres from our current location.

In those days, engineering design was still very much a manual industry and at its inception Nova consisted of 10 drawing boards, one typewriter, a card index for sales and a simple phone system along with Dave, Julia and a small team of design engineers and draughtsmen. The total number of design engineers employed by Nova both internally and externally was around 15.

Drawing Board - Early Autocad

Early clients were mainly in the aerospace industry with turbine blade tooling projects comprising a large percentage of the internal project work together with projects in the construction industry based around curtain walling and cladding.

As technology moved on and IT hardware / software became more commercially available, Nova were one of the first mechanical design offices to invest in this modern design tool called CAD – Computer Aided Design. To put things into perspective, Nova’s first CAD workstations ran on Windows 3.1.1 (the last .1 being the network edition of Windows 3.1), had <300MB hard drives and a massive 4MB of RAM !

Expanding the floor area of Nova and running alongside the drawing boards, Nova initially invested in 6 seats of Bentley Microstation 2D software. At this time, Nova were providing mechanical design services for a company called Haden Drysys who were heavily involved in the mechanical handling and trim & final areas for Land Rover in Solihull.

The use of CAD took off quickly within the mechanical design industry and AutoCAD became the industry standard for mechanical design, something Dave realised early on and Nova invested in a number of seats, allowing more design work to be achieved in less time than traditional manual methods.

Over the years, Nova have invested in additional CAD systems and associated design tools including Mathcad for calculations, Ansys DesignSpace for Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and a variety of CAD libraries to speed up the design process.

In 1995, Dave’s youngest son Nick joined Nova. With a HNC in Mechanical Engineering gained from his apprenticeship at Dowty Aerospace in Wolverhampton, Nick bought many years of mechanical design experience to Nova. Now Engineering Director, Nick is responsible for the smooth running of the internal design office from project quotation through to final delivery of manufacture drawings / 3D CAD models as appropriate.

September 1997 saw Dave’s eldest son, Simon join the family business. Working his way up to Business Development Director, Simon is responsible for all areas of sales and marketing together with Quality Assurance and IT.

Organisation Chart - Nova Design Management Team

Around 2001, the CAD market was undergoing a revolution – higher end 3D CAD software was becoming commercially available and more importantly, coming available on a Windows software platform. Autodesk Mechanical Desktop was one of the first 3D mechanical design systems Nova invested in and the first project undertaken was the detailed design of stainless steel guarding systems for Cadbury’s in Bourneville, Birmingham.

May 2005 saw Nova move from Pensnett House to our current location in the Innovation Centre on Pensnett Trading Estate. This move allowed Nova to expand the number of seats in our mechanical design office to the current total of 40. With our design engineers working around 50 hours a week, Nova’s internal design capacity is around 2000 hours per week. Internally and externally, the total number of employees has now exceeded the 60 mark.

Mechanical Design Office - Nova Design

The pace of technological change has meant a constant series of upgrades both in CAD systems, associated tools and in the services offered by Nova. We now offer 3D laser scanning services, 3D animations and visualisations, recruitment (both contract and permanent) together with other drawing office services such as paper to cad conversions and the writing and compilation of technical manuals.

Current CAD systems now include :

Autocad / Autodesk Inventor / SolidWorks / Solid Edge / Unigraphics NX / Catia

From a business management perspective, Nova’s management team is committed to the future and our vision statement including the line “Right First Time”.

ISO 9001:2008 Certification - Nova Design

To this end, Nova have successfully implemented and run a quality system for a number of years. Beginning with BS5750 and now running a regularly audited ISO 9001:2008 system, Nova are certified for the “Provision Of Engineering Design Services”.

Nova’s client portfolio has grown considerably over the years and now includes both OEM and first tier suppliers to industries including Automotive, Aerospace, Process Equipment and Nuclear.

Recent projects successfully completed include :

  • Design and detailed design of ‘Body In White’ tooling / Robot cells for a number of new vehicles – end clients Jaguar Land Rover / Volvo Cars / Mercedes Benz
  • Design and detailed design of Ground Support Equipment for gas turbines (civil aerospace) – end client Rolls Royce plc
  • Detailed design of automotive paint plant – end client Chrysler Motors, Mexico
  • Design and detailed design of new engine pallet systems – end client Ford Australia / Ford China
  • Detailed design of water treatment projects – design and detail of new screening systems – end client Severn Trent and Anglian Water Boards
  • Design and detailed design of Ground Support Equipment for gas turbines – industrial power generation – end client Industrial Turbine Company UK Limited – UK and North America sites
  • Site surveys, layouts, design and detailed design of mechanical handling equipment – trim and final area of vehicle production – various sites – end client Jaguar Land Rover
  • Detailed design of a number of new cranes – end client – Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – Sellafield Limited

From a recruitment perspective, Nova are continually looking for additional staff to join our ranks, ranging from graduates looking for their first employment through to more experienced engineers looking for a change of career direction. Working closely with Dudley College, Wolverhampton University and Birmingham University engineering departments Nova are committed to assisting the next generation of students into the world of engineering design and manufacturing.

To find out more about Nova and how we can assist with any engineering design and associated projects, please don’t hesitate to visit our website at or talk to our sales team on 01384 400044

Where will the next 27 years take us ????

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Posted in CAD News, Design, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Engineering News, Manufacturing, Nova Design News, Recruitment, Technical Documentation, UK Manufacturing

Nova celebrate 10 years in current offices :-)

This week sees the 10th anniversary of Nova moving into the Innovation Centre on Pensnett Trading Estate.

Previously Nova were situated in Pensnett House, around 500 metres from our current location, Nova took the decision to relocate giving us both more room to expand our design facilities together with additional parking space for all of our employees.

Currently housing 40 seats of the latest in CAD engineering software including Autodesk Inventor, Solid Edge, Solid Works, Catia, Unigraphics NX together with design tools including Ansys DesignSpace for Finite Element Analysis, Nova are proud to count blue chip companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, ThyssenKrupp Systems Engineering, Rolls Royce plc and Hydro Engine Systems Limited together with more locally based companies including Mechatherm Limited and Bronx Engineering Limited amongst our extensive list of clients.

Nova Design - Engineering Design Office

Nova Design Office

With design experience across the great majority of mechanical engineering, Nova employ design engineers ranging from recent graduate with HNC / BEng in Mechanical or Production Engineering through to engineers with 35+ years of design experience.

During the progress of a design project, Nova conduct engineering design reviews online using tools such as Webex and Skype, allowing clients to see the progress of their projects from their own offices rather than potentially spending time travelling across the UK road network.

Nova Design - Engineering Design Office - Conference Room

Nova Design Conference Room

Historically a CAD design office undertaking innovative engineering design projects from within our Kingswinford design office, we are now also focusing on engineering design recruitment.

Under the guidance of Daniel Tipper (Recruitment Executive), the previous experience and success of our internal recruitment team in other recruitment disciplines has allowed us to branch out and increase our expertise.

The recent growth and addition of staff to our recruitment department means we have the resources to offer this solution in addition to our already well established internal engineering design CAD facilities.

Nova Design - Sales and Recruitment Office

Sales and Recruitment Office

Although we have expanded from being purely a CAD design office, we are still the people to come for your outsource engineering CAD projects !!

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Posted in CAD News, Design, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Engineering News, Manufacturing, Nova Design News, Recruitment, Simulation, UK Manufacturing

Nova Download Autodesk Inventor 2016

We have this week downloaded the latest 3D modelling suite from Autodesk – Autodesk Inventor Suite 2016 Premium. The following is an excerpt from the official Autodesk site giving an overview of the softwares capabilities and upgrades.

Inventor 2016

enables you to break through boundaries typically associated with 3D modeling, delivering an invaluable connected design experience between you, the data, people, and processes involved in getting your job done. From providing seamless parametric, direct editing, and freeform design tools, to associatively connecting your Inventor data to non-native CAD formats, to truly integrating your electrical and mechanical data into a single design – Inventor 2016 helps you connect with your design like never before.

Work More Efficiently in a Multi-CAD Environment

New Technology for Importing Files from other CAD Systems. 

  • An associative import of CAD data from CATIA, SolidWorks, NX, Pro-E/Creo, and Alias files allows you to maintain a link to the selected file. The imported geometry in Inventor updates as the model changes.
  • Selective import support allows you to only read in the geometry that is important to you, speeding the import process: The new Select tab provides you the option to specify which objects to import when importing a CATIA, SolidWorks, Pro-E/Creo, NX, Alias, STEP, IGES, or Rhino file.
  • Multi-thread support has been enabled. This allows Inventor to more efficiently use the available hardware on which Inventor is running. As a result, you will experience improved performance when working on files from other CAD systems.
  • The options for importing CATIA , SolidWorks, Pro-E/Creo, NX, Alias, STEP, IGES, Rhino, SAT, Parasolid Binary files are simplified and provide clear choices for import.

Associative DWG

  • Quickly insert an AutoCAD DWG file in an Inventor part file as a DWG underlay using the Import command in the 3D Model tab, Create panel.
  • You can add assembly relationships to underlay geometry.
  • Use the Project DWG Geometry command to project DWG geometry, polylines, open or closed loops, and DWG blocks. Then you can use the projected sketch elements to create modeling features.
  • Your 3D Inventor models based on the DWG geometry update when the 2D geometry changes in AutoCAD.

AutoCAD Electrical and Inventor Interoperability

  • The new Electromechanical link between Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical provides a smooth data exchange between your 2D and 3D electrical designs.
  • When you create a link between an AutoCAD Electrical and an Inventor assembly (not available in Inventor LT), the project files become associative: Design data changes made in one product are updated in the other via Sync.
  • The Location View command on the new Electromechanical tab on the Assembly (not available in Inventor LT) ribbon in Inventor displays the devices and wiring contained in both the AutoCAD Electrical Drawings and Inventor Assemblies.

Shape Creation

Shape Creation - Autodesk Inventor 2016

Use powerful new commands and workflows in the Freeform modeling environment. Some of the highlights are:

  • Work with open surfaces or closed shapes.
  • Convert existing model faces to freeform geometry for shape refinement.
  • The new Freeform Thicken command creates solids, offset surfaces, or shell walls.
  • Unweld edges to split and move a freeform body segment.
  • Delete faces.

3D Printing Environment

A new environment is added that lets you position and orient your design within the print space of the selected 3D printer. You can also update the part in the print environment that does not impact the source document. When you are finished, you can send the results to Print Studio or other printing software to begin printing the part.

3D Printing Environment - Autodesk Inventor 2016

Drawing Environment

  • Drawing view creation is simplified, and uses in-canvas tools.
  • Text formatting is expanded with new options: Bullets and numbering, strike-through text, enhanced formatting (all caps, title case, lower case).
  • Surface texture and feature control frame symbols are updated to the latest standards.
  • Many new graphical symbols are available, and can be inserted in various types of drawing annotations.
  • Balloon styles can use custom balloon shapes.
  • A new Single Segment Leader option allows you to create drawing annotations with a single leader segment.
  • You can align drawing annotations vertically, horizontally, or to an edge.
  • Create a view sketch on a model with included work features and select those work features with the Project Geometry command.
  • Quickly access and share your collection of sketch symbols through a new external Sketch Symbols Library. This library is an Inventor drawing file that, by default, is located in a subfolder of the Design Data location of your project. This new feature offers the following new functions:
    • A search and filter feature in the Sketch Symbols Library dialog box.
    • Preview the sketch in a preview pane within the dialog box before placing the sketch.
    • Browser expansion state remains throughout session when placing sketch symbols.
    • A Sketch Symbol Library can be created in IDW and DWG formats, allowing insertion of symbols contained within the library file from either format.
    • Save your sketch symbols to a customized library.

Improved Start Up and Learning Experience

The new start-up and learning experience combine to make learning and using Inventor faster and easier.

  • Movable and resizable Inventor Home panels.
  • Home provides greater access to common file tasks.
  • Files can be removed from the recent documents list.
  • Vault status is displayed in the recent documents list.
  • Create custom shortcuts to provide fast access to frequently used files and locations.
  • Help content was edited to provide better search results.
  • Topic content was combined to reduce the number of clicks.

Graphics/Visualization/Studio Enhancements

Visualisation improvements - Inventor 2016

Some highlights are:

  • ALL lighting styles in Inventor Studio are now associated with an IBL. A lighting style can have zero local lights but must have one IBL.

    IBL (Image Based Lighting) based lighting styles provides better lighting sources in Inventor Studio with enriched IBL collection.

    When you enter the Studio Environment, all legacy local lights are now disabled by default. It is recommended you use IBL for better rendering results . You can turn on specific local lights manually when necessary.

    All newly created lighting styles are associated with the default IBL automatically. You can change the associated IBL to another IBL as desired.

  • The enhanced visual effect for shaded visual style makes it more consistent with the realistic visual style.
  • The rendering engine in Inventor Studio was changed to RapidRT with advanced configurations for better quality rendering.
  • The Studio Render Illustration settings have been moved to the View tab  Appearance Panel  Visual Styles drop-down menu. The new and enhanced Technical Illustration command creates a realistic illustration effect in the graphics window.

Workflow Enhancements

Among the many enhancements, are:


  • Use Escape (Esc) key to cancel an operation in select processes.
  • Multiple productivity enhancements made to dialog boxes.
  • Add all window tile styles to the task bar.
  • Dock an Inventor browser on any application’s window edge.
  • Hide all sketch dimensions now available in the Object Visibility menu.
  • Import/Export external rules configuration for iLogic (not available in Inventor LT).

Sheet metal parts

  • Multi-body support is added to sheet metal.
    Sheet Metal Work - Inventor 2016
  • Support for zero bend radius is added to many commands.
  • Material thickness is detected when you convert a part to a sheet metal part.
  • Punch tool shows a count of the center selections.

Part appearance and body, feature, or face color overrides can be pushed from derived part to new part

A new Use color override from source component option has been added to the Derived Assembly (not available in Inventor LT), Derived Part, Make Part, and Make Component dialog boxes. Selecting this option pushes the Part appearance and body, feature, or face color overrides to be pushed from the derived part to the new part.

Tube and Pipe setting enhancements

You can now customize file names for fittings and populate part numbers into your parts list within the drawing environment. Previously, you could only change the name of your conduit items, but now you can update fittings as well.


  • Face draft contains powerful new options that let you Fix or Move the parting line.
  • Ruled Surface is added to the surfacing commands.
  • The Mirror and Pattern commands support multiple solid body selection.
  • Previously, nonlinear patterns of a solid body in a multi body part file have not been possible. You can now create nonlinear patterns for solid bodies.
  • Drag a sketch above the parent feature in the browser to share it.
  • The Measure command now allows you to measure an angle to the midpoint of any segment. This option is achieved by hovering your mouse over the midpoint of a segment until a yellow dot appears.


  • Identify which workplane or face a sketch was created on.
  • The selected Show All or Hide All Constraints display setting remains active as you sketch and throughout your editing session.
  • You can now create tangent dimensions between circular or arc geometry within a 2D sketch.
  • The Initial View Scale property of the first drawing review placed on the sheet is added in the Sheet Properties group within the Format Text dialog box.
  • The Sketch Dimensions option is added to the Object Visibility list. Select this option to display 2D or 3D sketches and hide all related sketch dimensions.
  • Sharing a sketch is made visible by dragging above the feature in browser.
  • New snap points added to the context menu: Endpoint, Apparent Intersection, Quadrant, and Mid of 2 points.
  • You can now modify Start Sketch and select a view or sheet before sketching.


  • New safety factor calculation warning displays in Stress Analysis.
  • The Midplane option has been added to the assembly Pattern command. Select the Midplane option to create a pattern distributed on both sides of the original component.
  • Replace All feature available for highlighted components within an assembly.
  • Select multiple sick constraints within Design Doctor to delete.


  • You can start a drawing from any open model, and automatically apply the current model camera and representations in the base view.
  • In-canvas tools in the Base View command simplify creation of a base view and projected views.

    For example, you can use the ViewCube to orient the model, set the view scale by dragging a view corner, or adjust projected views while creating the base view.


  • Tweak command is redesigned to use direct manipulation tools.
  • Creating and editing of trails is easier.
  • Component selection is simplified.
  • Auto Explode command is added to the ribbon and improved.

Nova’s software will be installed over this weekend and we’ll provide real world feedback over the coming weeks.

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Posted in 3D Printing, Autocad, Autodesk, CAD News, CAD Software, Design, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Engineering News, Inventor, Nova Design News, Software News, Software Updates, UK Manufacturing

Jaguar XE Starts Production in Solihull

Now the new car is in the public domain, here at Nova, we are very proud to announce that we have been a part of this (and other) upcoming new models from Jaguar Land Rover.


Jaguar XE Production Line

Nova have successfully been involved with the production of 3D models, 2D manufacture drawings, robot studies, off line robot programming, ergonomic studies, for the tooling aspects and site surveys, 3D models, 2D drawings, and factory layouts for the mechanical handling (automation) of the new vehicle production facilities in both Castle Bromwich and Solihull together with a number of projects in the new i54 Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton.

As part of their 80th anniversary, Jaguar Land Rover have pulled together some of their most iconic vehicles for a parade – including such models as the ‘E Type’, XK120 and the SS1 Tourer.

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Posted in CAD News, Catia, Design, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Engineering News, Manufacturing, Nova Design News, Technical Documentation, UK Manufacturing

Nova expand Visualisation Division Capacity

As engineering design and recruitment consultants Nova Design are delighted to announce that we have expanded our internal visualisation department in our West Midlands based office, and will now be offering increased capacity for our visualisation and animation service. Visualisation is a modern tool used to bring a concept to life, through the use of animations or illustrations. Nova Design’s visualisation team can bring your idea to life to impress potential investors.

In addition to our existing in-house design team of forty engineering design staff, we have successfully recruited an additional two visualisation experts, who have significant previous experience in producing high quality visuals. Utilising Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Siemens Tecnomatix VIS Mockup software, our experts will be producing high quality 3D walkthroughs, 3D animations and photo realistic renders for our clients. Nova’s visualisation experts will allow the finest details to be tweaked, from layouts and lighting to shadows and optical effects, in order to cater to their client’s exact requirements. The final product will aim to engage the end viewer and give them an emotional experience.

As a family run business, established in 1988, we will be looking to attract new clients who are aiming to close sales with eye catching proposals, or develop their marketing materials. It is an exciting time for Nova as a West Midlands based company, as we expand this service amidst the continued growth of our internal engineering design and recruitment departments. Nova will now be heavily marketing the visualisation department to add another dimension to our existing client base.

Business Development Director Simon Parry said “Many companies want to make their products or proposals stand out from their competition. Our visualisation service is a unique and professional way in which to do this. Many of our existing clients have previously had visualisation requirements on top of their design requirements, and we are now able to offer them the full service. With the tools and expertise we have at our disposal, we can offer state of the art visuals to give our clients the all important ‘wow’ factor.”

3D Studio Max software is used in various markets, from video game developers to graphic artists, through to architects, engineers and product designers. The powerful software is provided by Autodesk, who also supply AutoCAD and Inventor 2D and 3D packages, which form an integral part of Nova Design’s engineering design solution.

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Posted in 3DS Studio Max, Autocad, CAD News, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Manufacturing, Nova Design News, Recruitment, Technical Documentation, UK Manufacturing, Visualisation