Building a successful career as a Mechanical Design Engineer

Are you looking to start a career as a Mechanical Design Engineer? As an engineering design consultancy providing professional CAD services, we have developed a good amount of knowledge on what it takes to be successful in this occupation. Also, acting as a technical and industrial recruitment agency, we are aware of what many of our clients look for when looking to recruit a Design Engineer. If you have natural passion and enthusiasm for mechanical engineering and the techniques used by design engineers, this will go a long way towards ensuring success.

Mechanical engineering | Mechanical design engineerWe would suggest studying the relevant mechanical engineering qualifications at college and University to build a sound base of engineering knowledge to build upon. This would normally be in the form of an HNC/ONC followed by a BEng. As well as developing your knowledge, qualifications are a good indication of how capable you are a Design Engineer, and of how much mechanical engineering knowledge you possess. It’s never too late to get these qualifications, and they are sometimes seen as essential requirements for mechanical design roles, especially for higher level positions within larger companies.

Your qualifications can then be supported by becoming accustomed to CAD software, both 2D and 3D, some of which you will learn to use during your studies and during possible work placements. There are also specific courses provided by training companies and various CAD resellers across the UK if you want to develop your skills on a particular CAD system. Becoming proficient with CAD software will allow you to work more efficiently and develop your design techniques.

Which industry do you have a particular interest in? Is it the automotive industry? The aerospace industry? The nuclear industry? It’s good to decide this as early in your career as possible and then look for positions within your chosen industry, so the experience that you’re gaining is relevant to your career goals. Some Universities and Colleges also offer more specific engineering qualifications geared towards specific industries, so ideally you want to decide this before you begin your studies. You may also want to try and develop your skills across several industries, and working for design consultancies who work on projects for various clients such as ourselves is a good way in which to do this.

Mechanical design engineer | mechanical engineering designBuild up and maintain a portfolio of your best work. Have you worked on certain projects that you’re particularly proud of? Have you produced complex, eye catching CAD drawings or models which you want to show off? Put together a professional portfolio to send to prospective employers along with your CV. If you’re graphically minded you can do this yourself or have one designed professionally, in order to leave a lasting impression with your prospective employers. You may also want to tweak your portfolio depending on the industry you are applying for a position within.

Your portfolio, your CV and your presence on professional social media sites such as LinkedIn are important tools which you can use to market yourself. Build up your connections within engineering recruitment companies and keep yourself up to date with what career opportunities are becoming available. We have many good career opportunities ourselves for positions within our office and for our clients all over the UK, so make sure to check our vacancies page on a regular basis!

Above anything, determination, drive and pride in your work are essential in order to be successful. There is no magical recipe for success, but by following the steps above it will give you a good opportunity to enjoy a strong career as a Mechanical Design Engineer. If you would like further advice, please email

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Posted in CAD News, CAD Software, Design, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Nova Design News, UK Manufacturing, Vacancies

How Nova Are Using Social Media To Recruit

In recent years, social media has been adopted by many companies as a marketing, branding and/or recruitment tool. With the benefits a company can gain from implementing social media sites, a lot of them free, the role they are playing is becoming more difficult for companies to ignore. Initially implemented by our marketing department, as a company offering recruitment services, social media now plays a key part in our hiring process.

Mainly utilising Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, we are regularly attracting high quality candidates through our social media portals, and are regularly placing them in positions all across the UK. Every job that goes live is posted immediately to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, as well as our website and relevant job sites. With approximately 400 ‘likes’ on Facebook, over 1100 ‘followers’ on Twitter and over 600 group members on LinkedIn, every vacancy that is posted receives a lot of exposure. Candidates are presented with a short description of the position along with key details such as location, and with one click they are taken directly to our website and given the opportunity to apply.

A big part of our recent growth in recruitment has been through the introduction of our LinkedIn group, which is purely dedicated to candidates looking for jobs. We post the latest news relevant only to our recruitment division, as well as posting each individual job as it goes live in the ‘Jobs’ section. This is the place where all of our candidates looking for work can go to find information relevant only to their job search and our recruitment division.

We have invested significantly in the latest advertising and recruitment tools, and social media is just as important as the other methods we use to recruit. By involving ourselves in relevant recruitment and engineering discussions through our social media channels, this allows us to find out who’s available in the areas we’re recruiting in, meaning we can provide our clients with the best available candidates.

The key to recruiting through social media is to develop and spend time on your social media sites, and make sure they are geared towards recruiting and driving interest in the positions you have available. Encourage candidates looking for work to follow your sites, allow them to take part in discussions and highlight how it can help their job search. Immediate vacancy alerts through social media are a great way to attract new ‘followers’ and ‘likes’. The chances are that candidates will be checking their own personal social media feed on a daily basis, and if vacancy alerts are coming through to that, it means no extra effort is required on their part and that they are kept up to date just by reading their feed. Sending updates through social media ensures we are not unnecessarily harassing or contacting our candidates to make them aware of new vacancies, leaving the ball in their court.

If you are involved in recruitment and are without a social media presence, we strongly suggest you consider dedicating some time towards building one.

We are continuously looking to grow our social media audiences, so if you want to be kept up to date with our latest vacancies as soon as they go live, be sure to join us on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn!

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ANSYS 16.0 Downloaded And Installed

We have recently upgraded our ANSYS FEA software package to ANSYS 16.0, the latest release of the engineering simulation technology suite, designed to optimise product development processes. This ensures our FEA and engineering design team keep the latest tools at their disposal, in order to provide a reliable, high quality service.


Built on a platform that accurately streamlines workflow among simulation applications, ANSYS 16.0 delivers critical multi-physics solutions, enhancements to pre-processing and meshing capabilities as well as a new parametric high performance computing (HPC) licensing model to make design exploration more scalable.”

As part of our in-house engineering design consultancy, we offer Finite Element Analysis as part of our design service. We use ANSYS DesignSpace to carry out our FEA work and it forms a crucial part of many of our client’s projects. In modern times we feel that the growing importance of FEA cannot be understated.

mechanical-features-cad-2-smThe importance behind FEA lies in its ability to perform tests on a concept before it is made real, reducing the time and cost needed to foster product innovations. This can save you thousands of pounds in design and manufacturing stages, by using FEA tests as the design stage progresses. ANSYS DesignSpace allows us to perform a number of real world simulations such as thermal, structural, weight optimisation and more.

Taken from

ANSYS DesignSpace software is an easy-to-use simulation package that provides designers with tools to conceptualise, design and validate their ideas right on the desktop. ANSYS DesignSpace software, a subset of the ANSYS Professional product, enables real-world, static structural and thermal, dynamic, weight optimisation, vibration mode, and safety factor simulations to be performed on designs without the need for advanced analysis knowledge.

mechanical-features-auto-contact-1-smExisting native CAD geometry can be used directly with ANSYS structural analysis software — with no translation, no IGES and no intermediate geometry formats. ANSYS has provided native bidirectional integration with the most popular CAD systems for more than a decade. Integration directly into the CAD menu bar makes it very simple to launch world-class simulation directly from a CAD system.

Since the ANSYS geometry import mechanism is common to all CAD systems, the user has the flexibility to work within a single common simulation environment while using multiple CAD packages.

Once the geometry has been imported, ANSYS structural software tools automatically detect and perform setup for contacts or joints between parts of an assembly. The contact settings and options can be modified, and additional manual contact definitions can be added. Joints for flexible/rigid dynamics are automatically detected. Each contact or joint is easily identified using the graphical tools provided in the environment.

ANSYS structural analysis software offers a large library of out-of-the box equation solvers. The library contains the sparse direct solver, preconditioned conjugate gradient (PCG) iterative solver, Jacobi conjugate gradient (JCG) solution and more. In addition, the distributed versions of PCG, JCG, and sparse solvers are available for use in large-scale computing via parallel processing. By combining our parallel algorithms with the power of GPUs, you can further reduce the solution time required for large models.

Variational technology from ANSYS allows accelerating computation of normal modes for cyclic structures, especially when a large number of harmonic indexes are required. Frequency sweeps such as those found in harmonic analyses benefit from variational technology as well. Typical speedup factors range from three to 10 times. Transient thermal runs and certain classes of nonlinear structural transient problems are computed in a shorter time using these same principles.

parking_stand_displacementANSYS FEA software provides a comprehensive set of post-processing tools to display results on models as contours or vector plots to provide summaries of the results (like min/max values and locations). Powerful and intuitive slicing techniques allow the user to get more detailed results over given parts of geometries. All results can be exported as text data or to a spreadsheet for further calculations. Animations are provided for static cases as well as for nonlinear or transient histories. Any result or boundary condition can be used to create customised charts.

“ANSYS 16.0 provides a great number of new and advanced features that bolster product performance and integrity through deeper design insight. The many new features in ANSYS 16.0, combined with ANSYS Workbench, deliver additional physics depth and breadth that can be scaled to meet the changing needs of customers.

The latest release from ANSYS supports our existing mechanical design software packages including AutoCAD, Inventor, Creo, Inventor, Unigraphics NX, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, Mechanical Desktop and Catia.

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Posted in CAD News, CAD Software, Design, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Engineering News, Nova Design News, Simulation, Technical Documentation, Visualisation

Paying attention to client needs is the key to success in recruitment

Dan - 300Dan Tipper, Recruitment Executive at Nova Design, believes the key to being successful in recruitment is held in the relationships you build with your clients.

“Having spent many years in and around the recruitment industry, I have learnt several methods on how to please your clients and exceed their expectations. Solid, reliable recruitment and advertising tools will provide a solid base for you to build up your portfolio of high quality available candidates, but this would mean nothing without a positive, trusting relationship with your clients.”

“The first thing we do upon receipt of an enquiry for our recruitment services is to listen to and appreciate the client’s needs. A job description is always a great starting point, but it’s essential to learn as much as possible about the type of person they are looking for, an individual’s personality can often be as important as their skills and qualifications. Once all details are gathered, the recruitment team can then begin the search for suitable candidates.”

“As applications start coming in, the CV’s need to be assessed thoroughly to make sure they meet the minimum criteria of experience and qualifications required. Once they have been analysed, the crucial part of the recruitment process is to get to know the candidate. Ideally this should be done in person, however if this isn’t possible, some sort of telephone interview should be arranged. Meeting or speaking with your candidates allows you to gain an understanding of the type of person they are. Are they enthusiastic? Are their communication skills up to standard? Do they have a friendly manner? If you can answer these questions and more, you can add value to the candidates you are putting forward to your client. You need to judge whether their personality would fit into your clients set up, and if it would, you need to sell and emphasise this point as much as possible.”

“It is also beneficial to contact the candidate’s references, professional ones if possible. These will be people who have worked alongside the candidates, and will know better than anyone the type of person they are and the type of work that they produce. The more work we can do for our clients, the more value for money they will be getting.”

“In summary, the more you can find out about your candidates, the more your clients will appreciate your hard work and diligence. Even if it’s taking longer than expected to source a candidate, make sure you keep your client up to date at every stage of the process and they will be likely to appreciate your honesty. An agency that understands their clients needs thoroughly, are more likely to receive repeat enquiries, rather than an agency that just sends over any CV’s that come in, with no background research. Remember, your clients are paying for a recruitment service, not just a CV sourcing service.”

Nova Design have been placing engineering design and related staff in short term, long term and permanent positions across the UK since they were established in 1988.

For further details on the engineering design recruitment solution that Nova offer, please give Dan a call on 01384 405 975 or drop him a line

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Posted in Design, Engineering Design, Engineering Design News, Recruitment, Vacancies

Nova retain ISO 9001 Accreditation ! :-)

ISO-CertNova have once again proved that our internal ISO Mission Statement of “Right First Time” is worthy of the way in which we conduct our design services.

We have successfully passed the first external audit of 2015 with flying colours – NO non-conformances 🙂

Said a delighted Simon Parry (Nova’s Business Development Director) “At Nova Design, we have always been proud of the service we offer our clients. Now with the continuation of our ISO award this has been confirmed by outside experts who are used to judging service on a daily basis in a wide variety of trades and industries”.


StevISO 9001:2008 Certificatione Berry, who undertook the assessment for CQS (Certified Quality Systems) Limited, paid particular tribute to the “investment in people and training that enables Nova to provide an efficient service to their customers.”


The Nova Design team is committed to total quality, and operate under a “Right First Time” philosophy and remain – Certified for “The Provision of Engineering Design Services”.

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Using digital design reviews to aid our engineering design process

Due to the size and duration of the projects that we undertake in our engineering design office, design reviews are an increasingly important part of our mechanical engineering design process. Conducted either digitally or face to face, they allow us to provide our clients with regular updates before and throughout each design stage.

Design Reviews | Digital design reviews | online design reviewsCatering to a client base which now encompasses the whole of the UK together with current mechanical design projects from both Norway and Canada, digital design reviews are being used on a regular basis to ensure our clients are satisfied with the 3D models and CAD drawings that we are producing, before they are finalised.

Digital design reviews allow us to take away any of our client’s concerns during a project, by showing them exactly what is going on at short notice. We use collaborative tools such as WebEx and Skype to show our clients what is currently being worked on and what has been done so far, giving them several options if they’d like something done a particular way. We know that everyone is unique and has different preferences, therefore initial meetings and possibly additional design reviews are important to understand our client’s requirements. Due to the complexity of our work, digital design reviews are the most efficient way for our clients to highlight any changes or tweaks they may wish to make to a design.

We came to realise a long time ago that our clients often don’t have the time in their diary to meet face to face with us, and therefore introduced digital design reviews. This now allows us to clear up any concerns our clients may have in a matter of minutes, by allowing them to see things for themselves from the comfort of their own office on their own monitor. They have become particularly useful for the larger, more long-term projects that we carry out, allowing us to give our clients peace of mind in terms of meeting their deadlines with high quality, on time deliverables.

Digital design reviews are just one of the tools we use to keep our engineering design clients happy, in order to consistently supply them with CAD drawings and models of the highest quality.

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