Nova Designs – History
1 August 2018 sees Nova Design celebrating 30 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.
Early Mechanical Design
In those early 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. The total number of design engineers employed by Nova both internally and externally was around 15.
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 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 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 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 work to be achieved in less time than traditional manual methods.
Over the years, Nova have invested in additional CAD systems and associated tools including Mathcad for calculations, Ansys DesignSpace for Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and a variety of CAD libraries to speed up the design process.
Nova Becomes a Family Business
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 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.
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.
A New Location – Expansion
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 office to the current total of 40. With our design engineers working around 50 hours a week, Nova’s internal capacity is around 2000 hours per week. Internally and externally, the total number of employees has now exceeded the 60 mark.
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
Quality Assured – “Right First Time”
To this end, Nova Design have successfully implemented and run a quality system for a number of years. Beginning with BS5750 and now running a regularly audited ISO 9001:2015 system.
Nova are certified for the “Provision Of Engineering Design Services”.
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
- Ground Support Equipment for gas turbines (civil aerospace) – end client Rolls Royce plc
- New engine pallet systems – end client Ford Australia / Ford China
- Ground Support Equipment for gas turbines – industrial power generation – end client Industrial Turbine Company UK Limited – UK and North America sites.
- Detailed design of automotive paint plant – end client Chrysler Motors, Mexico
- Detailed design of water treatment projects – design and detail of new screening systems – end client Severn Trent and Anglian Water Boards
- 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
An Eye on the Future
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, Aston University, 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.
more about nova
To find out more about the services that Nova offer, please get in touch today!
Lovely surprise this morning on everyones desks. Dave Stanford, one of our design engineers affectionately known as Wainwright is retiring today and has bought everyone a 'pie and a pint' to celebrate with him later. Thanks Dave and have a great retirement from all at...
A spotlight view of one of Nova's additional services, our internal team can produce your technical manuals / documentation in either print or video formats. Nova have experience in the production of technical documentation, including operator / operation manuals,...
Nova Design have recently been awarded an investment grant of approximately £17,000 via the Business Improvement Programme (www.birmingham.gov.uk/bip), working with both Birmingham City Council (www.birmingham.gov.uk) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)....
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...
Nova 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 last of year 2014 external client Quality Audits with flying colours - NO...
We came across this video on YouTube over the weekend - showing off high precision engineering to create a masterpiece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGPjFFMD3c0 It's not an industry Nova have any experience of, we just thought it was a great video 🙂 A couple of...
This was the 3D Visualisation video that was the catalyst to Nova's 3D Animation / Visualisation Division. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLXnrbk6ZlY The video was passed to Nova's Business Development Director by one of our CAD Resellers and after showing a few of...
Using the latest in 3D printing technology has enabled a patient involved in a traffic accident in the late 1970's to have a hip replacement operation with a bone graft and 3D printed titanium hip at Southampton General Hospital with collaboration from Southampton...