News and events 2013

Power Conversion… go hiking… again

Power Conversion group goes hiking again in 2013
At the summit

Following the success of the 2012 Power Conversion hike (all returned safely, a bit muddy but no broken bones), a second was organised this year - might it become an annual event? 

So this hike followed the same drill as last year; minus two hiking academics in number (50% by volume) from last year! Rendezvous under the departure board in Piccadilly station, bright and early for the Professorial handing out of tickets. The group was already one down due to tram issues upstream, agh, a hike in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park or a day at work... There was a key difference to last year; glorious, uninterrupted, full-on sunshine. Almost everyone dispensed with their coat, bar one notable exception who just couldn't be persuaded out of his fleece!

Upon arriving at Hope station we managed to get as far as the Blue Apple Gallery before the home-made flapjack was unveiled. All were pleasantly surprised to find this year’s portions were very tasty! If anyone was lacking motivation for the hike then there was a promise of chocolate covered flap-jack once we reached the peak.

We went the easy route, out towards the Roman Road before looping back for a gentle incline up to the Win Hill peak. We had a Land Rover vs. Power Conversion Group moment by Harrop Farm; the driver decided against taking on our 30 strong group! The promised view from Wooler Knoll to Ladybower Reservoir was thoroughly obscured by trees, however, we greatly appreciated the detour away from the pub! On the peak at Win Hill the conditions were clear, bright and warm; quite disconcerting. The much anticipated chocolate flap-jack exceeded expectations and was soon finished. Then after two rounds of Dam Busters we retired, not too gracefully to a local hostelry for food and refreshment. Out came the cream teas sparking the jam or cream first debate, Devon or Cornwall style... tbc.

Your roving reporter (again, given 5.8 won't write any news); T. Rodd

Applied Radio Systems Research and Smart Wireless Communications (ARSR/SWICOM) 2013 Conference

The Second Joint International Workshop on Applied Radio Systems Research and Smart Wireless Communications (ARSR/SWICOM 2013) co-organised by University of Bedfordshire and University of Manchester took place at the University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK.

The objective of the workshop was to bring together researchers and engineers from both academia and industry who contribute to the ongoing trends and advances in applied radio systems and smart wireless communications research, such as cognitive radio, software defined radio, smart antennas, wireless sensor networks. ARSR/SWICOM 2013 offered technical sessions, workshops, short courses and industrial exhibits.

For further information please visit ARSR/SWICOM 2013 Website.

The University of Manchester Committee members were:

Acoustek shortlisted at the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2013

University of Manchester technology, Acoustek® was shortlisted in two categories at the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2013 held at The Radisson Edwardian, Manchester on the 25th April; Best Innovation Contributing to Customer Quality and Reliability of Supply and Best University Technology.

Out of the three competing technologies per category, congratulations go to Kelvatek Ltd and Oxems Ltd respectively.

The Acoustek® technology has already proven its value in the oil and gas industry where it is routinely deployed to monitor pipelines to detect blockages and leaks up to 10km away.

Now new applications of this versatile technology are being explored through collaboration with a range of partners and adaptations of the technology to new customer needs. For example, gas network companies are able to use the technology to find blockages due to water ingress into gas mains more accurately than by use of existing methods. This avoids digging up roads un-necessarily and more rapid resumption of service to customers.

Separately, a highly successful collaboration with Phoenix Inspection Systems Ltd, based in Warrington, has adapted the Acoustek® technology for use at short distances to detect manufacturing defects in heat exchanger tubes, enabling better quality control on these products.

Barry Lennox, Professor of Applied Control at the University of Manchester, commented: "The work with Phoenix has proven to be highly successful, with a commercial product expected to be available within the next six months.

"Through our engagement with the Energy Innovation Centre and this awards programme, we are hopeful that we will shortly secure funding to develop an acoustic tool specifically for surveying gas distribution networks."

The awards are backed by the UK’s leading gas and electricity networks including Scotia Gas Networks Plc, SP Energy Networks, UK Power Networks, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid, National Grid, Electricity North West, SSE and Wales and West Utilities.

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