- Senior Systems Engineer
KDC are now recruiting for one of our biggest clients within the Defence industry! This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced Systems Engineer to join their team in London. So, if you are looking for your next challenge and have a proven background with radar systems, this could be the role you have been waiting for! This position has surfaced as our client requires a Systems Engineer to work within the Surveillance Systems business to develop and deliver Company and Customer Funded systems projects based upon our client's radar technology. Activities will include all aspects of the Systems Engineering lifecycle from System Concept through to Delivery and Acceptance, including Bid Support, System Design and System Integration. Job Details: Essential: • Experience of systems design, integration & test. • An understanding of Systems and Product lifecycles from concept through to delivery. • An understanding of a range of Engineering disciplines (Software, Mechanical, and Electrical). • Good inter-personal skills with the ability to communicate to all levels within the organisation and externally. • The flexibility to apply skills and knowledge across a number of different projects and products across the organisation. • Computer literate with a good standard of written English, capable of compiling accurate, detailed, and well-presented technical proposals, specifications and reports. Desirable: • An understanding of Radar Systems is desirable, although not essential if other complementary skills demonstrate a capacity to understand new technologies quickly and effectively. • Experience of the whole product lifecycle (concept generation, concept demonstration, development, production and in-service support). • Experience of working with and developing systems using communications protocols. (e.g., RS485, RS232, TCP-IP, Canbus etc.) • Experience of working on product development for Naval Platforms. • Experience of working on or with Navigation equipment. • The ability to lead multi-skilled engineering teams. • Member of a Professional Engineering Institution (e.g. IMechE, IET, INCOSE). • UK Security clearance. • UK Driving License. Skills and Experience: • Ideally qualified to Degree level in Engineering/Mathematics/Physics although relevant, equivalent experience is acceptable. • Adaptable, resourceful and proactive approach. • Strong communication skills. • Good presentation and time management skills. • Customer and results focussed. • An aptitude for problem solving and an eye for detail.Read more
- Project Manager
KDC are now recruiting for one of our busiest clients in the Dorset area! If you are an experienced Project Manager and looking for your next challenge in the Defence industry, then this could be the position you have been waiting for! Job Summary Reporting to the Head of Programmes, the Project Manager will ensure the delivery of our Sitework and Factory Production projects from planning stage through to delivery, against required outputs, outcomes, and timeframes. The PM will continually seek opportunities to increase customer satisfaction and deepen client relationships in their areas of activity. Leadership: • Promote and demonstrate on time, right first-time quality and customer service philosophy across the team and Company • Promote cross-functional collaboration, especially between Ops, ME, Procurement and BD • Promote Environmental, Health and Safety awareness across the team and Company • Engage with the Senior Management in the business and with external customers. • Contribute to and attend various meetings/forums and action agreed commitments • Implement continuous improvement of Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) framework across the business for all agreed programmes / projects Project Management: • Plan and schedule opportunities under bidding activity in support of the BD department • Clearly define project structures and plans, defining the Work Breakdown Structure and Work Packages building on the information generated during the data analysis phase • Ensure that all customer expectations are understood, managed and delivered. • Develop plans with stakeholder buy-in and pass to Resource Planner for integration into overall business resource plan. • Monitor, report and manage the project budget, identifying and taking actions to avoid any negative impact to the declared profit margin. This includes capturing any scope creep and working with the BD team to evaluate potential variations. • Monitoring of key KPIs to ensure production programme milestones are delivered • Continually seek opportunities to increase customer satisfaction and deepen client relationships • Implement a continuous improvement of Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) framework across the business for all agreed programmes / projects Key Skills: • Relevant degree or equivalent experience in Project Management related subject • 3 years' Project Management experience - industry related (Defence preferable) • Compliant with business process and approach • Excellent communication, team working and problem-solving skills • Safety-conscious approach to work • Continuous Improvement, zero defect and customer focused mind-set • Good commercial skills and awareness; ability to understand contracts and provide an input into contracts where required. • A good team player with a flexible attitude to work load • Proven experience in implementation of PLM (or similar) frameworks (Governance)Read more
- Electro Mech Design Team Lead
KDC Projects are looking for an ElectroMechanical Design Team Lead for our busy Bournemouth office supporting one of our key local Defence Clients. the Job description follows below, Report to the KDC Design Lead and Ops Manager • We require a design team leader to manage a small team of designers supporting a Local Defence Client. • Tasking will be based in KDC Bournemouth, initially working from home, with regular visits to the customer in the local area • Engineer will be required to scope, manage, and check fixed price design work packages. • Engineering drawing support to electrical CAD team. • Creation of Models and drawings in support of works Program. • Formalised checking of Electro-Mech drawings/models Manage deliverables to KDC and customer quality processes. • Ability to work independently. • Engineer will be required to liaise with customer on weekly basis. • Flexibility to travel to customer a must. • Dependency Management Essential Skills Key experiences and skills • Previously experience of managing and delivering fixed price packages • Previously experience of managing design team • Ability to manage customer. • Risk Management • Project Scoping • Understanding of ISO9001 standards • Budget Management • Harnware loom tool • ElectroMech design, familiarity of loom design. • Bluebeam • Electro-Mech Design including PCB Assy's • Knowledge of how a PLM system works, ideally Windchill. Advantageous Skills • CATIA v5 • VPM • PASS v2 or PDM Link • ATA57 • Routed System • Exposure to customers • Solidworks If this sounds like it could be of interest, please apply through the methods shown. If you would like to chat in more detail or apply directly, contact Brandon Goudie at KDC on: bgoudie@kdcresource or alternatively, call on 01202596371. Thank you!Read more
- Principle FPGA Design Engineer
KDC are now recruiting for one of our biggest clients based in the South East! This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced FPGA Design Engineer to join an ever-growing business and have the chance to continue to grow their skills. So, if you are looking for your next role and have a keen interest in the Defence industry, this could be the role for you! This lucky candidate will have the chance to assist the team in the decomposition of top-level system or product requirements into an implementable FPGA architecture. With your background you will be able to provide knowledge of electronic design, test and certification of systems based around advanced FPGAs. In this position you will be working under the FPGA Engineering Manager, to provide coaching, leadership, and guidance to other Design Engineers. Job Details: • To support and enhance existing Firmware in accordance with business and commercial requirements. • To be responsible for defining requirements for a feature/bug fix up to full system level; design and document a solution that meets the requirements; and, implement, test and verify the design meets the requirements with supported test evidence. • To undertake design, implementation and debugging of VHDL based FPGA hardware. • To undertake design and development of test benches and vectors to verify VHDL based FPGA. • To write technical documentation including requirement specifications, test specification and functional description. • Opportunities to lead projects/work packages. This will involve scoping the task and defining resources together with estimated time scales. Project ownership will involve monitoring project progress and reporting to stake holders. • To be responsible for building a Software/Firmware package for release; including configuring the release, raising the appropriate documentation and chairing the release meeting. • The change to use test equipment such as: oscilloscopes, spectrum analysers, signal generators, etc. to test hardware on the bench running your implemented Firmware and verify it operates as expected. • Mentoring of junior members of the team and providing construct feedback in code/document reviews. • To conduct appropriate Design Reviews of FPGA design and VHDL implementation. • To undertake system design at the highest level and creation of suitable documentation to allow implementation of system to take place. • The chance to write technical documentation including requirement specifications, test specification and functional description • Help with in house training on FPGA design, techniques, and tools. • Leadership and supervisory role for more junior engineers. • To take part in higher-level product definition and design review activity, providing expert input from an FPGA perspective. Skills and Requirements: • Relevant Masters or Bachelors Degree. • 10 or more years' experience working on FPGA designs. • Experience working on systems containing multiple FPGAs. • Proven track record of analysing system requirements at the highest level and decomposing them into a suitable implementation for a product. • Proven track record of producing designs on time and within budget. • Experience working on Radar or related DSP applicationRead more
- Senior FPGA Engineer
Senior FPGA Engineer, Newport KDC are currently seeking a Senior FPGA Engineer for one of their clients who is a global leader in Aerospace, Defence and Space. The Senior FPGA Engineer is responsible to the Head of Hardware Engineering for executing allocated FPGA Work Packages within agreed cost, time and quality constraints. The Senior FPGA Engineer is responsible for demonstrating that the developed product meets all specified product and customer requirements, by §Analysing requirements, specifying and documenting the FPGA solution and work breakdown §Preparing FPGA architectural and detailed designs and documentation §FPGA design generation and implementation §FPGA design verification §Integration of FPGAs onto the target platform §Providing FPGA technical support §Controlling and reviewing work of the members of their team (where a team exists) §Supporting the company FPGA development process and procedure updates • All FPGAs are designed, developed, integrated and tested in accordance with Clients Defence and Space standards; all supporting documents are produced in accordance with Clients Defence and Space standards. • Appropriate processes and methodologies are used to design and deliver allocated FPGA development work packages meeting cost, time and quality targets, agreed with their development team leader. • Technical design decisions are made within the context of known practices, established precedents and acquired technical expertise. The cost/benefits of design possibilities are understood, and that judgement calls can be made based on them • The provision of technical guidance to fellow team members in at least one major tool or technique used by Client • Success of both internal and external design reviews and project reviews throughout the development life cycle. • The support of the design and development of critical components where decisions may have a significant impact on project timescales. • Customer liaison, by representing Clients Defence and Space on project related technical matters at Stakeholder meetings. • Design and Development by taking a technical role as a Prime on a critical component where necessary. • Report to Team Leader or Prime as appropriate • Technical interface to Customers • Effective collaboration with other engineering disciplines to agree specifications and to carry out integration and test • Co-ordinate own time management with regard to project task milestones • The focus of the job is Operational - delivery of project funded Work Packages. • Analytical - To identify and isolate errors in the FPGA or integrated target platform, their likely causes and solutions. • Ingenuity - To work on his/her own on a complete FPGA design from concept to delivery. Essential Experience • Must have experience of FPGA design & implementation for communications equipment or equivalent • Must have excellent FPGA development process knowledge • Must be an experienced engineer, fully versed in design methodologies for their field able to work on their own, but providing regular reporting • Must have recent design experience of devices from the following suppliers: oAltera oMicrosemi oXilinx • Desirable to have recent experience of using several of the following tools/development environments: oAltera Quartus II oMentor ModelSim oMicroSemi Libero IDE oMicrosemi Libero SoC oXilinx Vivado Essential Skills • Must be proficient in the use of VHDL • Must be proficient in the use of at least one simulation tool • Must be proficient in the use of at least one FPGA synthesis tool • Must have a good understanding of requirements capture, and of work package definition and estimation • Must be highly self-motivated, articulate, with good verbal and written communications skills • Must have good team working skills This role requires current SC Clearance. As a successful candidate you will be expected to work a 37 hour week on a day rate or £400/day LTD company. If you are interested in the role, please apply or contact myself on 01202 596374.Read more
- Microwave Equipment Design Engineer
RF Microwave Equipment Design Engineer Role Overview A vacancy has arisen for an RF- Microwave Equipment Design Engineer within the Communication Products Group based in Portsmouth. The Communication Products group is responsible for the development of RF and Digital Equipment for use in telecommunication Satellites. This role is focused on the design and manufacture of RF equipment such as SSPAs, LNAs, Frequency Converters and Frequency References and high speed digital interfacing for satellite payloads from UHF through to Ka band and higher. The availability of advanced Payload Equipment is the driving force behind the telecommunication satellite industry, and the team is a proven world leader in this field. The successful applicant will be subject to UK Security Clearance in order to undertake related work in accordance with business needs. Accountabilities Your main tasks and responsibilities will include: §Design and manufacturing support for a wide range of equipment including new Power Amplifier and frequency converter products covering electrical RF/DC performance analysis, assessment of mechanical realisation and oversight of production test §Undertake detailed design of amplifier matching circuits, filters, mixer circuits and entire circuit line-up using Keysight ADS. §Perform development testing. §Co-ordinate design activity, manage BoM and product documentation. §Generate equipment analyses and present at internal and external Design reviews. §Support product production including results reviews and problem solving from sub-circuit through to equipment level. §Technically Liaise with Customer and Partner companies This is an office-based role but it will involve occasional travel within the UK, Europe & North America/Canada and as such you must be able to travel accordingly. Required Skills We are looking for applicants with the following skills and experience: §Experience in high reliability RF Microwave circuit design §Experience using RF and microwave test equipment §Have good analytical and technical problem-solving skills §Excellent communication and inter-personal skills, with the ability to interact with subject matter experts regarding a wide range of technical and operational topics Desirable Skills §Recent experience with RF CAD modelling tools such as Keysight ADS §Experience within a manufacturing environment. §Ability to produce clear concise technical design documentation §The candidate will be educated to degree level with an RF electronics focus This role requires current SC Clearance. As a successful candidate you will be expected to work a 37 hour week on a hourly rate or £45/hr LTD company. If you are interested in the role, please apply or contact myself on 01202 596374.Read more
- Airframe Dynamics Expert - Rotary Wing
Are you an Aircraft Dynamics engineer with experience working on rotary-wing aircraft? Are you looking for a new opportunity that will truly challenge you? KDC is working with a futuristic aerospace company in Germany that has assembled a team of world class engineers who are currently working on developing a fully autonomous eVTOL aircraft. They have successfully completed several test flights and have developed state of the art R&D facilities. Our client is currently looking for someone with expertise in structural dynamics for rotorcraft and knowledge of multidisciplinary stability analysis (aerodynamics, flight control) and respective analysis methods. You will work closely with aerodynamicists, flight control experts, structural designers, and analysts to provide dynamic analysis to support the aircraft development and certification process. Responsibilities: • Preparation, execution, and interpretation of structural dynamics computations of the aircraft • Structural dynamic and aeroelastic analysis to demonstrate compliance with certification requirements • Develop and perform system - airframe interaction analysis • Definition of the test plan to generate the required validation database • Validation of structural dynamics models and tools based on test results (GVT, ground, and flight tests) • Data analysis and interpretation for identification of aircraft vibration environments • Collaborate with other teams to provide aircraft level structural dynamics information • Develop standardized analysis and reporting tools • Prepare compliance demonstration documents for the certification process of the aircraft You will need: • Minimum of 4 years professional experience of rotorcraft airframe dynamics • Experience of model validation process - previous experience with Ground Vibration Test and Flight Test essential • Knowledge of aeroelastic effects • Experience with FEM methods and tools • Nastran, Femap, Matlab expertise. Python is a plus • Type certification experience is also an advantage Our client offers a career where you will have the opportunity to relocate to Germany and work with the most advanced technologies available within electric aviation, as well as the opportunity to shape the organizational setup right from the start. This role comes with a full relocation package, as well as a competitive salary and benefits.Read more
- Systems Architect
Software Architect KDC are looking for an Earth Observation (EO) Software Architect to support pivotal project work over the coming months and years, as well as offering the chance to support with bid and proposal writing to shape future projects for one of their Space clients. Our client is based in the UK containing over 2500 people working in the growing field of Space Systems and operations and Geo-Information. It is majority owned by Leonardo, one of the UK's largest defence, aerospace and security companies Our client is looking to fill a diverse and critical role to support our broad Space systems architecture work covering missions across UK and European, in civil and defence. Duties & Responsibilities Software Architect oSystem Design Authority - responsible for the design of EO data storage, processing and exploitation systems oPlan and execute Integration and Test campaigns oProduction of documents (technical and also development plans) oPreparation and participation in technical reviews • Preparation of proposals to win new work including: oUnderstanding of the technical requirements and the context within the overall project scope. oSpecification of the solution, trading off alternatives oWriting clear, concise, technical proposals to express the solution and its benefits to the client • Software Development oOn occasion the role can require hands-on software development support to projects (e.g. coding of critical areas, code review, prototyping/validating approaches & frameworks to be adopted). Qualifications & Experience • University Bachelor's Degree in Software Engineering or related discipline with software modules. The candidate should also have around 10 years commercial experience of software development, preferably in a geospatial domain Essential Skills • Requirements analysis • Software system design using modern architectures • Configuration management (Git source code control) • Agile software development methodology • Linux development • Resource Oriented Architecture Development (REST) • User Identification, Authentication and Authorisation (e.g. SAML, OAUTH, OIDC) • Continuous integration/deployment environments (e.g. Jenkins) • Virtualisation / cloud based computing • Containers and Orchestration (e.g. Docker/Kubernetes) Desirable Skills • Knowledge of earth observation data types, exploitation platforms and processing • Knowledge of OGC Standards (e.g. WPS, WMS, WFS, WCS) • Technical proposal writing • Integration and Test • Big Data Processing & Frameworks (e.g. Hadoop) • Big Data Databases (e.g. HDFS, other non-SQL) • Scripting (e.g. shell, perl, python) Qualities • Self-starter • Strong written and oral communication • Team player, open and keen to contribute • Conscientious, hard working • Attention to detail Benefits Competitive Package covering salary, generous holiday allowance, training plan and more. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, then please apply or contact me on 01202 596374.Read more
- Quality Engineer
KDC are now recruiting for one of our busiest Defence clients based in Portland area. This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced Quality Engineer to join a team growing at an amazing rate. So if you are looking for your next position and have a passion for the Defence industry, then this could be the role for you! Job Summary: The lucky candidate will have the chance to engage with Customers, Engineering, Supply Chain and Production to provide professional Quality guidance to assess, correct and maintain the product and process quality using statistical tools, documented methods, and audits. Provide technical advice to the Senior Management Team on Quality, reliability, safety, and performance issues encountered during the product lifecycle. Key Responsibilities: Quality Assurance/Control • QA interface with customers, suppliers, Programmes and Production on all Quality issues. • Maintain database for Non-Conforming Product and implement improvements techniques to reduce external and internal rejects. • Succeed in driving down rejects, eliminating system errors and reduce the overall Cost of Quality' • Support the quality team functions of monitoring, measurement and recording of all quality Control activities and systems, capturing all issues, queries, and non- conformances for remedial actions • Prepare Quality Plans as required and fully participate in the Integrated Design & Build' process for all products • AS9102 FAIR compilation, review, and sign of both internal and external (Supply Chain) • Responsible for QASOR documentation packs compilation and support review with customer • Support in developing a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation and facilitating the implementation of Tods Quality Systems • Proactive member of the Team, carrying out whatever duties are necessary to achieve the Quality Cost Delivery objectives at the discretion of the Quality Director or Managing Director Quality Audits: • Carry out Internal Audits in accordance with EN AS9100 requirements, in line with the internal audit schedule • Ensure timely closure of any resulting internal audit NCRs and support stakeholders with RCA and CAPA activities • Support any customer/regulatory 3rd party audits • Carry out any Supply Chain audits to support supplier approvals, supplier monitoring or supplier performance issues Key Words: Quality Engineer, AS9102, Inspections, Audits, 5Y, 8D, Defence, AerospaceRead more
- Senior HIL Test Engineer - System Integrator
Are you an Experienced Hardware In the Loop Test Engineer with experience of System Integration in Aerospace? Are you looking for a new opportunity that will truly challenge you? KDC is working with a futuristic aerospace company in Germany that has assembled a team of world class engineers who are currently working on developing a fully autonomous eVTOL aircraft. They have successfully completed several test flights and have developed state of the art R&D facilities. Our client is currently looking for an HIL Test Expert with at least 3 years' experience in with Matlab/Simulink Labview and ECU interfacing. Responsibilities: • Design and develop HIL test benches/rigs for the system and sub-system level tests of aircraft. • Identification of instrumentation requirements in relation to aircraft, system and sub-system specifications. • Design and develop custom test equipment for data acquisition, measurement, failure injection etc. including creation of procedures and documentation. • Design and develop custom test equipment for System Integration system with High Power usage. • Integration of HIL test rigs, plant models and real subsystem of aircraft to the closed loop HIL test setup to provide end to end representation of the aircraft. • Perform the test execution with automated test tools and measurement equipment for verification and validation activities. • Evaluation of test reports and the test results. • Creation of Failure Analysis Reports/defect reporting when required. • Report and discuss test results with the system development team. You'll need: • Qualification in Electrical/Electronics, Mechanical, Mechatronics Engineering, Physics or a related field required. • Min of 3-5 years of professional hands-on experience with Matlab/Simulink, Simulink-RT Modelling, Labview RT and interfacing electronic control unit features into HIL framework. • Experience in test & test rig instrumentation, test execution & data processing . • Experience and familiarity with HIL test systems like Speedgoat, DSpace or NI . • Strong knowledge of Bus modelling & Simulation and HIL development Experience and knowledge in electrical and communication architectures. • Good understanding of network protocols like, CAN, ARINC,RS422/485, UART, ethernet. • Good understanding of mechatronics basics on sensors, actuators and controller systems. • Good knowledge of development lifecycle and ERP tools is a plus. • High level of self-reliance with the ability to work in a team, as well as autonomous. • Target-oriented, driven work style with analytic problem-solving skills required. • Fluent English language skills are essential, German not required Our client offers a career where you'll have the opportunity work with the most advanced technologies available within electric aviation, as well as the opportunity to progress within a highly ambitious business where the mission is to take on the future's most complex engineering challenges. This role is based in Germany and comes with a competitive salary and benefits package. Want to learn more? Click apply for more details.Read more
- Principle Design Engineer
KDC are now recruiting for one of our top clients based over in Dorchester. This is a great opportunity to grow your skills as a Principle Design Engineer and work in a new and challenging environment. If you are Design Engineer and are looking for a new opportunity, then this could be the role for you! In this role the lucky candidate will be working closely with the Engineering Manager undertaking design tasks using computer aided design (CATIA V5, CAD, TRANS) and PLM data management tools. The lucky candidate will also be defining design methodology and provide design solutions that satisfy design to cost and design for manufacture best practice. Key Responsibilities: •Prepare technical proposals and quotations. •Technically direct Design Engineers and sub-contractors. •Develop designs into a production ready product that meets the requirement specification. Liaise with internal stakeholders and ensure that the Engineering process is adhered to. •Check and approve drawings, CAD models and Change Notes. •Ensure all design activity is carried out to company procedures or overriding customer requirements. Ensure project conformity to requirements. •As a Project Owner, you will be responsible for design file management, project resource management, project schedule adherence and project budget management •Technical Query support. •Perform RF analysis. •Other tasks as required in support of company strategy as directed by the Technical Director. Requirements: •Relevant Engineering degree or equivalent experience and further professional training. •Approximately 5 years design engineering experience including project ownership. •Complete understanding of CATIA V5 CAD and design office procedures. •Strong and relevant knowledge of composite materials and ability to generate design solutions to meet technical specifications. •Ability to make instinctive design decisions with limited information •Ability to direct and influence the performance of junior employees. •Ability to write and approve reports and provide design based input to engineering review meetings. •Computer literate. •Excellent organisational skills. •Excellent communication skills, internally and externally. •A good team player with a flexible attitude to work load. Key Words: Principle Design Engineer, CATIA V5, CAD, PLM, Defence, DorchesterRead more
Aerospace and Defence
KDC Resource has been operating in the aerospace and defence sector since 2002. We work with the world’s leading defence and civil aerospace companies to source and place high quality permanent and contract talent. We understand organisations like these need the finest engineering talent in order to help them develop some of the most sophisticated technologies in the world. We are currently engaged in finding leading technical talent for projects – among others – that are linked to the national defence of the United Kingdom. Our specialist team have successfully supported our clients find leading talent for roles across: Part 21 J, Certification, Cabin Interiors, Design, Avionics Design, Structures, Electrical Design, Compliance Verification Engineer (CVE), Head of Design, Airworthiness and EASA. KDC Resource is actively working on similar roles requiring industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels. Scroll down to learn more. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
The private Space sector is relatively young. The decommissioning of the Space Shuttle Programme was an opportunity for private businesses to support NASA with its operations both in orbit and beyond. Elsewhere in the world organisations are pioneering new satellite technologies, unmanned probes and innovative new ways to combat space junk. KDC Resource are proud to be working with a number of these organisations providing highly skilled technical talent into Flight Dynamics, AOCS, Earth Observation, GNSS, Mission Operations, Ground Segment and Payload. Our specialist recruitment consultants are actively searching for industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels including Systems Engineers, Payload Engineers, AOCS Engineers, Product Assurance Engineers, RF Engineers and Control Engineers. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
Emerging and Disruptive Technologies
The world is always changing and that brings new opportunities and new innovations. At KDC Resource, our emerging and disruptive technologies team works with organisations that upset the status quo. Whether that’s how we travel or how we use technology to revolutionise mundane tasks. We have recruited for roles across the eVTOL, Urban Mobility, Electric Vehicle, Drone, Energy, Battery Technology, Autonomous Systems and Composite Structure markets. Including roles such as Battery Systems Engineers, Flight Control Law Engineers, AI Software Developers, Prototype Engineers, Autonomous System Engineers, and Safety and Reliability Engineers. Our specialist recruitment consultants are actively searching for industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and businesses of all sizes are struggling to muster a meaningful defence. There are genuine concerns that critical infrastructure could be targeted by hackers or by enemy states in event of a conflict. Which is why finding the best cyber security and technology specialists takes experts. We are proud to work with some of the market leaders in this vital industry to find top tier candidates to fulfil cybersecurity roles at every level. Roles we recruit for include: Penetration Testers, Ethical Hackers, Security Analysts, Cyber Security Architects, Software Engineers, Technical Project Managers, AI Engineers, Sales Managers and Cyber Account Executives. Our specialist recruitment consultants are actively searching for industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
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The Fundamentals of Battery Tech
Rechargeable batteries have become ubiquitous in our everyday lives. From mobile phones to electric cars, the ability to plug our devices in and power them up has become second nature. But many of us overlook the more profound understanding of battery packs and how they are produced. Considering they are made from potentially rare and finite materials, it is worth diving a bit deeper into the batteries' issue to understand how we can move forwards with a product that will only become more popular. What exactly is a battery? It is fair to assume that anyone could define a battery: a portable power source for a wide range of electrical devices. According to Science Direct, though, a battery pack includes: - The battery - Contactors - Pre-charge circuitry - Fuse - Manual service disconnect - High-voltage integrity loop circuit In short, a battery pack contains the circuitry necessary to manage the power sourced from a battery. Different systems require additional components. For example, electric vehicles require a battery cooling system to improve efficiency and prolong battery life. All batteries contain the same essential components: an anode, a cathode, electrolyte, and a separator. Each is necessary for a battery to function. In lithium-ion batteries, the cathode is the lithium ions source, which passes through the electrolyte to the anode. These four components make up a single cell, a battery in itself or used alongside other cells to make a larger battery. For example, a AA battery is one cell, but a typical car battery contains six cells. The cathode contains lithium oxide, which is attracted to the active material in the anode. It passes through the electrolyte solution, which contains salts and solvents to enable the passage of lithium ions. The separator, as the name implies, provides an absolute barrier between the anode and cathode. They are usually made of resin, such as polyethene and polypropylene, and their construction determines the battery’s safety. EV batteries contain a range of rare earth minerals. At the most basic level, these are lithium and cobalt. However, some vehicles (such as the Tesla Model 3) contain permanent magnet rotors. These rely on much rarer elements, such as terbium, neodymium, or dysprosium. While lithium and cobalt are not particularly rare materials, their inclusion in rechargeable batteries means that demand is incredibly high. Tesla recently warned of the impending shortage of what it calls “battery metals”. What to consider when developing a battery pack Different devices require different performance from their battery packs. Although all battery packs perform the same job at the most basic level, there are some essential things to consider when designing the most suitable battery pack. These include: 1. Cell alignment As you may remember, from school physics classes, cell alignment impacts battery performance. Wiring the cells in series increases voltage, but wiring them in parallel increases amp hours. This is an essential consideration for EVs because they often require high voltage and a long run time. Finding the right balance between the two is vital for optimum performance. 2. Battery lifespan Sustainability is a big issue in the world of battery development, particularly during the design phase. The typical lifespan of a lithium-ion battery is up to three years using current technology. Of course, this can be improved on the consumer’s end with proper care, but developers are currently researching new ways to make batteries last longer in high-demand situations. 3. Material sources While lithium-ion batteries' main components are recyclable, increasing demand means they are still often mined for production; this comes with a range of ethical implications due to where these mines are located (more on this later). 4. Cost From development to production, batteries are expensive. According to McKinsey, EV batteries' cost dropped from $1000 to $227/kWh between 2010 and 2016. Even so, this means a 40kWh would cost around £10,000 in 2016. In many cases, consumers rent batteries from the car company due to these high costs. However, the aim is to drastically reduce prices in the coming years to improve accessibility across all sectors. The broader implications of battery production As has already been mentioned, there are several broader implications in battery design and production. The most important are cost, material sources, and safety. Batteries are expensive for several reasons, but it is mainly down to sourcing and mining the required earth metals. Lithium, for example, is not particularly rare but is the most necessary component of a lithium-ion battery. However, it is needed in large quantities: the Tesla Model S has roughly 12kg of lithium in its batteries! Lithium is mainly found in salt flats. While the extraction method is relatively inexpensive, it has a high environmental impact. One tonne of lithium requires 50,000 gallons of water to pump it to the surface. In Chile’s Atacama salt flats, lithium production uses 65% of the area’s water supply. In Tibet, another major site of lithium mining, chemicals are used during extraction; this has led to dangerous chemicals such as hydrochloric acid entering the local water supply. The same thing has been observed in Australia and North America. Then there is cobalt. More than 70% of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country famous for its government’s corruption and human rights violations. Its cobalt mines are no exception, as child labour, modern slavery, and violence have all been observed. As it stands, the DRC cannot be overlooked as a world source of cobalt due to its necessity. Several large companies are currently trying to formalise cobalt mining processes in the country to improve working conditions. But ethical and environmental concerns are not the only considerations in battery production. The transportation of these materials – particularly lithium – requires a range of safety protocols. Lithium is a highly reactive metal and easily catches fire; transportation to production facilities is difficult and expensive. Often it is rendered into the slightly more inert form of lithium oxide before transportation. However, even when turned into a usable cell, lithium presents some risks. The United Nations has developed a strict safety protocol for the transportation of lithium-ion batteries. All batteries must be rigorously safety checked before packaging and must be packaged in several layers of resistant, fire retardant packaging. There are also strict rules regarding fires on transportation vehicles. In air transport, planes are forced to land as early as possible to resolve the issue, and all transportation methods require batteries to be contained in UN packing group 1 (explosives) packaging. Another critical factor is the environmental impact of shipping. From mining in China to South Korea production and sale in the USA, this impact can be significant. Depending on the length of its journey, transporting lithium-ion batteries can create a carbon footprint of 4.1kg CO2e/kWh. In short, there are many reasons why batteries are expensive, and their impact goes well beyond the consumer’s wallet. In cases such as eVTOLs and EVs, these cost and production issues currently present reasonable barriers to this technology's wider rollout. The expertise in building batteries As you can imagine, expertise in lithium-ion battery tech is a big industry. From its initial development to modern improvements, much of the expertise can be traced back to a handful of companies. One such company is LG Chem, a subset of South Korean firm LG; in 1999, the company began mass production of Korea’s first lithium-ion battery, and by 2011 was the third-largest manufacturer within its industry worldwide. Its annual production capacity by this time was 1 billion cells. LG Chem manufactures batteries from start to finish and has developed its own advanced cathode materials for improved function and longevity. Also, the company has an R&D arm called LG Chem Power based in Michigan, USA. Its nearby production plant produces up to 200,000 EV battery packs each year for the American market, including Chevrolet and Ford. China is another major source of battery production. As 60% of the world’s lithium processing happens there, this is hardly a surprise. Two large producers located in China are Ganfeng Lithium and Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), which, along with US-based Livent and Tianqi, control 70% of the world’s entire lithium supply. While the EU is positioning itself as a global leader in battery management tech, much of the chemical expertise is found in Asia and the US. China, for example, boasts several leading companies, all of which have dedicated R&D departments. The same is true for Korean LG. Japan is also making headway in the market, as Panasonic and Toyota have both started operating battery facilities with their own development departments. The future of lithium batteries It is fair to say that lithium-ion batteries have almost reached the extent of their ability. While they are useful in devices like smartphones and laptops, their use in EVs is limited by their sheer capacity. Add to this the issues of sustainability and ethics, and we will likely see a battery revolution in the coming years. Tesla is already starting this revolution. They have made efforts to source their precious metals ethically and to reduce the process’s carbon footprint. Also, they offer end-of-life and recycling services on all their cars. Tesla also uses solar power in its Gigafactory to produce batteries for the US market. Other avenues under consideration include adapting battery technology into new forms, such as lithium-sulfur and solid-state batteries. These provide greater energy density, greater safety, and better lifespans. Importantly, this makes them particularly appealing for use in eVTOLs. Sustainability is a big issue for the future of battery production. As demand increases, so does our reliance on questionable sources. Ethical and environmental implications are well known, but little is being done to combat these in meaningful ways effectively. For batteries to shape the future of transport, this needs to change quickly. Conclusion Battery packs present the opportunity for a greener future in which we rely less on fossil fuels. However, we are at a unique point in the journey where the switch will require a rapid overhaul of our current understanding of batteries and their capabilities. To reach the true potential of rechargeable batteries, companies must take a hard look at production, sourcing, and broader environmental impacts.
Why Should You Work Within the Defence Industry?
If you are an engineer looking for varied, stable, and long-term work, you could do a lot worse than working within the defence industry. It is a sector that sees sustained growth year on year and can always offer a wide range of different specialisms. This article is built around three major defence projects that are currently ongoing. Hopefully, by looking in a bit more detail at what they offer, we will show you why the defence industry has such an inviting career prospect. What is it like to work in defence? One of the significant advantages of the defence industry is that it is relatively stable. After all, countries always need new defence technologies, and existing machines need constant upkeep. Therefore, there are still jobs available for those willing to put in the work. Similarly, the work is both incredibly challenging and exciting. You probably already know that defence technology is pretty much always at the cutting edge of human capabilities, regardless of the specific technology under consideration. Just look at the UK’s current push towards things like autonomous warfare; this is a pioneering and revolutionary tech branch that has never been attempted before. The work is also diverse. Whether you are employed by a civil giant such as BAE Systems or a small start-up, the range of projects that will come your way is massive. Working on new air combat systems will provide unique challenges and considerations that will take some great minds to solve. What does defence recruitment look like? In 2020 alone, tens of thousands of new permanent and contract positions became available in the defence industry. In short, it is a fast-growing and ever-expansive industry. This is, of course, a significant advantage when looking for a career. What is more, it is the kind of industry you will be set in for life. If you are looking for different ways into the defence industry, the two main routes are apprenticeships and graduate schemes. In 2021, there will be 850 apprenticeship schemes and 400 graduate roles. Companies like BAE offer a range of apprenticeship and graduate roles each year that are suitable for a range of different tastes and interests. You can also find more information about working directly for the MoD on the government’s website. Current defence projects As mentioned, we will look at three major defence projects that are underway. The career prospects on these projects vary depending on what stage they are at, but if nothing else, they serve as a good illustration of what is available. A400M “Atlas” The A400M is a state-of-the-art, three-in-one aircraft system developed by Airbus for the armed forces. It can serve on tactical airlifting missions, strategic airlifting missions, an in-air refuelling missions. The A400M can deliver large payloads to ad-hoc runways with better precision and capabilities than previous cargo aircraft. As you can probably tell, the A400M was developed with adaptability in mind. A flexible and versatile aircraft that is able to serve a range of uses reduces overall costs and increases logistic options. In short, the A400M is a game-changing aircraft that reflects the state of modern warfare. It was launched in 2003 and made its first flight in 2009. The A400M was developed in direct response to seven countries' challenges: Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, the UK, and Turkey. Parts are manufactured across these countries, with the UK specialising in the production of its composite wings. Unlike the other projects we will cover, the A400M has been in production for nearly a decade. However, it is likely to stay in use for many years to come, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for production and upkeep roles. Tempest The Tempest is shaping up to be an incredible aircraft. It is due to replace the current Typhoon, which is in use by the RAF. The Tempest is still in the development stage and will be rolled out in 2035. It is being built through a joint venture between BAE, the MoD, the RAF, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK, and MBDA UK. It will feature revolutionary technology in uncrewed flight, drone swarming, advanced weaponry, HUD, and flight systems. We have previously written an article that goes into much more detail about its capabilities, which you can find on our blog. Post-launch in 2035; there will be plenty of roles, such as maintenance and optimisation, similar to the A400M. It is likely the Tempest will be in use for several decades, meaning there will be plenty of employment opportunities on the project. Boeing KC-46 The KC-46 is an aerial refuelling system currently under development by Cobham Aerospace and Boeing. It employs state of the art technology in the form of electric and hydraulic architecture. Cobham has a proven track record of revolutionary air-to-air refuelling systems, and the KC-46 will be no exception. Due to developmental issues, the project has been delayed by several years. However, this is a potentially good thing for those in the job market because it means there is plenty of work left to do. Conclusion So, why should you work within the defence industry? Well, as we mentioned, the work is diverse, engaging, and challenging. What is more, it allows you to be at the cutting-edge of engineering developments: defence gets all the good stuff long before the civilian sector. Of course, there will always be plenty of new and exciting job opportunities in defence. And once you find a sector you love, you will be set with a career for life.
The Tempest: the Future of the UK’s Air Force
As part of the UK government’s recent investment in the armed forces, greater attention has been paid to the air force's newest addition: The Tempest. As a sixth-generation jet fighter, the Tempest offers a host of intelligent upgrades over the current Typhoon model. This article will dive a bit deeper into what the Tempest will offer, how it differs from the Typhoon, and when we can expect to see it rolled out. The Tempest concept The Tempest was announced in 2018 at the Farnborough Airshow by then-defence secretary Gavin Williamson. In 2019, Italy announced its involvement in the project, as did Sweden in the capacity developing relevant aircraft technologies. In the same year, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, MBDA, and Leonardo S.p.A joined as manufacturers. The Tempest will be rolled out by 2035 as a direct replacement for the Typhoon used by both the RAF and the Italian Air Force (AMI). Currently, the project is still in the research and development phase, with public companies and universities working together to produce sixty technology prototypes. Team Tempest (as the project is known) employs 1,800 people, which is expected to rise to 2,500 in 2021. From a technology perspective, the Tempest offers a range of exciting and modern developments. The most notable include the ability to be flown unmanned and its ability to use swarming technology to control drone fleets. It will also use AI deep learning and use directed-energy weapons. Another significant advancement is what the project calls a “wearable cockpit”. In short, this refers to the pilots using augmented and virtual reality technology in their helmet that will project a virtual cockpit interface. Team Tempest is also developing its version of Cooperative Engagement Capability technology, designed to integrate data from a wide range of sources into more effective combat strategies. It uses sources such as air search sensors into a track picture that works in real-time. In short, the key differences between the Tempest and the Typhoon are the former’s advances in future technology. While we do not have much information about the Tempest’s eventual specs, Andrew Kennedy from BAE Systems claims it will have a flexible payload, hypersonic weapons, and high-energy weaponry. The Tempest will be slightly longer than the Typhoon (19m compared to 16m), and will have a similar top speed of Mach 2. The Tempest compared to other aircraft The Tempest’s current direct competition is the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) being developed by France, Germany, and Spain. Like the Tempest, the FCAS will replace comparative models in these countries. In Germany’s case, it will also be replacing the Typhoon. The European FCAS will also use crewless flight technology and drone swarming and mirror the Tempest in terms of power output and flexible payload. The projects will likely bear many similarities, as more features are unveiled. However, one key difference is that the FCAS will arrive later – its rollout will be around 2040. Conclusion Although still nearly two decades from completion, the Tempest project will arguably push current technology boundaries. The ability to be flown unmanned, along with the long-range sensing technology and adaptive displays, will make the Tempest an incredibly versatile addition to the battlefield.
UAMs Will Bring About the Next Revolution in Battery Technology
Urban air mobility (UAM) is a great concept. However, we are still a few years away from seeing it rolled out into our cities. Although some of the technology and theory exists, even adapting extant tech is proving to be a massive hurdle in the race for urban air taxis. Surprisingly, one area that presents the most challenge is battery technology. While this is has improved massively in recent years, EVTOL vehicles present a range of issues that will inevitably revolutionise battery technology. The challenges Many of the challenges faced by UAM manufacturers are unique to the industry. However, some are shared with the electric automobile sector. As we see it, the main challenges can be broken down as follows: Range Charging strategies Sustainability of production Optimised power delivery Passenger safety One significant issue that impacts all of these factors is that the lithium-ion battery as we know it is almost at peak performance. Its structure and function arguably limit its size and application, so will it be the best choice for UAMs? Uber, a leader in the world of UAM development, admitted back in 2018 that the battery technology they need simply does not exist yet. Their intention with this announcement was to call upon battery developers to begin research and development to produce the tech capable of powering UAMs. Range Arguably one of the major factors in UAM usage is range. A NASA market study concluded that UAMs would need to have a minimum range of 50+ miles and a maximum of 150 miles or more to be viable. They state this kind of range will require a battery capacity of at least 100kWh per flight. To reach this kind of range, developers must investigate improving energy density. A more significant number of battery cells, the amount needed to achieve this kind of capacity, would significantly impact the overall weight of the UAM. Too few would dramatically reduce range. Therefore, we must strike an appropriate balance. A study published by Aerospace Research Central concluded that a viable battery density for UAM tech would need to be around 400Wh/kg. This greatly exceeds the current density of lithium-ion batteries, which maxes out around 265Wh/kg. It is likely developers will need to look elsewhere for new materials or technologies to reach this desired level. Similarly, the battery arrangement within the vehicle is another factor to consider. As we know, arranging batteries in either series or parallel affects their performance. Parallel arrangements may prove favourite, as this will increase current. However, this will, of course, be impacted by overall voltage and energy density anyway. Charging strategies and optimisation Charging and battery life are issues we all face daily. Look at the current lifespan of a mobile phone battery; it is around three years if you are lucky. This problem increases exponentially when you are working with batteries on a larger scale with more regular (and necessary) charges. Quick charging will arguably become a major point in the world of UAMs. In the early stages, vehicles will likely need to be charged between flights, and long charging times will significantly limit their use. Current fast-charging technology for Tesla cars takes between 30 and 80 minutes for an 80% charge. We will inevitably need to see this time reduce to make UAMs a viable transportation method. Alternatively, modular batteries could offer a solution. In short, technicians will replace batteries throughout the day with freshly charged ones; this will reduce the need for charging times that take the vehicle out of action and improve each battery's lifespan because it would need fewer charges overall. However, this then adds the issue of crewing charging stations, which, to a degree, negates the purpose of a crewless vehicle. The market study cited above states that UAMs will need roughly 1.5 days of maintenance time per week and the concept of modular batteries will only increase this downtime. Charging times and physical energy density will only go so far, though. Software optimisation is another vital step for getting the most out of battery technology. Integrating concepts such as smart power usage, low power settings, and more will be necessary to ensure UAMs get the most out of their batteries. Within the topic of optimisation are considerations such as ensuring the batteries have sufficient reserves. They will need reserves for processes such as diversions and emergency landings. The energy required for these will need to be factored into the UAMs overall energy consumption software. Passenger safety Emergency landings arguably fall under the topic of passenger safety, something that cannot be overlooked when talking about battery usage. Aerospace accidents are few and far between, but significant, and the same is true for accidents involving mobile phone batteries. Battery safety in UAMs could be considered the middle ground between these two reasonably disparate topics. Accidents involving electric vehicles have the potential to be much more dangerous. Take, for example, James Hammond’s 2017 crash of the Rimac Concept One – an electric supercar. The car burst into a ball of flames upon collision, helped in part to the highly flammable nature of lithium-ion batteries. Overcoming this kind of danger will pose a big problem for the industry. Aside from emergency landings and possible emergency gliding functions, UAMs will probably have to include some type of fire-extinguishing technology. We could perhaps look to fire suppression tech used in server rooms as an example of how this could work: sensors and chemical suppression systems will need to catch the potential fire before it becomes a significant source of danger. Similarly, manufacturers will need to address the issue of fail-safes. For example, if one cell malfunctions, it will be vital that the others continue working. Much like aeroplane engine designs, this will be one of the most effective ways to ensure passenger safety and that the UAM can at least make an emergency landing. Of course, much like with cybersecurity in UAMs, the front line of passenger safety will be prevention. Battery technology will need to undergo rigorous testing before it is rolled out on a commercial scale, particularly as much of it will be new. Sustainability of production The final challenge worth considering is the issue of sustainability. It is something that already plagues the battery industry, both in production and recycling. Extraction of the core materials (primarily lithium) sometimes involves slave labour, which is an issue that must be addressed before all others. Then, there is the environmental impact. On the surface, electric vehicles suggest a more sustainable mode of transport than petrol-driven vehicles. However, the components are extracted using diesel vehicles and often carry more significant environmental concerns. For example, in the Atacama Salt Flats in Chile, the largest lithium reserves in the world, the process of extracting a single ton of lithium uses 500,000 gallons of water. Another issue currently being addressed is the construction of batteries. As it stands, if one part breaks, the whole battery must be discarded. However, we can overcome this by removing the process of welding from construction where possible and moving to a more modular design that allows for weaker areas to be replaced when necessary. Doing so would drastically improve batteries' overall lifespan and would bring their cost down significantly over time. Moving towards a more sustainable future will require better recycling processes. Companies like Fortum currently claim they can recycle 80% of the lithium-ion battery components using a low-carbon process. However, in 2018, the UK only recycled 45% of its rechargeable batteries. It will be necessary for the UAM industry to set up protocols to enable a greater battery recycling level, considering the potential rate at which they will use batteries. What does the future hold for battery tech? The next decade will be an important one for battery technology. Considering we currently do not have the right kind of tech to produce effective UAM batteries, we will inevitably see an overhaul of the whole industry. Importantly, this will be driven by the need for alternative solutions to petrol vehicles. UAMs offer this alternative, both as a greener form of transport and their power to reduce inner-city congestion. Furthermore, the industry is currently one of great popularity, so the needs for more efficient battery tech will be the main drivers in this revolution.