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The power of uSky Transport engineering

[31.08.2023]

uSky Transport continues to introduce you to its employees who are hard at work building Test Track 4, and this time around we would like to talk about such a profession as a design engineer.


A design engineer is a professional who combines engineering principles with creative thinking to design and develop products, systems, or structures. They are responsible for creating innovative solutions and meet specific requirements and constraints, taking into account factors such as utility, aesthetics, workability and cost-efficiency.

uSky Transport - “In essence, a lead design engineer is a person who combines all technical areas of responsibility”
“In essence, a lead design engineer is a person who combines all technical areas of responsibility”

Specific job responsibilities of a design engineer may vary by industry and specialization. Some common fields for these professionals are mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, and industrial design.


Design engineers typically use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create detailed drawings, models, or simulations of their designs. They collaborate with cross-functional teams, including other engineers, technicians, and product managers, to ensure that the project meets specifications and can be successfully manufactured or implemented.


uSky Transport team has just such a specialist in its arsenal, and we are interviewing him today.

uSky Transport - “It's an absolutely different transportation system”
“It's an absolutely different transportation system”

Good afternoon, Mikalai. Please tell us about what you do?


Yes, good afternoon. My name is Mikalai Drahun, I am a lead designer of the Transport Overpass Bureau. Currently, I hold position of Test Track 4 Lead Design Engineer at uSky Transport.


Mikalai, tell me, what exactly is the work of a lead design engineer, what are your areas of responsibility?


To date, the main task of the lead design engineer is to design and develop critically important units, as well as to coordinate work of all departments and designers involved in this area and on this line. This includes the R&D, of course, calculations, as well as interaction with related departments, for example, the rolling stock department or the design department, which is responsible for design of intermediate and anchor supports, etc. In fact, the lead design engineer is a person who combines all the technical areas of responsibility.


Mikalai, what is the difference between the lead design engineer and regular design engineer?


There is no fundamental difference as such, but there is an established gradation when designers are divided into categories starting from the second, then the first, and then the leader. A lead design engineer is a person who can be entrusted with any project, who anchors all the questions and the adoption of certain decisions onto himself. The task of lead designer is to be able to coordinate work of all engineers and be able to work together with them, because dozens of other specialists are working on this transport complex. In fact, this is a technical manager who holds the overall design in his hands and takes an active part in all stages of its manufacture, assembly and installation.


Actually, this is what I do here at uSky Test & Certification Centre. I need to collect all the knowledge and experience about how the constructor worked in order to understand where there were some neglected points or shortcomings, maybe there were small inconsistencies. Based on all the data, it will be necessary to create a common knowledge database and share it with one’s colleagues. The lead design engineer accumulates all the technical experience that he has gone through from the design, communication, manufacturing and assembly stages to the installation and commissioning of the transport complex.


Can you tell us about stages of your work on Test Track 4 from paper drawings to work at the uSky Test & Certification Centre?


Actually, now more and more they are abandoning the paper copy of drawings, almost all modeling is conducted in a wide variety of 3D shells. This is both better visually and more intuitive, e.g., paper carries less information, and it is necessary only in cases of coordination of some designs with contractors or colleagues.


As for the stages, generally, the first thing is an overall task from the general designer about type of transport complex, then it is divided into smaller subtasks by chief designers. Design, development and coordination take place, and after that come production, installation and testing.

uSky Transport - “The main advantage of uSky Transport & Infrastructure Technology is that we gave land to people”
“The main advantage of uSky Transport & Infrastructure Technology is that we gave land to people”

What is the main advantage of uSky Transport & Infrastructure Technology from your point of view?


In my opinion, our main advantage is in the fact we have removed almost all transport from the surface of the earth and raised it to a higher level, we have stopped taking ground from everyone, ranging from agricultural lands to parks. Of course, especially in metropolitan areas, the main and most expensive unit is, of course, land. And, in fact, we are not even talking about advantages, we are here talking about a conceptually new transport system that cannot be compared with roads, railways, or public transport in our ordinary sense. It's a completely different transportation system.


Do you feel the importance of your work? What is your inner drive?


About the significance of work. Here it is especially felt when you start designing any units that no one has ever dealt with, that is, when you start working on any assembly units, make calculations and understand that at the moment there is no methodology, not in any standard book. You are faced with a certain uniqueness that needs not only to be worked out, but to pave the way where was none. And, of course, at this moment you feel not only your importance, but also there is a feeling of incredible pleasure. If you are a designer and you are ambitious, then it will always be interesting.


As for the inner drive, I really don’t like routine, I don’t like to face tasks when you design the same thing day after day in this case, what I said above does not allow you to drown in everyday life, it’s damn nice, strive for it. It's more of an inside feeling than a professional one.


Mikalai, what kind of mistakes can be encountered in design process and what actions help to avoid them?


Due to the fact we are working with designs that have never been explored, this means that you cannot learn from someone else's mistakes. You will make them yourself, of course, not intentionally, because you can always foresee them, but this is probably the very best experience you can get. In my opinion, scrupulousness, mindfulness, and inquisitiveness are the main helpers in avoiding any mistakes. You also need to pay a lot of attention to details, because in the work of a designer, and any engineer in general, all the problems are hidden in the details, and being overly pedantic is not a drawback.

uSky Transport - “You are faced with a certain uniqueness that needs not only to be worked out, but to pave the way where it has never been”
“You are faced with a certain uniqueness that needs not only to be worked out, but to pave the way where it has never been”

How is the communication between design engineers and production lines arranged?


Between the engineering staff, operations support and production, the chain has been debugged for a long time. When designers release a drawing, this is, in fact, a document that will later be a guide to action for both process engineers who develop the technology for manufacturing parts and assemblies, and for workers who will not only manufacture parts it but will also assemble those. In our company, everything is in digital form, so 3D modeling is associated with process engineers and production. If questions come up, you can open this part or assembly as a whole in a 3D model, look at it and disassemble it piece by piece, up to a rebuild. Everything is intuitive and transparent for all employees. Luckily, the days of drawing on paper are gone.


What part of your job do you like the most? What do you think is the most interesting?


Frankly, my favorite design stage is the beginning of a new project, because to date I have been involved in designs of anchor units for several lines. Every time a new transport complex appears, you begin to think like a person with experience, you reason, you begin to see your shortcomings, to implement (in the sense of correcting) these in a new project. This is the stage when imagination and fantasy gush to the maximum. This is the very moment that is called creativity. Further processes are tied to your colleagues, and you cannot step aside, you have to work according to the established order. It always turns you off a little, doesn't give air to your wings, so for me the coolest stage is the birth of the project.


And, as we are finishing our interview, what can you advise those who are just starting their journey in this profession?


If we talk about profession in general, then, probably, everyone has their own nuances, from hydraulics and pneumatics to statics and mechanics. For those designers who want and plan to work in our company as a design engineer, I would like to advise you to prepare and be able to answer questions that no one has ever asked. Very often one has to face the fact that the knowledge gained earlier is insufficient. It is necessary to engage in self-development here and now, to look for new books, new ways and algorithms of calculation, to break a complex task into simpler ones. The transport complex itself is very diverse. It includes hydraulics, pneumatics, vehicle air conditioning, electronics, tracking systems, computer vision, construction, etc. All this covers a huge range of design and engineering knowledge. Most of all, you need to be ready for difficulties.

uSky Transport - “Being overly pedantic is not a flaw”
“Being overly pedantic is not a flaw”

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