Skip to main content


The Differences Between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

By News No Comments

Manufacturers and engineers often have to decide between the use of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous materials when beginning a job. Certain CNC routers need to be made of certain materials when handling these different types. But what is the difference between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous? And while it may seem cheaper to use one material, should you be using the other?

This quick guide helps go through some of the benefits and applications of each of these types.

Ferrous Metals

The word ‘ferrous’ comes from the Latin word ‘ferrum’ meaning ‘iron’. In chemistry the symbol for iron is Fe and on a chemical level, all ferrous metals contain levels of iron.

Some examples of ferrous metals are:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Wrought Iron
  • Cast Iron
  • Carbon Steel
  • Alloy Steel

These metals tend to have more strength and durability and are used primarily in structure fabrication. For example, ferrous metals are used in construction, shipping containers, industrial piping and commercial tools.

Ferrous metals are also generally rust resistant due to their high carbon content, making them useful for marine and weather exposed projects.

They are also magnetic which is useful for motors and electrical appliances.

Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron.

Some examples of non-ferrous metals are:

  • Aluminium
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Tin

These metals tend to be more malleable and flexible. This makes them ideal for lightweight constructions such as aircrafts.

Although they do not have a high carbon content, non-ferrous metals have a higher rust and corrosion resistance than ferrous metals.

Their lack of magnetism makes them useful for electrical cables, electrical equipment and appliances.

Which Should I Choose?

Aside from the points above there may be different applications you may need Ferrous and Non-Ferrous metals for when starting your fabrication or project.

Ferrous metals are perfect for physically demanding jobs. Most engineering applications rely heavily on these metals. Their durability and damage resistance makes them ideal for most situations. Finally ferrous metals are very versatile. Ferrous metals are used for both simple and sophisticated applications.

Non-ferrous metals are much easier to process. These are used for a wide variety of applications due to the numerous processing methods you can easily perform on these materials. Visually, the non-ferrous metals have more colour and vibrance to them. Some projects may use copper just for the aesthetic appeal.

What Next?

While each ferrous and non-ferrous has their own unique features and benefits, most projects will see a combination of both. Once the metal has been decided, having these manufactured or engineered is an important next step.

Galvin Engineering is a precision manufacturer able to provide quality product solutions for your projects. Whether it’s through general machining or fabrication or even equipment modification or repairs, Brisbane based Galvin Engineering is there to help. Galvin Engineering specialises in CNC machining services and also offers steel processing, welding, CNC metal folding, laser cutting, CNC milling, CNC turing, powder coating, zinc plating, sand blasting and product coatings. Galvin Engineering has a quality product design and development team. Check with them about your next project and their experienced design team will help find a solution for your needs.


Shared Parking in Castro Valley Breaks Ground!

By News No Comments

The Castro Valley community gathered Monday afternoon to break ground on the long awaited shared parking lot.  More than, “just a parking lot” County planners conceived the facility in the mid 2000’s with the goal of aggregating parking within the community’s retail core allowing patrons to park once to visit multiple destinations.  In addition to parking, the project converts underutilized spaces into pedestrian paseos promoting seating areas and outdoor dining further enhancing the placemaking within the community.

The shared parking lot resulted from the collaboration of five property owners who participated not only for their benefit, but to embrace the goals of the Castro Valley Streetscape completed in 2012.  The streetscape converted Castro Valley Boulevard into both a complete and green street, which achieved the goal of stimulating economic activity along the corridor.  The shared parking project extends the environmental stewardship led by the streetscape by incorporating pervious pavers and rain gardens, improving water quality within the San Lorenzo Creek watershed.

Since 2007, BKF Engineers has provided planning and design services to Alameda County including both the shared parking lot and Castro Valley Boulevard Streetscape.  Redgwick Construction Company will commence construction of the $4.8 million shared parking project in early April.  We invite you to support the retailers along Castro Valley Boulevard including those within the shared parking lot including Knudsen’s Restaurant-Ice Creamery, Joyful House, and Wend’s Café.

Review: “BKF Named Design Firm of the Year, ENR California”

By News No Comments

A success article from early 2017:

Redwood City, Calif., May 23, 2017 – BKF Engineers, with a 100+ year legacy, has been selected by Engineering News Record California as the Design Firm of the Year.  Using a strict criteria of innovation, community service, sustainability and growth, BKF was chosen from 98 participating firms.  BKF is featured in ENR California’s annual Top Design Firms.

The award highlights BKF’s experience working with both private sector and public clients within an array of project types.  “Private clients demand speed, value, and a clear understanding of their business“ explains David LaVelle, BKF’s President and CEO; “for public providers that generally own and operate their facilities, they care as much about the initial cost as the long term operations and maintenance costs.” BKF blends the value and urgency attributed to private ventures together with the technical expertise and customer perspective critical to public ones.

Through Delivering Inspired Infrastructure, BKF continues to broaden its 100+ year legacy.  “We have a proven track record of innovating together with our technology clientele. They want to go beyond the basics [and] push the boundaries of architecture and engineering” (LaVelle). Many of these projects incorporate the latest sustainable practices in stormwater reuse and green design.

BKF’s growth in California now extends to 12 offices employing over 400 professionals, with revenue growth of nearly 60% (compared to 33% market rate over the past 3 years). Its portfolio spans many markets from specializing in transportation, healthcare, education, public improvements, as well as large developments including the new Warrior’s Stadium, Pier 70 and the Treasure Island Redevelopment.

“The longevity of our employees…” remarks Dave Richwood, Principal and Vice President, “sets BKF apart from the competition.” Employee retention, be it interns returning for full-time employment or project managers celebrating twenty plus years, expresses the company culture of collaboration and innovation which perpetuates project success.

Our New Monitoring and Characterisation System

By News No Comments

We have designed an in-situ optical emission spectrometer with an optical fibre probe. This system consists of four optical fiber connected spectrometers for convenient and flexible on-line monitoring. The spectrometers cover a wavelength range 200 to 1100 nm, with resolution of 0.45 to 0.55 nm. It contains wavelength and intensity calibration kits, data acquisition and control software, as well as an interface with our expert software systems. The monitoring system is interfaced with our software systems, allowing users to detect, analyze and identify the results for real-time decision making.

The system is capable of:

  • Calibration based on extensive database
  • Detection of processes degradation to comprehend the drift in the processes due to time dependent environmental effects
  • Fault and impurity trace identification
  • Quantitative multi-element identification and
  • Real-time decision making

This system has been demonstrated in analysis of semiconductor etching process in a reactor measured by optical emission spectrometer. The system is capable of quantitative determination of the spectral degradation due to the time dependent drift in the reactor. The whole process, including calibration, analysis and identification, takes less than two minutes. Therefore, the software system can be used for real-time application.

This system has wide range of applications including nanomaterial processing, environmental characterisation, laser technology, astrophysics, plasma diagnostics, laboratory analytic chemistry, energy research, IC, and polymer material processing.

Our products and services have been demonstrated successfully in the following areas of application: publication and demonstration and material processing.

Our Track Record – Past Customers and Accomplishments

We are active in the scientific community, aiding major laboratories in the analysis of their own spectroscopic data-drawing on both our software products and our scientists in the area of spectroscopy. We are also published extensively on the scientific results obtained using our software tools in interaction with major laboratories across the country. The ability of our software product lines to provide real-time spectroscopic analysis has proved itself to be of particular importance in working with customers. In this vein, we have been working aggressively to construct all the necessary tools that will allow users instant and flawless interaction with spectrometers and sensors on a real time basis, allowing for both the calibration of sensors and/or real-time analysis of spectroscopic data.

Why The Electrical Lockout Procedures Must Follow The Safety Standards Of OSHA

By News No Comments

The OSHA has fixed up certain standard safety regulations which need to be sincerely abided at the time of tagging and lockout activities within the industrial or manufacturing concerns for maintaining overall safety and security. The electrical circuits due to mishandling or negligence might create serious problems which might even take larger forms like fire accidents. These particular standard regulations are being exercised for controlling the activities of the electrical logout procedures.

A proper checklist is to be provided by OSHA which needs to be sincerely followed by those employees that deal with the most hazardous segments of the electrical circuits. For gaining safe and secured workplace environments, you must thoroughly follow the established protocols. These regulatory measures help a lot in controlling or regulating the hazardous energy releases which might cause severe consequences to the company employees. First of all, you need to have a clear and transparent conception about industrial electrical lock outs which normally leads to the safe locking of any energy-isolating device in a proper way. You can also use the lock out tang out kits procedures where all the necessary devices or equipment for repairing the damaged lockouts are kept. These kits are highly portable and thus can be easily carried along by the specialised electrical lockout contractors for catering to different emergency or hazardous situations.

Some of the probable problems that might occur to the industrial electrical lockouts include wearing of line valves, disconnected switch, tampered or blocked electrical circuit, or any other hindrances which prevent the free energy flow or release within the electrical system.  The procedures of electrical lockouts normally follow different useful requirements which are of utmost importance especially at the time of operation. The circuit breaker lockout device is considered as one of the primary requirements that are highly used for catering any sort of critical issues relating to the electrical circuit breakers. The circuit breakers are considered as the main electrical components of the entire electrical system and thus you must be very careful regarding the maintenance of the operational activities of concerned procedure. Nowadays, OSHA has arranged for different beneficial online programs for the benefits of the company employees. These programs have highlighted certain highly essential safety measures covering hydraulic, mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, thermal, chemical, and related energy resources.

These energy-control programs are highly improved in providing the best possible means of preserving the energy in a better manner. These programs are now getting followed by almost all the business concerns for providing proper training to the company employees. The valve lockout devices are quite limited in number these days and so you must look for the best one for getting the most high quality products from them. You are suggested to rely on the online suppliers as they are quite reliable and are into quick delivery of the products at the clients’ doorsteps. Verify that whether the suppliers’ rate are affordable or not otherwise you have to make proper rate comparison for finding out the best reasonable rate that suits the company’s limitations and requirements. You must check put your prepared checklist and must order the necessary supplies accordingly and if you are fussy with brand collections then you must look for your favorite brand regarding the same. Yu can easily access these online supply stores by means of flexible internet connection.

How To Be A Great Engineer

By News No Comments

Ok, so you think you have the knowledge and the experience. But have you got what it takes to be a great engineer? What makes a great engineer you ask?

Well, if you look at the greatest engineers of all time, you will notice that they all shared common similarities. Apart from the obvious drive ambition, these remarkable engineers possessed a solid passion and an untiring desire for engineering. This is why Edison continued to go on after 1000 failures, why Ford pursued his idea while everybody else was satisfied with horse-drawn carriages and what led Leonardo Di Vinci being the biggest visionary of all time.

What makes a great engineer is not just having specialist knowledge of a certain subject matter but also having the passion, drive and a “create the best the world has ever seen” type of attitude. By applying these qualities along with possessing the following attributes below you are on your way to becoming a great engineer.

Strong analytical aptitude: Great engineers show excellent analytical skills, are naturally inquisitive and are always thinking of ways to get things to work better.

Strong attention to detail: The slightest error can cause an entire project to fail. A great engineer will pay excellent attention to detail and will ensure that all details are reviewed thoroughly during the duration of a project.

Creative: A great engineer is creative and has to ability to think “outside the box” to come up with new and innovative ideas.

Excellent communication skills: A great engineer has excellent communication skills. They have to ability to explain complex technical terms and communicate effectively to clients and colleagues.

Team player: Great engineers know that they are working as part of a team to make one project come together successfully and, therefore, must work well as part of that team.

Continuously furthering their educating: Changes in industry happen rapidly. A great engineer keeps themselves up to date with these developments.

Logical thinker: The greatest engineers have superior logical skills. They have the ability to make sense of complicated systems and have a good understanding how things work and how problems arise.

Mathematically inclined: Engineering is a complex science that involves intricate calculations of varying difficulty. A great engineer has excellent math skills.

Problem solving skills: A great engineer has top notch problem solving skills. An engineer is called upon everyday to address problems. They must be able to figure out where the problem comes from and quickly arise to a solution.

Excellent technical knowledge: A great engineer ensures that they have a strong understanding of a wide range of computer systems and other systems that are frequently used during an engineering project.

This may sound obtuse, but a great engineer is the kind of person who would buy a pre-owned vehicle and tune it up so it was better than new.

The need for man to invent new technologies is as old as humanity itself. The labors and achievements of the following engineers have made enormous impacts on society and the world we live in today. We thank you.

Call For Innovative Engineering – The Remote Control needs To Go

By News No Comments

The remote control, back when we only had four channels to choose from, was the perfect way to interact with television. We had a power on/off switch, channel and volume buttons and—if you were really tech-savvy—a numeric keypad. No directional pad, settings buttons, RGBY buttons, or guide controls. They weren’t needed. Television sets were used to watch television programs, and the remote control was used to change from channel to channel. Easy.

Of course, that time of innocence for the television was over 30 years ago and things have moved on since then. The TV has evolved from a just a single screen into part of the home entertainment center, and again recently into a hub for the Internet. The number of channels has exploded from the initial half dozen to thousands of different options. You don’t even need to own a television to get your favourite TV shows anymore, thanks to options like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu.

The evolution of the TV space has been rapid and extreme. And yet, like the humble tortoise, the remote control has grown bigger and bulkier but hasn’t actually evolved much at all.

By the television remote not evolving along with the screen, users the world over are forced to navigate alphanumeric keyboards or endless channel lists with single directional button presses, occasionally using the RGBY buttons to speed (and I use the term loosely) past that odd point of inconvenience, only to run into another brick wall. Add to this the sheer number of different remotes that users now have to get used to with every new set top box, TV or even Blu-ray player, and you can see there’s a problem.

Televisions remain generally underpowered screens, and the sole point of interaction we have for them is woefully out of date and completely unstandardized.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Media streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast—even the Xbox One—have effectively supercharged the television set, allowing for swift navigation through complex menus and quick access to content. They have also effectively begun redesigning the remote control, jettisoning the legion of buttons in favour of simple, slimmed-down schemas of interaction that actually adhere to a general standard of form and function. It’s a good start, but it can be taken much further.

Several companies are experimenting with a number of touchscreen alternatives to the remote by embedding controls for the television (or set-top box) into touchscreen devices like iPhones, iPads and Android devices, which are designed to display different sets of buttons depending on the situation and the user’s needs.

These remote control alternatives can be optimized for range of gestures and even voice commands from connected mobile devices, which allow users to effectively navigate menus, program guides and playback controls on dedicated devices quickly and efficiently, freeing them of the grind of the hundreds of individual button presses needed to enter an email address just to get to channel 800 in the EPG.

The remote control is not dead yet—although I wish it were so—but the remote has survived because people are simply used to using it. It’s become part of one’s natural behavior when interacting with a television.

For users that grew up with TV being a new form of entertainment, the remote control was always a way of controlling the TV without having to get off the couch to change that channel on the set. Ask them if they would prefer to do that on a smartphone or tablet, and most of them will say no. They’re used to their remote control, they (mostly) understand it, and they have no interest in learning a new behaviour—especially when it involves having their mobile or tablet on them at all times in order to use their TV. Millennials may have no problem having their iPhone welded to their hand as they menu surf through their Apple TV, but their parents (mostly) do.

So what do we do? Do we just wait for this older generation of remote control-philes to die off? While the reality of the situation isn’t quite so dramatic, we really should consider the question of how to move forward past this particular point of inefficiency. The remote control has survived for a reason, and to replace it we need to understand how to make it better, not just newer.

I do not claim to have a perfect solution to the problem (I wouldn’t be sharing it publicly if I did), but there are some questions we need to work on answering:

What Are We Interacting With?

If it’s just a TV we’re talking about, devices used to supplement the experience are not yet powerful enough to handle linking to a second screen and performing the actions required in real-time. There are pauses, load times and limitations. Also, if the user only has a TV, it is unlikely they will be bothered enough to actually replace their remote control.

If it’s a set top box or something similar (like a tablet or smartphone), the media player can be tethered to the screen and controlled from anywhere in the room, saving the annoying need to always have an unobstructed line of sight between the user and the TV. Making things easier makes people more likely to use them.

Who Is Using The Device?

Is it a mother or father? A grandparent? A child? These users have distinct modes of using a remote control but all have similar needs: Controls need to be intuitive.

Gestures are great when you know what they are and how to use them, but it’s unlikely every end user will immediately know all of the bells and whistles right away. To this end, gesture-based controls need to be memorable, easy and—most importantly—enjoyable to use.

Give the user positive feedback when they perform an action, and they will want to perform it again. Do it enough times and they will remember the action for good. Using the technological flourishes afforded by touchscreen technology can create pleasingly intuitive experiences that everyone can enjoy. Ask a psychologist: Positive feedback works.

When Is The Device Going To Be Used?

The primary reason the remote control has lasted so long is because you can just pick it up and use it; tablets and smartphones need to be unlocked and apps need time to launch. This is a huge barrier, since it’s still easier to simply pick up the remote control and point it at the television.

To me, this obstacle lies at the core of why we’re not using our connected devices as our main remote controls just yet, even though they make interacting with what’s on screen much easier; they still require too many actions.

Ideally, one would be allowed to work the “remote” functionality on one’s mobile device even when it’s locked, so picking up the device and using it as a remote could be available at any time to any user. This, however, would require the changing of existing conventions and the bending of current rules—something device manufacturers and OS owners may initially be cold to. But just as playback controls for music can be surfaced on one’s phone or tablet lock screen, television controls could easily appear there, too.

These will not be easy roads to navigate—changing behaviour and establishing paradigms is a long, hard process that requires patience, investment, and finesse—but I firmly believe that if we remain committed and focused on the goal at hand, we can slay the ancient beast known as the remote control and welcome our old, much loved friend—the television—into the world of true interactivity

Top 10 Facts About Manufacturing in Australia

Top 10 Facts About Manufacturing in Australia

By News No Comments

Australia is one of the leading countries in the world, and there’s no stopping its booming domestic growth. While there are issues here and there when it comes to the economy, there’s no denying that manufacturing in Australia is as strong as ever:

1. Multiple Manufacturing Industries Received A Big Boost in the Early 2000’s

The textile, clothing and footwear industries, and the passenger motor vehicle industry received major funding from the government. The boost came at more than $1.1 Billion, which were intended to boost the manufacturing industry of Australia. Back then, manufacturing played as big as 48% of exports and 45% for Australian research and development in Australia’s economy.

2. Manufacturing Produces Jobs

Manufacturing in Australia is the sixth largest employer by industry in the country. It has a workforce of over 900,000, providing 8% of employment in the country. It also contributes with 6% to the GDP of Australia in 2015 – 2016.

3. Small Manufacturers Hire the Most

Small business jobs equate to more than medium and large businesses combined, and were the type of business that was employing the most. In fact, almost 90% of employment was done by small businesses even if 43% of active manufacturing businesses were non-employing in the middle of 2016.

4. Manufacturing Exports are Massive

While there has been a slow down in many industries over the years, manufacturing included, its share of exports has been going up since the start of 2014. Currently, mining is the only industry that has more exports than manufacturing does. Manufacturing represented 32.2% of the value of Australia’s exports in 2015.

5. Australia is Pushing for Advancements

Around $440 million of the $2.65 billion supporting national priorities are put into “Advanced Manufacturing Priority” area. Australia is making this huge investments with the goal of conducting high quality research into robotics automation and simulation capabilities, big data and data mining, additive manufacturing, advanced materials and more.

6. Australia Needs to Push for More Manufacturing Research Regardless

In 2011, Australia only spent 0.227% of its GDP for research in the manufacturing industry – less than a quarter of a percent. By comparison, the United States spends 1.29% while Germany is at 1.33% – between 5 to 6 times more than the land down under.

7. Aussies Just Lost the Top 3 Car Producers in the Country

In less than two years, between 2016 until 2017, three mass production automobile companies have pulled from Australia. First, Ford stopped production in 2016, followed by Holden and Toyota in 2017.

8. Australia Ranks 2nd as Problem Solvers in the World

Despite its issues, the OECD Skills Outlook report in 2013 rated Australia as second only to Norway on complex problem solving methods. This is ranked higher than many vanguards in the manufacturing industry like US, UK, India, China and Japan.

9. Investments in the Industry Peaked More Than a Decade Ago

Real investment in manufacturing in Australia was at its peak with $14.4 billion in 2005 – 2006 and in the following years it was around the same numbers. The first big drop in investments occurred between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

In that period, investments reached barely $9.5 billion. This was also the biggest annual drop ever recorded – a $3.7 billion difference. And one year later, the investments in manufacturing dropped as low as $8.8 billion – the lowest in 12 years.

10. Food is Australia’s Largest Manufactured Product

The largest manufacturers in Australia is the food and beverage industry. Some of the sectors with the largest output are meat and meat products, beverage and malt manufacturing, dairy products and sugar and confectionery manufacturing.

Why Companies Are Going Green

By News No Comments

Why Companies Are Going GreenWith the matter of environmental pollution is more and more becoming a critical issue in today’s society, it’s easy to see why companies are going green. Most companies around the world are gearing up to implement the innovative greener technologies to help in reducing pollution. With the increasingly high awareness among people and companies, there is a huge change in strategies and tools to bring new and green methodologies forward. And pollution being the major environmental issue should be avoided at all the costs. Hence, a number of companies are taking up new measures to go green and try contributing to build a greener earth with minimal environmental pollution.

The first ever industries who implemented green technologies and strategies are the insurance and the automobile companies. With the newest variety of hybrid and electric vehicles, the auto industries have brought a revolutionary change for the conventional motor vehicles. These vehicles not only emit less carbon compounds, but also address the major environmental issue of air pollution. Additionally, the insurance companies offer better schemes with good premiums so that the consumers will opt for these eco-friendly cars and vehicles.

The major reason behind these changes of strategies and technologies is to reduce the environment pollution and degradation. As per the surveys, a major part of air pollution comes from the automobile and vehicular pollution. Hence, by choosing a vehicle with greener technology, the possibility of air pollution can be avoided. In addition, the usage of non-renewable energy source is reduced when the consumers prefer for electric vehicles and eco-friendly cars. All in all, it will result in reduction of pollution and saving of energy.

Corporate are also seen bringing some changes in their strategies and technology in order to go green. They are implementing energy saving options by choosing low-watt fluorescent lighting in their companies. Also these companies promote no-paper usage on floor and near the hand-wash area. The hospitality industry is also not far behind; with several new methods to go green, these industries promote recycling, energy saving and water saving. A number of top hotels and resort groups have already implemented green technologies in order to save earth and promote environment safety measures.