Design + Gateway: Scale modelling of Erosion Control Armoured Block
Erosion Control Protection Solutions Ltd (ECPS) are coastal erosion specialists. Their Erosion Control Armoured Block (ECAB) system uses a series of interlocking blocks to provide solutions for erosion to coastlines and riverbanks. ECPS approached Design + for assistance in the production of a large number (approximately 600 plus) of scale models in the required material for testing.
The Design+ Gateway, based in Institute of Technology Carlow, applies industrial design capabilities for companies from the engineering, ICT & software and bio lifescience sectors nationally. A meeting took place with ECPS to understand what they were trying to achieve and what Design+ could do to help them with essential product testing.
With the year round concern of storms affecting Ireland’s coastline such as Hurricane Ophelia in 2017, ECPS are focused on a long term solution to combat this increasing problem. Manufacturing a scale model of their concept had proven to be very difficult for ECPS. Reaching out to Design plus gave them a real world solution to this issue and allowed them to validate their design and bring it forward for production.
Having evaluated the objective of ECPS, Design+ were able to 3D print a series of scale models to the client’s specification. These models were used to create a reusable silicone mould with a vacuum casting machine. This reusable mould was then used with a concrete mix to recreate a number of scaled models that were an exact scaled replicate of their product for use in a wave tank. The client was able to take the reusable mould away and reproduce as many of these models as needed to conduct essential testing of their product at Marine and Renewable Energy Institute in University Cork. (MAREI).
ECPS was able to conduct extensive testing of their product and this allowed them to prove their design and help them to move forward to full size production and testing.
Installing the full size product at a number of locations around the coast of Ireland with the knowledge gained from the scale testing has proved vital to the company. Featuring on RTE program presented by John Creedon’s which focused on coastal erosion in Ireland ECPS could show their solution to this problem through scale testing. Kevin Lynch, Co-Director EPS spoke about the engagement with Design +
“In conjunction with the MaRei institute attached to UCC under the guidance of Dr Jimmy Murphy we conducted tests on miniature blocks 1/30th the size of the actual armoured block. To make the miniature blocks Design+ facilitated us by making silicone moulds to precisely the correct dimensions we required from these moulds we were able to make several hundred blocks which were then tested in the wave tanks and a level of data was built up which proved the efficacy of our system and allows Consulting Engineers design coastal revetments using our ECABs. I am very happy with the attention to detail and service we got from all the team at Design+.”