David Boettcher - freelance engineer
Eur Ing D B Boettcher BSc(Hons) CEng MIEE MIET
Providing innovative solutions to engineering and business
About David Boettcher
I know from experience that most English speakers boggle when they see the name "Boettcher", but it's really quite easy to say - when you know how. My great-grandfather was German and came to England in 1900 in search of work. In Germany he spelt his surname with an o with two dots over it, called an "umlaut", like this: Böttcher. The standard way to render an ö in English is to write the "o with an umlaut" as "oe", but this doesn't actually help much with its pronunciation. In German, the ö is pronounced a bit like "ur", and also the two "t"s are soft, so say "Bur-cher" and you won't be too far off.
- European Engineer: The Eur Ing title, administered by FEANI (The European Federation of National Engineering Associations), is a guarantee of competence for professional engineers which is recognised throughout Europe. Eur Ings are listed in the FEANI Register, a database maintained by the Secretariat General in Brussels. You can apply for Eur Ing registration once you have achieved Chartered Engineer status.
- CEng: I am registered as a Chartered Engineer by the Engineering Council of the UK (ECUK). Under its Royal Charter, the Engineering Council regulates the engineering profession in the UK. To become a Chartered Engineer, you must satisfy the competence standards set by ECUK, and be a full member of a Licensed Engineering Institution.
- MIEE MIET: I am a Member of The Institution of Engineering and Technology one of the world's leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. The IET was formed in March 2006 by the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE). I was a member of the IEE (MIEE) until this amalgamation and, as a former member of the IEE, I can use the designation MIEE. The IET provides a global knowledge network to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas, and promotes the positive role of Science, Engineering and Technology in the world. To become a member of the IET you must have a degree-level qualification in a relevant subject, have proven post-graduate experience, and achieved a level of responsibility within a relevant industry.
- BSc(Hons): I graduated in 1980 as a "Bachelor of Science with Honours" in Engineering Science from the University of Bath. Bath is located in the south west of England in the county of Somerset. With natural hot thermal springs, Roman Baths, the magnificent Pump Room, the splendid Abbey, sweeping Georgian crescents of houses in honey coloured sandstone, the Royal Theatre and many excellent pubs and restaurants, Bath is a beautiful and unforgettable place, and I totally enjoyed my three years there. If you get the chance to visit, I thoroughly recommend that you take it up.
I spent 20 years working in the nuclear power construction industry as a systems analyst and safety case specialist, working on, amongst others, the Hartlepool and Heysham 1 Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGRs), and the Sizwell B Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR), nuclear power station projects. I then became self employed in retail and IT.
During my experience in the nuclear industry I worked on all aspects of nuclear safety: mechanical, electrial, C&I (control and instumentation) and hazards. I am familiar with probabilistic safety assessment (PSA), failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), hazards and operability (HAZOP) assessments, etc. etc. I have particular experience in the safety analysis of reactor safety and protection systems, reactor control systems, station control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and the functional and ergonomic design of control rooms and man-machine interfaces (MMI).
I was a member of the British Standards Institute (BSI), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and I was Chairman of an IEC working group, IEC Technical Committee TC45 Working Group A7.
I have experience of managing large projects, both scheduling (critical path analysis and risk management) and budgeting. It was my experience of budgeting on Sizewell B, and the proposed replica of Sizewell B at Hinkley Point, that made me realise that nuclear power was not cost-competitive with coal, and was much more expensive than gas fired electricity generation, and this is what lead me to leave the industry. I also have experience of presenting to conferences in the UK and internationally, and Public Relations (PR) experience in the form of writing publicity information and making informational videos.
When I left the nuclear industry I worked in retail, running two busy physical shops and also selling over the internet - a "clicks and mortar" business. Traditional town centre retailing is suffering in the UK due to the development of edge-of-town and out-of-town retailing, increasing business rates and falling footfall due to the high cost and limited availability of town centre parking. I worked together with fellow business owners to try to ameliorate these problems - I was elected President of the Chamber of Trade - but the town council were oblivious to the problems and continued to make life difficult for motorists and shoppers, so I closed my physical shops and continued with sales over the internet until 2012.
I first used a computer in 1975, long before the IBM PC was conceived. In those days programming was done by paper tape or punched cards. I have used a computer virtually every working day since then, although they have moved on a bit. I can build a computer from parts, and I can program in ancient languages like FORTRAN and COBOL and BASIC, but nowadays I use HTML, CSS, Java, PHP and SQL.
During my time in retailing I implemented several Inventory Control / Point of Sale systems to provide stock control and point of sale support, giving real time tracking and reporting of stock levels and cash takings, allowing detailed real time reports on e.g. Stock Turn Ratio (STR) and Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) to be used to manage retail operations effectively. If analysed at the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) level, these two key metrics can really show the profit performance of departments and lines of stock.
In 2012 I decided to train as a watchmaker so that I can service and repair my own vintage watches. I have set up a workshop in an outbuilding and I am now building my skills in servicing and repairing watches. I have attended two courses at the British Horological Institute and will attend more as the need arises. I am particularly interested in wrist watches from the early twentieth century and around the period of the First World War (WW1) and I will repair and service my own collection, and offer some of them for sale on my own web site.
The Economics and Safety of Nuclear Power
During my time in the nuclear power industry I worked on many aspects of the construction of Nuclear Power Stations (NPS), their engineering, nuclear safety, and their economics of construction and operation. If you are interested in my thoughts about the economics and safety of nuclear power, please take a look at my page about Nuclear Power.
One of the areas I became particularly interested and involved with was the incorporation of considerations of human performance and human factors (sometime called "ergonomics" or engineering psychology) into the design process, particularly of nuclear reactor control rooms. Too often designers neglect these considerations, which leads to many unneccessary accidents. If you are interested in my thoughts about human factors and safety, please take a look at my page about Ergonomics
If, like me, you are interested in vintage watches, especially First World War era officers or trench style wristwatches, you should visit my web site www.VintageWatchStraps.com - I think you'll find it interesting.
As an engineer I am not just fascinated by the latest gadgets and gizmos, but also by the industrial archaeology and the development of engineering technology right from the invention of the steam engine by Thomas Newcomen around 1700. If you want to read my take on Newcomen's brilliant breakthrough that started the industrial revolution, go to my page about him, Thomas Newcomen.
Since my degree course I have had an interest in thermodynamics and the physics of heat. One day I was discussing the operation of a thermostatic radiator valve with my late father-in-law, and I likened it to the operation of an engine thermostat. During the course of the conversation I realised that my father-in-law thought that an engine thermostat was always either fully open or fully closed, and I couldn't convince him that it actually modulated, so I wrote this page Engine Thermostats about how an engine thermostat does actually operate. But I never convinced my father-in-law . . . .
I am based in Cheshire, England. I am available for consultation on engineering, business, computing/IT and web issues, and welcome requests to write or proof read technical articles.
Please feel free to contact me via the Contact me page.