Kettering man is design engineer of the year

Design enginee Mike Franklin of Crawley Creatures
Design enginee Mike Franklin of Crawley Creatures

A Kettering man has been named Design Engineer of the Year.

Mike Franklin, who works for Crawley Creatures, won the accolade at the British Engineering Excellence Awards for his “deep innovation”.

Mr Franklin started as an apprentice toolmaker at Alumasc before moving to R Griggs as an engineering manager. He was made redundant when they moved production to China and went on to spend two years with the BBC, working on special effects projects.

In 2005 Mike got a world record for the fastest running legged robot, Scuttle.

He started work as chief design engineer at Crawley Creatures in 2006 and helps the company design and build state-of-the-art test platforms for military equipment and first responders.

The most recent example of Mike’s design work is New Porton Man. This animatronic mannequin tests chemical and biological suits and equipment for the UK’s Armed Forces. Mike designed the mannequin to walk, march, run, sit, kneel, move its head and even lift its arms as if to sight a weapon.

More than 280 passive sensors and six real-time sensors cover the body to provide data during tests, enabling scientists to carry out analysis on equipment such as chemical and biological suits in a realistic but secure environment.

The British Engineering Excellence Award judges said: “Mike achieves deep innovation using creativity, originality and ingenuity – all while working with limited resources and to extremely tight deadlines.”