Profile of Rob Udale: an engineer at Springboard

What is a typical project like?

During my two years at Springboard there has been no such thing as a typical project – having worked across a range of products from surgical tools and drug delivery devices to innovative consumer care products. The scope of the projects has varied from generating concepts and developing functional prototypes, to working with suppliers to diagnosing and verifying causes of products failure.

At Springboard we are big believers that any theoretical model needs to be validated experimentally so project work is almost always split between the office and the lab. This could desk-based work such as technology scouting, first pass calculations and the design of mathematical models, CAD or spending time in the lab designing and performing rigorous experiments and testing procedures and building prototypes.

A project usually lasts a few months, often because it is useful for both ourselves and the client to quantise the work along the product development life cycle to ensure clear deliverables are met at each stage and that the project remains guided by the client’s needs. The development of a device from start to finish can therefore be many phases rolled together lasting much longer than a few months.

This varied nature of work from project to project, alongside the fast pace in which we take a product from a User Requirements Specification to concept to prototype and finally to a manufacturable, verified, and validated product is extremely satisfying.

All our projects must meet our rigorous ethical policy, so you can always be proud of what you are doing.

Who are your clients?

Our clients are typically large multinational pharmaceutical or device manufacturing companies, although I have also worked with safety critical consumer device companies and smaller medical device companies who specialise in certain treatments.

Almost all our clients have a global presence and so face to face meetings can involve trips to the United States or continental Europe.

What do you think about your role?

It is enormously satisfying to be working in the medical technology space, partly because the developments can be fast-paced, partly because the cooperative environment is highly stimulating and partly because the products we are working on are really helping to transform people’s lives.

The atmosphere at Springboard, the integrity with which the company operates, and the amazing people I get to work with all make my job even more enjoyable and fulfilling.

At Springboard we are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the business including sales, marketing and project leadership, as well as being closely consulted on decisions that affect the company and the working environment. This collaborative and inclusive attitude to company-wide engagement is extremely gratifying.

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