ESR Technology bids a fond farewell to its Technical Director, Steve Gill

Steve Gill NCT ESR

19/12/2019 marked Steve Gill’s retirement, after more than 30 years in our organisation.

Steve joined ESR Technology’s ESTL Space business in November 1989 and quickly made his engineering mark, working on some of the most innovative projects. For example, Steve developed the bearing solution for the GERB de-spin mirror assembly – an application on Meteosat Second Generation weather satellite. This was a spin-stabilised spacecraft that required a constant 16g radial acceleration, so Steve designed and built an in-vacuum centrifuge. Steve’s solution of a hybrid bearing cage was shown to work and finally flew successfully on all MSG spacecraft.

Whilst working in the Space Industry, Steve contributed to many technical reports on topics such as harmonic drive and cycloid gear performance, inhibition of PFPE degradation, performance of MAC oils and lubrication of linear screws. These are still relevant to the present generation of space mechanism engineers.

Steve then moved into ESR Technology’s other tribology business, the National Centre of Tribology. As Head of NCT, Steve worked on many diverse and challenging. These included the Network Rail New Measurement Train, the need for which arose after the Hatfield crash in October 2000. Steve was involved with the installation, validation, commissioning and testing of the TrackLab car which measures the distance between adjacent tracks, corrugation monitoring equipment and a video camera to monitor the wheel-rail interface with forward and oblique angle image capture. It also carries real-time software to calculate ride quality.

Another challenging project that Steve worked on in NCT was the Somerleyton Railway Swing Bridge in Norfolk, which was built in the early 1900’s and operated until February 2010, when the pintle bearing supporting the swing mechanism failed. ESR Technology, under Steve’s supervision, provided new design concepts that benefited from a clearer understanding of how the pintle bearing operated. Two sets were manufactured, and one installed in November 2010 under Steve's watchful eye. Since then the bridge has operated without any bearing issues.

We wish Steve the happiest of retirements.


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