Case studies

Where music and engineering meet

Lucy Richardson

Lucy Richardson

Senior Noise and Vibration Engineer, Malmesbury

Noise, vibration, career progression and the Dyson Symphony project.

The crossover between music and engineering is massive. As a musician, as well as an engineer, I just had to take part in the Dyson Symphony project when it came about. Most of the acoustics team at Dyson have a strong connection with music and play instruments. So we were keen to get involved and compete, and came up with a violin made from a Dyson Airblade V hand dryer as the body. It was a great experience and helped bring our team closer together.

Violin made from Dyson Airblade

After graduating from Southampton University with a first in Acoustical Engineering, I always knew that I could use my degree later down the line. So, I took the rare opportunity following graduation to study a postgraduate diploma in violin at music college. Then in 2013 I was successful in getting a graduate position within Research, Design and Development (RDD) at Dyson. Two of my fellow university students had joined Dyson from graduation, so I had the added advantage of sharing in their knowledge.

My team and the colleagues around me were so welcoming. Having this support was invaluable, as you’re definitely ‘in at the deep end’ very quickly. Within a few weeks I was the acoustician on a particular project, liaising with product teams and holding the responsibility that comes with this.

I’m now a Senior Noise and Vibration Engineer, and head up the Environmental Control (EC) acoustics team in the UK, working on New Product Development (NPD). It’s been an exciting journey. Next, I’ll be living in Singapore for three months, where I’ll be working with the Malaysia EC team.

One of the defining moments in my career so far has been successfully gaining a place on the Dyson Global Pioneers programme. It was amazing recognition, and stretched and challenged me. It offered me the opportunity to accelerate my career, allowing me to build strong international networks and gain insight into the future of Dyson and how we contribute. More recently, having line reports and more responsibility has been a big shift. I had to grow a small team from scratch, consisting of three permanent staff and two Dyson Institute undergraduates on rotation. It can be challenging to bring them onboard and give them support, but it’s rewarding as they bring a lot of enthusiasm and new ideas.

As a Dyson engineer, I fix problems every day. I was challenged to bring the noise levels of a new product to under 80 decibels, in line with new regulations. I ran continual testing of the machine in sound chambers on site and talked through possible solutions with engineers within Design and Technical Development to achieve it. The machine was successfully launched.

For us it’s about working smarter and quicker. It’s about creating a better solution by understanding the noise rather than just haphazardly trying things.