• People

    • Tom Mackay
      CEng MEng MIMechE

      email: mackay@tensiontech.com


      • Director/owner of Varrich Engineering Design Ltd
      • Mechanical Engineer with 12 years professional experience in product design and research and development roles.
      • Significant marine renewables product development experience, from FEED to large scale test.
      • Specialising in verification and validation activities and design of bespoke tests and test rigs.
      • Academic and industrial experience focussed on thermodynamics, air systems, structures, rotating equipment (IC engines), renewables, mechanical integrity and durability.
      • Recognised as a key team player who leads and participates in effective project teams.


      Tension Technology International - January 2014 – Present

      Associate Consultant (Mechanical Engineering):

      • Responsible for carrying out detailed engineering design and analysis of hardware systems for TTI projects. Delivery of design analysis reports and detail manufacturing drawing packages

      • Design of all TTI Testing test rig equipment (up to 600kN load structural design, fatigue)

      • Supporting external clients’ projects specialising in:

        • Systems engineering, requirements analysis, FMEA and qualification planning and execution

        • ‘First-principles engineering’, detailed design analysis and FEA, drawing packages and full design reporting

        • Marine engineering including hydrodynamic load determination and wave tank testing

        • Validation test data interpretation, analysis and reporting

        • Marine renewable systems design from concept to manufacturing

      • Key Projects:

        • Design and delivery of Riser Protection Net for TLP

        • Ice protection net design for Semi-sub rig

        • Lead mechanical engineer for TTI testing – bespoke test rig design

        • MRCF novel anchoring – work package lead engineer

        • Wave energy mooring systems technology overview and cost modelling for WEC developer

        • Simulation of mooring line failure behaviour

        • Scottish Government novel tidal array cabling project – novel moorings


      VARRICH Engineering Design, Inverness- January 2014 – Present

      Director-owner / Principle Engineer

      • Technical Assessor for WES Novel PTO call


      AWS Ocean Energy, Inverness - September 2008 – December 2013 Project Lead Engineer, February 13 to December 2013:

      • Technical leadership, programme management and project delivery of large scale, high-value, wave energy convertor test rig.

      • From concept stage engineering, detail design, Balance of Plant/sub-system specification, through to procurement and hands on site assembly, commissioning and project delivery.

      • Responsible for leading the engineering team and actively contributing to the engineering.

      • Producing budgets and schedules and adhering to them under significant pressure.

      • Engaging and leading all external suppliers and contract management for this.

      • Close collaboration with numerous steel fabricators and acting as company rep for quality acceptance of large fabricated structures.


      Senior Mechanical Engineer/Team Leader, September 09 to February 13:

      • Responsibility for entire performance verification work packages including demonstrating performance through large scale tank testing, field testing and delivery of advanced analysis routines. Delivery of formal reports and recommending and planning next steps.

      • Line management of up to 5 persons and coaching of new hires and graduates.

      • Carrying out all design, specification and procurement of equipment and test rigs for the verification activities such as steel frame structures, GRP hull, instrumentation and air system.

      • Provided  technical  input  to  business  development  functions  and  presented  to  potential customers, suppliers and investors on a frequent basis.

      Mechanical engineer, September 08 to September 09:

      • Responsible for turbo-generator outline design, specification and supplier engagement.

      • Worked on wide variety of project aspects including performance, design, testing and other sub- systems projects involving studies into geotechnics for anchoring and novel anchoring solutions for marine renewable devices.


      CATERPILLAR (Perkins Engines), Peterborough - September 2003 – August 2008

      Mechanical Engineering Team Leader: In-cylinder team, September 06 to August 08:

      • Team leader with responsibility for delivery of the piston assembly and other key components.

      • Responsible for achievement of key engine technical objectives and customer requirements.

      • Leadership of two technical specialists and coaching of graduates.

      • Design, development and delivery of validated production components to quality, cost and time targets comprising ownership of project planning, FMEA, APQP and PPAP processes.

      • Utilising 6Sigma methodologies to conduct and lead product and process improvement and investigation activities to solve complex technical problems/failures or improve current systems.

      Mechanical development engineer: In-cylinder team, June 05 to August 06:

      • Responsible for the design and development of the piston assembly.

      • Delivery of innovative test programmes to validate production parts for new engine families.

      • High degree of technical specialism and very close collaboration with the supplier.

      • Teamwork with other design, CAE, engine test, and product management departments.

      • Specialist support to manufacturing department to diagnose production and field test failures.

      Mechanical Engineering Graduate Trainee, September 03 to May 05:

      Mechanical design/development, Performance development, Whole Engine Validation:

      Responsible  for  the  validation  and  development  of  new  components,  development  of  new performance curves for key customer and whole engine validation testing.


      WAVEGEN, inverness - Summers 1998 – 2002

      Undergraduate summer job for five summers (c.15 months total duration): Job responsibilities/tasks included wave test tank running and data capture, data analysis, numerical modelling (Excel VB & MathCAD), model fabrication, machine installation/commissioning, design and part procurement.



      1998 – 2003                  University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

      Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering with Aeronautics (First)

      Bachelors Project: Integrity of wind turbine blade root bolted joint by experimentation and finite element analysis. Investigating wind turbine failure root cause.

      Masters Project: Design and construction of small scale wind tunnel to demonstrate generation of lift to secondary school students (group project).

      ERASMUS exchange:  3rd year at Luleå Tekniska Universitet, Sweden.



      • Engineering tools:  Orcaflex,  Optimoor,  AutoCAD,  Inventor  Pro,  Matlab/Simulink,  various bespoke data acquisition and analysis systems, MathCAD, ANSYS, Visual Basic
      • 6Sigma greenbelt
      • Microsoft Windows, Office and Project






      Work Package Team Leader. Detail design and specification of a novel gravity anchoring system for WECs and TECs. Anchor deployment operations analysis. System qualification and FMEA. Cost‐benefit studies.

      Wave Energy Scotland

      Provision of Technical Assessor services for PTO call


      Project lead on innovative simulation methods relating to fibre‐rope life and failure mechanisms

      Expert witness

      Consulted to perform expert witness design review (environment, metocean, hydrodynamic loading, structure and geotechnical design) following large insurance claim at a pleasure marina

      Scottish Enterprise Tidal array cabling

      Mooring system design for tidal array cabling project and operational environment assessment. Mechanical engineering and project management support to project. Design of novel fairleads to optimise fibre rope life.

      Ice Protection Nets

      Detail design and analysis of retro‐fit hardware for semi‐sub ice protection nets.

      Riser Protection Nets

      Lead engineer on design of all hardware for TLP Riser Protection Net. Structural design and analysis, including wave loading and fatigue analysis especially of welded interfaces.

      Delivery of all detail manufacturing drawings and specifications. Development of installation manual including consideration of entire installation process, development of site works story boards, design of temporary equipment and ensuring the installation process can be carried out safely. Working in collaboration with hardware vendors to ensure quality product is delivered on time.

      Performance Review of Maritime Support Services for Orkney

      Provided data analysis and interpretation support for large marine renewables infrastructure project on the Orkney isles.

      Full‐scale demonstration of WEC absorber sub‐ system

      Lead engineer and project manager on high‐value, full‐scale, real environment, development test of the main energy absorption system of WEC. Objective to progress the qualification of the technology and bring the absorber technology up to TRL 5.

      WEC Performance Qualification

      Project Lead Engineer, Performance Specialist.

      ·Two full‐machine 15th scale tests at MARIN facility in the Netherlands.

      • 30th scale full‐machine tests at Heriot Watt University

      • Numerous 10th and 15th scale sub‐system tests at University of Strathclyde.

      • Open water testing on Loch Ness at 10th and 15th scales.