David Boettcher - freelance engineer

Eur Ing D B Boettcher BSc(Hons) CEng MIEE MIET

Providing innovative solutions to engineering and business problems opportunities.

About David Boettcher


I know from experience that most English speakers boggle when they see the name "Boettcher", but it's really quite easy to say - when you know how. My great-grandfather was German and came to England in 1900 in search of work. In Germany he spelt his surname with an o with two dots over it, called an "umlaut", like this: Böttcher. The standard way to render an ö in English is to write the "o with an umlaut" as "oe", but this doesn't actually help much with its pronunciation. In German, the ö is pronounced a bit like "ur", and also the two "t"s are soft, so say "Bur-cher" and you won't be too far off.



Sizewell NPS
One from my scrap book: The Sizewell Nuclear Power Station site

I spent 20 years working in the nuclear power construction industry as a systems analyst and safety case specialist, working on, amongst others, the Hartlepool and Heysham 1 Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGRs), and the Sizwell B Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR), nuclear power station projects. I then became self employed in retail and IT.

During my experience in the nuclear industry I worked on all aspects of nuclear safety: mechanical, electrial, C&I (control and instumentation) and hazards. I am familiar with probabilistic safety assessment (PSA), failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), hazards and operability (HAZOP) assessments, etc. etc. I have particular experience in the safety analysis of reactor safety and protection systems, reactor control systems, station control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and the functional and ergonomic design of control rooms and man-machine interfaces (MMI).

I was a member of the British Standards Institute (BSI), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and I was Chairman of an IEC working group, IEC Technical Committee TC45 Working Group A7.

I have experience of managing large projects, both scheduling (critical path analysis and risk management) and budgeting. It was my experience of budgeting on Sizewell B, and the proposed replica of Sizewell B at Hinkley Point, that made me realise that nuclear power was not cost-competitive with coal, and was much more expensive than gas fired electricity generation, and this is what lead me to leave the industry. I also have experience of presenting to conferences in the UK and internationally, and Public Relations (PR) experience in the form of writing publicity information and making informational videos.

When I left the nuclear industry I worked in retail, running two busy physical shops and also selling over the internet - a "clicks and mortar" business. Traditional town centre retailing is suffering in the UK due to the development of edge-of-town and out-of-town retailing, increasing business rates and falling footfall due to the high cost and limited availability of town centre parking. I worked together with fellow business owners to try to ameliorate these problems - I was elected President of the Chamber of Trade - but the town council were oblivious to the problems and continued to make life difficult for motorists and shoppers, so I closed my physical shops and continued with sales over the internet until 2012.

Information Technology

I first used a computer in 1975, long before the IBM PC was conceived. In those days programming was done by paper tape or punched cards. I have used a computer virtually every working day since then, although they have moved on a bit. I can build a computer from parts, and I can program in ancient languages like FORTRAN and COBOL and BASIC, but nowadays I use HTML, CSS, Java, PHP and SQL.

During my time in retailing I implemented several Inventory Control / Point of Sale systems to provide stock control and point of sale support, giving real time tracking and reporting of stock levels and cash takings, allowing detailed real time reports on e.g. Stock Turn Ratio (STR) and Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) to be used to manage retail operations effectively. If analysed at the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) level, these two key metrics can really show the profit performance of departments and lines of stock.


In 2012 I decided to train as a watchmaker so that I can service and repair my own vintage watches. I have set up a workshop in an outbuilding and I am now building my skills in servicing and repairing watches. I have attended two courses at the British Horological Institute and will attend more as the need arises. I am particularly interested in wrist watches from the early twentieth century and around the period of the First World War (WW1) and I will repair and service my own collection, and offer some of them for sale on my own web site.

The Economics and Safety of Nuclear Power

During my time in the nuclear power industry I worked on many aspects of the construction of Nuclear Power Stations (NPS), their engineering, nuclear safety, and their economics of construction and operation. If you are interested in my thoughts about the economics and safety of nuclear power, please take a look at my page about Nuclear Power.


One of the areas I became particularly interested and involved with was the incorporation of considerations of human performance and human factors (sometime called "ergonomics" or engineering psychology) into the design process, particularly of nuclear reactor control rooms. Too often designers neglect these considerations, which leads to many unneccessary accidents. If you are interested in my thoughts about human factors and safety, please take a look at my page about Ergonomics

Vintage Watches

If, like me, you are interested in vintage watches, especially First World War era officers or trench style wristwatches, you should visit my web site www.VintageWatchStraps.com - I think you'll find it interesting.

Industrial Archaelogy

As an engineer I am not just fascinated by the latest gadgets and gizmos, but also by the industrial archaeology and the development of engineering technology right from the invention of the steam engine by Thomas Newcomen around 1700. If you want to read my take on Newcomen's brilliant breakthrough that started the industrial revolution, go to my page about him, Thomas Newcomen.

Engine Thermostats

Since my degree course I have had an interest in thermodynamics and the physics of heat. One day I was discussing the operation of a thermostatic radiator valve with my late father-in-law, and I likened it to the operation of an engine thermostat. During the course of the conversation I realised that my father-in-law thought that an engine thermostat was always either fully open or fully closed, and I couldn't convince him that it actually modulated, so I wrote this page Engine Thermostats about how an engine thermostat does actually operate. But I never convinced my father-in-law . . . .


I am based in Cheshire, England. I am available for consultation on engineering, business, computing/IT and web issues, and welcome requests to write or proof read technical articles.

Please feel free to contact me via the Contact me page.

Copyright © David Boettcher, 2006 - 2017 all rights reserved. Please feel free to contact me via the Contact me page.

This page updated April 2016. W3CMVS.