Wednesday 25th November 2009 by C. Freeman
A group of Sixth-Formers have been given an engineering project by local firm Corus Tubes as part of the Engineering Education Scheme. It encourages young engineers, mathematicians and designers to overcome a real-life industry problem, and this is the eighth year that Brooke Weston has taken part.
Over the past few years our students have worked closely in conjunction with engineers from Corus Tubes to solve a variety of problems and this year's contingent, Rebekah Hadley, James Chalkley, Joshua Hilton and Luke Saville have visited the site to see their challenge in situ.
Engineer Matthew Ashworth has given students the task of coming up with an efficient way of removing the weld from inside the steel tubes as they are formed. Currently Corus Tubes use an 'exocet' tool to do the job but they are hoping that our students may be able to come up with other, more efficient methods.
The project is similar to that faced by the students last year, who had to remove the weld from the outside of the tube. This year's project poses more problems as the tube diameter is slightly reduced when it is cut, and the logistics of removing excess weld from a tube moving continuously at two to three metres per second requires careful thought.
Teacher Mr Barrett said: 'Eight students applied for this year's Engineering Education scheme and we whittled them down to four, three of whom have been studying engineering. It was a very strong field of candidates and any of them could have done well at it, you have to choose the four that you think might make the best team.'
The students will have to devote around 100 hours each to the project, designing and building prototype tools and then presenting their ideas to professionals at a presentation day in the spring of 2010. It enhances their problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills and is a great task to take part in if they are considering a career in engineering, technology or design.
Mr Barrett said: 'The whole strength of this project is that it is a real-life situation. Over the next two to three weeks the students will have to get a few ideas together which we can then refine during our residential trip to the University of Loughborough at the end of this term. It's amazing what you can get done when you get a couple of days to solidly work on the assignment. Yet again we are very grateful that Corus Tubes are funding this project and working so closely with our students. The engineers there give our students a real insight into the world of industry and so, if we can look at this project with fresh eyes and enhance their production methods then it will all be worthwhile.'