Friday 7th May 2010 by C. Freeman
This year's Engineering Education scheme has been the most successful ever, with students developing a hard-wearing tool that has resulted in less production down-time at local firm Corus Tubes.
The previous version of the tool, which removes excess weld from the inside of the tube, would break and need changing on average three times a week, costing thousands of pounds in lost production.
The team with their prototype tool.
The Sixth Formers from Brooke Weston came up with an improved design which worked solidly for four weeks before it needed replacing, yielding an improvement in productivity costs amounting to an impressive £48,000.
The team presented their work at an assessment day at Loughborough University where they impressed the judges, comprising a panel of engineers and industry professionals. They were the only team to demonstrate they had developed a tool that worked in a real-life setting, which was delivering quantifiable savings.
James Chalkley, Rebekah Hadley, Joshua Hilton and Luke Saville were first given the task back in October. Since then they have made site visits to Corus Tubes, had a residential workshop at Loughborough and have seen their prototype manufactured, tested and working on site at the factory.
Mr Barrett with his certificate.
Design Technology teacher Mr Nigel Barrett said: 'The judges said we'd got our specification right and had proved that we were saving money. They commended the way the students worked together as a team; it was all accolade after accolade, it was fantastic.'
As the students have invested around a hundred hours each on the project they will be eligible for the prestigious CREST Gold award, only 16 of which have been awarded to students from Northamptonshire this year.
In addition, Mr Barrett also received a certificate of commendation for his continued work with the Engineering Education scheme. This is the eighth year that he has mentored a team from Brooke Weston and so, in recognition of his work, he was also presented with a certificate.
He said: 'It's rewarding to see the journey the students go through; the difference from when you choose them as a team to when the get to the end is incredible, they all have their ups and downs but at the end they have become a formidable team. They learned so much working together and under the mentorship of Matthew Ashworth, the engineer from Corus, they have developed many skills.'