A team of four students from Painsley Sixth Form College won the award for ‘Engineer of the Year’ for the West Midlands region, qualifying for the National Finals of the Big Bang at the NEC in Birmingham next March.
Cameron Lewis, Alexander Mayne, Callum McCready and Tomas Thorley spent six months working on a real-life project for JCB as part of the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT). The students were asked to design a system to optimise the boom swing on mini-excavators. The current boom swing is 75o left/50o right, if the team could increase this then it would further improve the productivity and flexibility of the machine in confined working environments.
The team researched and evaluated a number of potential ideas before proposing a system using four-bar linkages to manoeuvre the boom such that the total angle achieved either side of the central axis can be increased greatly with one of the sides being able to reach 90o.
They completed the project by producing a professional report of their findings and presented their project to a group of senior engineers at a celebration and assessment day in Birmingham. The project was subsequently entered into the Big Bang competition for the West Midlands region at Staffordshire University, where the project was judged to be one of the best on display.
“This is a great accomplishment for these students, and really shows that hard work and creativity can lead to impressive innovation. The boys worked really well together and were supported by Mr Andrew Pate, our Second in Department for Maths. We are really excited about having the opportunity to take part in the National Finals next March and wish our team the best of luck.” commented Mrs Rachel Waugh, Principal at Paisley Sixth Form College.