Becoming the next big thing in engineering: Brunel University students win this year’s Engineering Insight prize

Final year students get hands on with design brief from Midland ACS, a Xylem brand

From left to right: Alistair Jay, Robert Ludeks, Andrew Smith and Mihir Meetarbhan

Four final year B.Eng students at Brunel University took on a design brief from leading global water technology provider Xylem in a new initiative aimed at promoting closer links between industry and academic institutions. Xylem’s Engineering Insight programme engages with mechanical engineering students studying at renowned iMechE accredited institutions, providing them with real world design engineering experience using products from Xylem’s global brand portfolio and based on actual scenarios. The EI Engineering Award is given for a group project and there is also a prize for an outstanding individual student. All participating students receive a copy of Engineering Formulas by Kurt Geick.

Project criteria for the group EI Engineering Award is set by Xylem Flow Control’s engineering department and the best submission selected by Xylem engineers. Two teams of Brunel students elected to work on the challenge Xylem presented for their final year 3-month project. The brief from Roger Bartlett, Head of UK Engineering at Xylem’s Flow Control business, was to design and develop a device to act as a safety mechanism to protect downstream equipment on oil rigs within a target production cost of Ł70 per unit. The winning team was judged to have analysed the brief to come up with a practical product specification, applied engineering CAD software tools in the most effective manner and utilized existing manufacturing techniques to meet all the criteria within budget.

Dr Alasdair Cairns, Senior Lecturer, Brunel School of Engineering and Design comments: “Working on a project as a team is how our students will be expected to work in industry. Partnerships such as Engineering Insight are extremely valuable to Brunel and other academic institutions as they bridge the gap between theory and practice and help students with their job search after graduating.”

Roger Bartlett added: “The winners demonstrated outstanding depth of skills and commitment throughout, including generating several concepts at the start of the project and selecting a pragmatic design which integrated the functions of two valves in a production-viable manner. The team’s reporting and adherence to budget were also excellent.”

At the prize giving ceremony held at Brunel University, Alistair Jay, Andrew Smith, Mihir Meetarbhan and Robert Ludeks were congratulated by Professor H. Zhao, Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, Dr Cairns and Dr. Ian Gilchrist, Lecturer at Brunel. Andy Sealey of Xylem presented the winners with engraved green crystal trophies, a Samsung Galaxy tablet with case, the latest Kindle e-reader and engraved Parker pens.

The students stated that they had enjoyed brainstorming ideas and valued the feedback from Xylem’s engineers. All are looking forward to taking their first steps into industry. Alistair Jay has accepted a position with a company in Sussex as a graduate engineer. Andrew would like to work on engine development in motorsport and Robert Ludeks and Mihir are looking for employment in the power, oil or renewable energy industries.

About Engineering
Insight Engineering Insight is a scheme set up to work with university mechanical engineering students with different projects at each academic institution. Its aim is provide real world design experience to enhance employability and encourage successful learning in mathematics, science and engineering.

Xylem Flow Control Ltd. / Midland-ACS
Tel: +44 (0)1902 384604

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 23

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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