Student being presented with award

Three students from Shrewsbury Colleges Group studying Foundation Degrees in Engineering have scooped first, second and third prizes in a national engineering competition run to find the best inventions of tomorrow.

The GradEX18 exhibition and competition, which is a unique chance to view the exiting and innovative work being produced by tomorrow's industry pioneers from: Computing, Digital Technologies, Engineering, Law, Policing & Sociology and Sciences, all in the final years of their degree-level courses, took place at Staffordshire University last month.

The College entered 11 students and the three winning students are all employed but studying the Foundation Degree in Engineering & Technology at the College.
Jamie Cochrane, 22, of Newtown, scooped first place for his Automated Brick Surface Texture and Orientation Detection System. Brendan Sudlow, aged 31, from Shrewsbury, came second with his LEAP 1C Engine and Adam Hone, 25 of Shrewsbury won third with his Universal 3D Print Head Attachment.

Jamie, who is employed as a research and development design engineer for RM Group, in Newtown, an automation solutions provider and manufacturer within the process and packaging industry, said: “A recent dilemma was brought to our sales team by a customer who manufactures decorative bricks which have a single face. These bricks are used in the construction industry for luxury brick features, like a mantelpiece.
“The customer wanted to have the bricks stacked by one of our company’s robot systems onto a pallet, with the decorative faces on show, not the machine cut face. The issue with this is that when the bricks arrive, they are in random orientations, so my invention was to develop a reliable way of detecting the presentation face of each brick while they run along a conveyor and then align them before collection to ensure the robots stacking pattern will always produce a perfectly presented pallet.”

John Watts, Course Leader for Foundation Degrees, said: “The students studying on our courses are the next generation of engineers. It’s an amazing achievement for these students to have scooped the top three prizes in their category and demonstrates the standard of their abilities. The inventions the students designed can be picked up by industry – and in the case of our three winners they are already.

“Our HE courses are going from strength to strength. We are currently teaching over 50 students. We have students travelling as far as Aberystwyth and Birmingham to do our courses and our reputation amongst employers is excellent because we tailor our awards to meet employer needs wherever possible. The majority of our students are employed and can fit their studies, part-time or full-time around their work.”

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