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Ship comes in for St David's students with a winch rope.

Byline: Peter Spear

Students of St David's took up the challenge of the EESW with two highly supportive companies, Huntleigh Health Care and Associated British Ports.

Huntleigh engineers required a 'Phantom vessel'; a system to simulate arterial blood flow, to be used as a test fixture for ultra sound probes.

The team combined mechanics, electronics and computing to produce an excellent response that earnt an overall mark of 92%.

Students working alongside engineers from ABP were set a particularly daunting task.

They were asked to design a device to project a rope across a span of 30 metres, in order to supply a winch line in the event of lock-gate operation failure, thereby preventing ships from becoming grounded as the tide ebbs.

Many solutions were investigated and trialled including remote controlled vehicles, robots, water propelled devices, gas-powered injectors, mechanical launchers and combinations of the above, before deciding on a compressed air actuator.

The judges were impressed by this team's ideas, leading to the award for the 'Best Appreciation of Safety'.

The projects inspired the students as they gained many skills while growing in confidence and competence. They also developed their talents by approaching problems and tasks as a team, compromising and complementing each other's efforts to overcome difficulties.

Much of their success was due to the leadership and involvement of company engineers John Iles, Steve Kedward (Huntleigh Healthcare) and Gareth Perry (ABP).

The students developed excellent working relationships with their engineers and have acquired much mechanical, electronic and systems knowledge through their direction, advice and example.

Their willingness to devote 'free' time to their projects, together with their enthusiasm, had a positive effect and the teams were indebted to them.

Student Nile Bridgeman said: "I found the engineering scheme very enjoyable as well as challenging, and unlike anything I had done before.

"I hope to pursue a career in engineering, preferably civil, and after taking part in the scheme I have better knowledge and understanding of this profession.

"I would like to study civil engineering at university in the future. On the whole, I have found the EESW helpful to my career and I would definitely recommend this scheme."

Nico Sancier added: "I have taken a lot away with me from the scheme. I have been looking at a career in either aeronautical or mechanical engineering and the scheme has helped me to appreciate the level of work and commitment needed.

"It is something I enjoyed being a part of, but I don't think I realised how important graphics were (this includes hand-drawn, and CAD) until the end of the project when my graphical representations were specifically mentioned in the project results.

"The scheme has helped me develop my skills, talents, and interest much more than I would have thought.

"I would recommend it to any one who can qualify to take part. Overall, the scheme was a very worthwhile experience".
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 9, 2009
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