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Business & Economy

RGS students win big at national science and engineering competition

Sixth Form students Chengyi (Simon) Zu of Fenham, Eve Oakley of Gosforth and Gregor Pearce of Gosforth created a multi-stud insertion tool which impressed the judges who awarded them the first-ever JCB prize for innovation in engineering.

The team has been working on the project for more than a year following a task set by Nissan for the Engineering in Education Scheme.

Simon, Eve and Gregor designed a multi-stud insertion tool which can be used to secure car-wheels on the production line at Nissan, saving the company six seconds per car. The students had a number of visits to Nissan working with their team to find out what was currently used, how they could improve the efficiency in the production line and to finally test their working model.

Ian Green, Nissan Skills Foundation said,

“This is fantastic recognition for these talented students, and we are delighted that our challenge set them in their winning direction.

“We set the challenge on an Engineering in Education scheme, a scheme we have been involved with for over 10 years.

“It brings together students and businesses to work on real-life engineering, science and technology projects and we believe it is a great way to enthuse young people about STEM subjects.

“Their project idea was an excellent example of innovation. Congratulations to them all.”

Following a win at the North East regional heats of the Big Bang Fair, the trio were invited to present their project at the national finals in Birmingham and enlisted the help of some local companies to create a prototype made from aluminium. Douglas E Ward Engineering and British Engines were only too pleased to offer their expertise and support.

Garry Scott, Douglas E Ward said,

“We were really happy to help out with this project and encourage not only these students, but any future young students with an interest in engineering.”

Richard Dodd, Chief Operating Officer of British Engines also commented on the team’s success. He said,

“We were delighted to support the students from RGS with the Big Bang Science and Engineering competition; it is important to inspire and encourage our future engineers in the region. Congratulations to the whole team on their award!”

Being the inaugural winners of the JCB award, the trio will get the opportunity to spend time at the JCB headquarters in Derbyshire learning all about their processes and production during the summer.

RGS Headmaster Dr Bernard Trafford commented,

“This project really tested our students, demanding that they combine their engineering skill and instincts with some lateral thinking to design a tool that has the potential to save Nissan very significant time on its assembly line – where time is almost literally money! We’re very proud of these three.”

The RGS has always produced good numbers of students going into engineering based or related courses, and 2015 was a landmark year which saw more Upper Sixth students heading onto engineering based courses than any other discipline. Opportunities in STEM continue to grow within the school and a refreshing rebrand of one department, now the Engineering, Design and Technology department which will run two new A level courses from September: Design Engineering and Product Design, further enhances the school’s commitment to this subject area.