For the last six months, Mark Davies, James Glazzard, Nick Thurgood, Alex Watkins, George Watkins and Jacob Withington have been working on a project with Worcester Bosch to design a new test rig interface adapter for the Ri boiler.
The test checks the electrical connections of new boilers before they leave the factory. The current adapter is heavy, bulky and can disconnect from the boiler, causing damage. A visit to the factory floor at Worcester Bosch allowed the team to see the test rig adapter in action so the problem could be understood better. Following this visit, the team started drawing initial designs.
In December, a residential trip to Birmingham University allowed the team two days of intensive focus on the project. In this time, they were able to use a university level computer aided design programme to draw up their initial design, as well as testing materials and printing out their first prototype using the 3D printer. This was also an excellent opportunity to experience university life, including dinner in the Halls of Residence and a Christmas quiz, in which RGS Worcester won first place.
Over the next few months, designs were tested and tweaked, and CAD models updated. By the Easter holidays, the team had written a full report and had arrived at a final design, including recommendations to be taken forward by engineers at Worcester Bosch.
At the end of April, the team exhibited their project at the Celebration and Assessment day at Worcester Bosch, with approximately 80 other schools from the region. The day was gruelling, with a 15 minute presentation to a panel of five engineers, an interview at their display stand and presentations of their project to other students, teachers, parents and engineers throughout the day.
The team have been rewarded with the EES award, Industrial Cadets Gold Award and a Gold CREST Award.
The project ended in style with a presentation to Carl Arntzen, Managing Director of Worcester Bosch (and former RGS pupil), alongside senior engineers and parents at the plant last Thursday. This was the most rigorous test of the process, as these engineers know the production process inside out, so were able to ask some very challenging questions. The presentation was polished and professional, with all team members talking confidently about their role and the skills and experiences they have gained. The engineers were very impressed with the final design, and have asked some members of the team to assist with continuing the research and development process when they visit Worcester Bosch for work experience over the summer.
The skills gained by the students, including practical skills, CAD drawing, communication, leadership, budgeting and management are often best learned outside the classroom; this has been a steep learning curve but one that has given them experiences that support their applications to university or apprenticeships and stand them in good stead for their future careers.
Mrs Sarah John – Head of Physics