First- and second-year student teams from the University of Manchester and University College London respectively have secured victory as overall winners at the Design Challenge National Final, which took place on 13 October 2023 at One Birdcage Walk, London.
Undergraduate engineering students were competing against their peers with self-designed and manufactured internal pipe climbers, which are required to climb up the inside of a piece of vertical transparent tube lifting an increasing load, limited only by the cost and sizings listed in the competition specifications.
On taking part in Design Challenge 2023 National Final, Nova Storm, first-year Mechatronics student at Middlesex University said:
“The ambiance of the competition was intense, our competitors were very talented, but there was also a strong aspect of learning from each other, I learnt many things from the other teams and have left the competition with lots of ideas, should we ever build a future robot. Talking with the leaders of the IMechE and the judges also left me feeling very inspired on improving future designs and pursuing a career in engineering.”
The Design Challenge is intended to complement the academic curriculum and present participants with the opportunity to demonstrate their design skills and innovative ideas which form part of their course, outside of the regular studying environment. This is to simulate the requirements of a professional engineer so that students are exposed to the real world of engineering where they must think for themselves and apply a systematic approach to solve an engineering requirement.
Throughout 2023, first- and second-year undergraduate teams competed against their peers in Regional Heats, going on to take part in Regional Finals with the aim of qualifying for the National Final of the Challenge.
At the Final, teams delivered presentations in front of our judging panel who also reviewed their computer aided designs before moving onto the main challenge where teams tested their internal pipe climbers. They were scored in the following categories: poster competition, presentation competition, design review, design excellence and main challenge.
IMechE Senior Events Executive Emma Pateman noted: “I would like to congratulate all of the teams for everything they have achieved over the past year as part of the Design Challenge 2023. It’s has been great to see everyone’s efforts and it’s exciting to see the competition continue to grow.”
IMechE North Western Region Chair David Terry added: “It was great to see the teams working together to achieve success, some teams initially failed but gained success by perseverance, with even competitors applauding their ultimate success. It is a real example (if not cut down a little) of the design process in real engineering and a great thing to add to a CV as someone with this experience will have a head start on others without this practical experience.”
IMechE Wessex Region Design Challenge Chair Diogo Montalvao commented that “It is always an immense privilege to come to One Birdcage Walk in London to attend to the National Final of the Design Challenge. I get the opportunity to see how passionate students are about engineering and, as a professional, to actually learn from them too. Even after a few years, it is never enough for me to stop being impressed with how much this apparently simple competition has to offer to all those who engage with it, from students to staff.”
Ansys Senior Academic Development Manager Bridget Ogwezi highlights that “The Design Challenge is possibly the first time where a student is facing a real-life scenario, where cross functional skills need to be consolidated in a team of individuals, to work together in solving a problem which is time and budget bound, and I have seen today some incredible engineering skill and truly inspired designs in a pressurised live competition environment.”
Tim Baker, former Design Challenge Steering Committee Chair and Director of Business Performance at Red Bull Powertrains notes that “People from the industry are really interested in these types of competitions and that’s something we are always trying to encourage. We invite industry guests who do the assessments of the designs and they actually use the Challenge to unearth the really talented engineers already among first- and second-year students. They offer them summer placements and eventually graduate jobs.”
Incumbent Design Challenge Steering Committee Chair Davide Migliorini said “The Design Challenge is an important competition for students where they are encouraged to use all the skills and techniques they have learned, at the same time as gaining new ones because it guides the students to design, build, test, develop a real device, to end in a competitive live final.”
- National Champions: Team UoM – University of Manchester (North Western Region)
- Runner up: Middlesex – Middlesex University University (Greater London Region)
- Third place: Team Teesside – Teesside University (North Eastern Region)
- Poster Competition: Team Teesside – Teesside University (North Eastern Region)
- Presentation Competition: Team UoM – University of Manchester (North Western Region)
- Design Review: Team UoM – University of Manchester (North Western Region)
- Design Excellence: Team UoM – University of Manchester (North Western Region)
- Main Challenge: Team UoM – University of Manchester (North Western Region)
- National Champions: UCL B – University College London (Greater London Region)
- Runner up: The Crawlers – Bournemouth University University (Wessex Region)
- Third place: T.A.M.M.Y – University of Birmingham (Midland Region)
- Poster Competition: UCL B – University College London (Greater London Region)
- Presentation Competition: The Crawlers – Bournemouth University (Wessex Region)
- Design Review: The Crawlers – Bournemouth University University (Wessex Region)
- Design Excellence: UCL B – University College London (Greater London Region)
- Main Challenge: UCL B – University College London (Greater London Region)