At the Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire, we are committed to providing a unique and exciting curriculum that combines academic, technical and practical learning. With a range of engineering and manufacturing workshop spaces and classrooms onsite, our students have an opportunity to get to grips with industry-standard machinery, developing sought-after skills and knowledge that future employers are looking for. However, it’s not just our students who use our workshops to be innovative.
Recently both our premises manager John, and engineering technician Ash, put their skills to the test in order to replace an existing element of the schools central heating system, working together to find a solution that wouldn’t break the bank. The part in question was a ratchet open and close valve, that was 20mm too small and didn’t have the correct handle in order to function correctly.
Originally, John contacted local companies to discuss the replacement and discovering it could cost around £500.00, he decided to turn the situation into a fun challenge by working with Ash to make the part inhouse. Using Autodesk Fusion 360, one of the 3D CAD, CAM and CAE systems our students use when creating new ideas and completing project work, Ash was able to produce an initial prototype from acrylic.
After testing the prototype and making any necessary alterations both John and Ash were able to create an aluminum version of the valve using the school’s Boxford CNC Laser Cutting machine. This aluminum part has now been approved by local gas engineers who have tested that it is safe to function!
John said, “The ingenuity of myself and Ash, means we have solved a problem at little cost. This won’t be the last time that we do projects like this because we have access to modern cutting-edge machinery and at the end of the day, why wouldn’t we want to use it!”
Thanks to John and Ash’s innovative thinking and engineering knowledge, the overall cost of replacing the valve was equivalent to a sheet of acrylic and aluminium. A perfect example of how STEM skills are transferable and can help to solve the kind of problems faced by individuals and companies every single day.
Want to find out more about life at the ENL UTC and how our unique curriculum can ignite ideas around your future? Follow the link below.