When Josh Clarke immigrated to NZ from South Africa 5 years ago, designing safe meat packing machinery and going on to win a national award, was probably the last thing he thought he’d be achieving.
He said he made the decision to start an NZ Diploma in Engineering (mechanical) at SIT, to pursue a passion he had for design and fabrication. Josh said during his diploma course he learned how broad the field of mechanical engineering is and how important it is to have good engineers. He also noted the quality of the teaching at SIT, describing the lecturers as “the best I have ever known”. Adding his supervisor Carlo Gabriel “puts in 110%”. During the course, Josh appreciated the small class sizes and the value of more one-on-one time with the lecturers.
Josh’s passion for design and fabrication became apparent when his final year project and presentation won first prize in a national competition - in the NZDE Best Engineering Project entitled "Meat Tubing Machine Design Project". Josh had worked in the meat industry prior to commencing his study, so he had a sound knowledge of what was involved in the processing of the product. The Meat Tubing Machine takes meat offcuts and presses them safely and cleanly into bags. The primary reason to work on this design said Josh, was to improve the safety of how the offcuts are handled and processed. In the process of designing a safer machine, the other benefits of the design included: making it easier to use – more ergonomically designed for the operator, and making it easier to clean, repair and maintain, he said. He designed and manufactured the meat tubing machine over an entire semester.
Carlo Gabriel - SIT’s course tutor/supervisor of DE6102 - Engineering Project, supervised Josh for the full duration of the project, providing guidance and advice, from research methods, analysis and report writing, to designing and manufacturing the product. He said, "The best thing about supervising students' projects is that you get to transfer knowledge and most importantly, to see them succeed in their chosen endeavour and carve out their respective niche. I am very proud of Josh for winning this award and this is a momentous event for SIT".
Josh competed against entries from Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) all around NZ, and he said winning the award put into perspective how far he’s come. “I was hesitant to start this qualification and now I have won a prize”. He received a certificate and a cash prize. Josh is planning to have a career working in mechanical design, so he’s continuing with his studies at SIT in 2020 and is progressing towards a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BengTech).
And Josh’s Meat Tubing Machine is already being put to good use at BX Foods in Oamaru, where he formerly worked.