Laura Greenaway, a Southern Institute of Technology student has won first place in the NZDE (New Zealand Diploma in Engineering) Engineering Project National Competition, held on July 13th -14th, 2022, at WINTEC, Hamilton, during the Engineering Tutors’ Forum.
The annual event sees entries from every ITP (Institutes of Technology & Polytechnics) in the country competing in the fields of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. Miss Greenaway’s mechanical engineering project, ‘Improvement and Standardisation of Horseshoe Washer’, won the best overall project of her second-year class at the end of 2021. “The top class project is submitted to the competition every year,” she said. The project in poster format and the actual prototype went to Hamilton for judging.
Matthew Sledmore, Chair of VEENZ (Vocational Engineering Education New Zealand) commented on the overall excellence of the entries for 2022. "This project was one of many very high quality submissions this year, and whilst it made judging very difficult, the winning entry was exceptionally well presented and distinctly innovative, which set it apart from others.”
SIT engineering students have the opportunity to engage in real-world projects, providing potential solutions for commercial products. Miss Greenaway had been previously employed by Felton Industries Limited, and used her knowledge of their products to come up with the subject matter for her project.
“I approached them with my idea and took the opportunity to create a solution which can save them money and to improve the product for the customer.” She said with further investigation, if the new washer design was commercially viable, it could be utilised in the company’s products.
Miss Greenaway said it was a good feeling to know her efforts were being recognised. “It validates all the hard work I’ve put into the project and my studies, it’s pretty satisfying to have my work acknowledged in this way.”
There were some steep learning curves along the way, including learning how to use finite element analysis (FEA) software, a program engineers use to find vulnerabilities in their design prototypes.
“I’d been working before I went back to study engineering, and it reassures me that I have chosen the correct career path,” Miss Greenaway said. She is now in her final year at SIT and completing a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Mechanical).
SIT School of Advanced Engineering Technology Programme Manager and Engineering Tutor, Carlo Gabriel, said the overall content, depth of the research and a quality presentation from Miss Greenaway were the reasons for her win.
This is the second time in two years a SIT Engineering student has taken first prize; Josh Clarke won in 2020 with his ‘Meat Tubing Machine Design’ project. Mr Gabriel believes the second win is notable. “It’s significant because it indicates we’re strong in our engineering programme across the country,” he said.