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A TEAM of Deakin University Engineering students has won a national competition for designing a robot that could be used in Ford’s car manufacturing process.
Aaron Dixon of Geelong and Jarred Spriggs of Newport were announced as winners of the Society of Automotive Engineers - Australasia and ABB National Robotics Innovation Competition in October.
Mr Spriggs and Mr Dixon collaborated with Ford to design an automated vehicle glazing application that won the inaugural competition. The team had earlier been successful in the first round to gain a place in the finals.
An industry judging panel was impressed with the students’ technical knowledge and ability to answer in-depth questions about their proposal.
Another Deakin University team also gained a place in the finals with their design of an automated process for combining metal parts safely and efficiently. The judges said the decision of the ultimate winner was a difficult one.
Mr Dixon said he was surprised to win the competition, although he and Mr Spriggs had worked hard on their submission.
“We weren’t expecting to win, but we’re really happy with the result,” Mr Dixon said.
“We put in a lot of work, particularly into our budget. I think that something that we did that set us apart was going around to businesses and tendering to suppliers for parts, which we submitted with our entry,” he said. “By spending the time and effort to do this, I think we improved our submission.”
Mr Spriggs is studying the Mechatronics and Robotics stream of the Bachelor of Engineering at Deakin’s Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, while Mr Dixon is studying the Electronics stream.
Associate Head of School of Engineering and Information Technology Prof Saeid Nahavandi congratulated the students on their success and said the win reflected the practical emphasis of Deakin’s Engineering course.
“At Deakin, we equip our students with relevant theories augmented by hands-on learning in our Engineering course and I think that has provided Deakin’s winning team with the practical skills to develop an excellent entry for the competition,” Prof Nahavandi said.
“We believe it is very important to be able to apply the theoretical knowledge that the students learn in class to the real life workplace, and that is what this competition reinforced. Creating such job ready graduates makes all the difference”.
The competition aims to provide students with the opportunity to work with industry to design robotics equipment that can be applied by manufacturers. It follows the successful Formula SAE competition for which Engineering (Mechanical) students design a race car.
Entries for the robotics competition were assessed on the savings generated, innovation, safety, likelihood of success and presentation skills.
Mr Spriggs and Mr Dixon will receive valuable work experience or robotics training opportunities and vouchers after their win in the competition.