Engineering students win with coffee robot
POTCHEFSTROOM - Six third-year students of the Schools of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering have once again shown what the Faculty of Engineering on the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University (NWU) is capable of when they were selected the overall winners of the Siemens Cyber Junkyard competition for industrial automation.
The students’ entry, a coffee machine of industrial quality, showed nine other invited university teams from Southern Africa how many beans make five. Earlier this year they succeeded in becoming one of the final 10 teams in this competition aimed at all tertiary institutions in Southern Africa where engineering is offered. Teams as far as Zambia had entered.
The winners were announced during a prestigious occasion in Johannesburg, attended by more than 400 experts in the industry. Since 2006 it is the second time that students of the NWU Potchefstroom Campus have won the competition. The previous winning entry was a machine that manufactures and puts key holders together.
According to Prof Jan de Kock, Director of the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, the students initially had to submit a proposal for the selection process, after which they had to design and build the coffee machine. Certain requirements entailed that the machine receives a request for coffee via remote control, makes the coffee and delivers it per robot to the client who is a distance from the machine.
Although certain equipment was provided, the students manufactured the system themselves and wrote complicated computer programmes for it. The instrument makers on the Campus made some of the parts.
The NWU’s successful team did the work under the guidance of Mr Piet van Huyssteen, lecturer in Computer Engineering. As winners, the team members, Adelle Bouwer, Tanya Steyn, Abrie Nieuwoudt, Pieter Goosen, Wichert Huyser and Frikkie van Zyl, secured R50 000’s worth of engineering equipment for the NWU. Furthermore, each of the students received a lap top computer and will attend a conference free of charge at Sun City in June as part of their reward. The group also received the opportunity of 21 days advanced training by Siemens, the main sponsor of the competition.
The NWU’s Cyber Junkyard winners with their winning coffee machine that delivers your hot drink per robot. In the back row are Mr Abrie Nieuwoudt and Mss Tanya Steyn and Adelle Bouwer. In the front row are Messrs Piet van Huyssteen, lecturer in Computer Engineering, Pieter Goosen, Wichert Huyser and Frikkie van Zyl.