A team of three students from Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College competed in the Royal Navy Engineering Challenge Final last week at HMS Sultan. The team who named themselves HMS L.O.R.D (Lost Object Retrieval Device) competed against twenty-one other University Technical College teams in the 16-18 category of the National Final.
Themed around the Royal Navy’s role of providing disaster relief, the competition was built around a scenario in Antarctica where food and medical supplies required for a British Antarctic Expedition have been lost overboard and need to be retrieved. Each team was tasked with designing and building a vessel which would help them to recover the lost food and medical supplies from a water tank.
The Challenge was hosted within an aircraft hanger normally used by Air Engineering Technicians from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School (RNAESS) and in between competing, the students were given the opportunity to look at a number of aircraft and enjoy a number of interactive displays around the arena. They were also given tours of marine engineering training facilities used by the Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE).
Among the VIPs in attendance were Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, Air Vice- Marshal Young and the Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, The Rt Hon Lord Baker of Dorking.
The judges were impressed by the complex engineering systems employed by the team some of which had not been seen in the competition before. These included a conveyor belt on a parallel motion linkage enabling the vessel to retrieve items from the water surface with ease. A custom made grabbing claw also worked in unison with the conveyor belt and an integrated camera in the hull enabled the driver to see the objects on the bottom of the tank without refraction interference.
The team’s efforts were rewarded by them winning the Best Design and Construction Award for the 16-18 age category. Mr Richard Burgess, Head of Design and Technology at the College said “We are very proud of the team’s achievement this year, especially as it is the first year that the College has entered this particular competition. I know they have aspirations to repeat their performance next year and have already started planning HMS L.O.R.D mark 2!”