The 2014 Cyber Junkyard Challenge winner was announced Monday night, with the team from College of Cape Town taking first prize. The team built an automated coffee bean roaster which has already secured commercial attention.
The team consists of Nisrine Jirari, team leader and process controller, software developer David Dyers, electrical engineering student Bertram Blankenberg, mechanical engineering student Kevin Tjihero, Aaron Miller on finances, Magdalene Pretorius on marketing and lecturers Mark Wichman, Ricardo Croy and Chris Josephs, and academic manager Pat Lawrence. The RGB52 full bed roaster is fitted with Siemens HMI colour touch panels to monitor the process, as well as a Siemens S71200 PLC with PID controls.
The College of Cape Town receives R100,000 in Siemens products, and the students will benefit from R14,000 in Siemens training, as well as each receiving a GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition.
The first runner up was the team from Durban University of Technology, which built a fully automated cocktail machine using Siemens technology. The university receives R50,000 in Siemens products, the students R12,000 in training, and a Pebble Smart Watch each.
The third place went to the Central University of Technology for their semi-autonomous toolbox, nicknamed Betsie, which follows a worker around the factory floor and plays instructive videos for the installation of parts, analyses faults and troubleshoots problems. Their maintenance assistant earned the university R25,000, and the students R7,000 in training, as well as a Polaroid Induction speaker for each team member.
Eight teams from South African tertiary institutions competed for the Cyber Junkyard crown, with hours of judging and a tense interview session in front of a panel of industry experts today at the Siemens Future of Manufacturing event. The teams were challenged by Siemens to engineer the solutions of the future – and pleasantly surprised everyone involved.
“South Africa needs dedicated and well trained engineers. But we also need people with a vision for the future. People with creativity and a talent for engineering solutions beyond every day thinking” said Raymond Padayachee, Vice President: Process Industries and Drives, Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa.
Other projects included a cup-cake decorator from North-West University, a biogas heating system from Northlink College, a gravity warehouse system from the Tshwane University of Technology, an autonomous vehicle for the agriculture and manufacturing industries from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and a micro-grid stabiliser for electricity grids.
Siemens has run the Cyber Junkyard challenge for 11 years. It has challenged students, and given them an opportunity to practically apply the skills they are being taught at the country’s top tertiary institutions.
This year, the competition was changed, undergoing some innovation itself. The students were given Siemens technology and challenge to build any industry solution, and to create a business and marketing plan. This brings an element of business skills to the challenge.
“In a country with such high unemployment, entrepreneurial skills are not only essential to the engineers of tomorrow, but also to the communities in which they create opportunities when their businesses become successful,” said Padayachee.