The Industrial Cadets Gold project (previously known as the Engineering Education Scheme) is run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), typically over a six-month period. The project connects A Level students with local companies and engineers, allowing the students to gain insight into engineering careers and opportunities, and develop skills by working on a real engineering project. Working with ISIS mentors, six students from The Willink School were challenged to design a lifting device that could remove a hardened rail from the Target, Reflector and Moderator (TRaM) assembly in Target Station 1 at ISIS, as part of essential target station upgrades.
The rail from the TRaM is highly radioactive due to its close vicinity to the Target that has been bombarded with high energy protons since the 1980’s, so the design had to be suitable for remote use, using manipulator arms. Over several months, the students had weekly meetings with ISIS mentors – Jon, Zoë and Conor – to discuss and develop ideas and decide on two designs.
One of the students’ 3D printed designs.
The students created engineering drawings, including 3D models of their designs, using SketchUp CAD software. Any small problems at this stage could be identified and rectified, with help from their mentors. The students were then able to manufacture and 3D print their designs at RAL, thanks to Sam Allum in Additive Manufacturing, and their prototypes were tested using a mockup of the ISIS Target Station 1 remote handling cell. The students watched a livestream of the mentors and Chris Russell from the target operations team performing the tests, so they could interact live with the testing process.
Mentors Zoë, Conor and Jon, alongside Chris from the Target Operations Team, test the students’ prototypes on a mockup of the Target Station 1 remote handling cell.
Both designs successfully removed the rail from the TRaM, although one of their designs using a clamp and motorbike stand was more effective than the other. The students completed a report, detailing the entire process and how their final designs could be improved, and presented their work to a panel of engineers across different industries. On completion of their project, they received the Industrial Cadets Gold Award.
The students presented their work to a panel of engineers across different industries.
Both the students and mentors hugely enjoyed participating in the Gold Project this year, despite the difficulties presented by remote learning. The students were able to gain insight into STEM careers and the world of work, and felt they learnt a variety of skills. One student said: "The independence of improving our concepts week on week with the insightful help from the mentors was so rewarding and gave everyone a feeling of accomplishment when the project came to an end. We gained many hard and soft skills throughout the process, whether that was via compiling the report or presenting to the board on the assessment day, all of which will give us an advantage as we continue forward in our lives."
Jon, one of the ISIS mentors, said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed the process personally and found it way more rewarding than a single day event or afternoon".
Congratulations to the students from Willink School on their success, and a huge thank you to Jon, Zoë and Conor for their hard work, commitment, expertise and enthusiasm to make this experience possible. Although the entire project took place virtually this year due to the pandemic, we hope to welcome the students from Willink School on to site as soon as we are able to!