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Home Automation Challenge 2017

Institution News Team

Team RB Derby, Challenge Winners 2017 with TouchSafe
Team RB Derby, Challenge Winners 2017 with TouchSafe

Teams of the UK's most talented apprentices competed in an innovative design and manufacturing challenge to improve an everyday home or garden device.

Team RB Derby from Reckitt Benckiser triumphed in this year's Challenge, designing the  winning product – The TouchSafe, a child-proof lock.  Their prize was a certificate, trophy plaque and £2,000. 

This year for the first time, The Manufacturer sponsored an additional award - the Judges Highly Commended Award. This prize was presented to Team Venturis from Leonardo. Team Venturis received a certificate and £500.

The 2017 competition  was open to all apprentices from companies, colleges and training providers of engineering and manufacturing technologies, free of charge.

Held on 14 July at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Coventry, the event was organised by the Institution’s Manufacturing Industries Division's, Young Members Committee.   Manufacturing Industries Division Vice Chair, Ted Wiggans, welcomed all to the event. The keynote speech was delivered by Clive Hickman, IMechE’s Vice President. Clive is also the Chief Executive of the MTC, responsible for manufacturing innovation and creating a cohesive link between academia and industry.

The Challenge

Teams were required to design a product and prototype of a working model.  Initially, they submitted a report – including a design specification, manufacturing instructions and user manual – in advance of the competition. The submission also included a business case for the mass production and sale of the product. 

Competitors included Auto MTC from the Manufacturing Technology Centre with an automated dog feeder, two teams from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, AMRA with the can crusher and AWL with an automated washing line as well as three teams from Leonardo, Venturis with an automated squash dispenser, Meliorem Domum with an automated window cleaner and ADEPT with the smart alarm clock.

Judges, having examined the reports and observed the products in operation on the day, apportioned 50% of points to the report and 50% to the product. Judging criteria included:

  • design integrity
  • quality of prototype
  • functionality
  • presentation
  • the teams’ depth of knowledge.

The Judges

This year's panel was Mark Ireland, Narmeen Rehman, Juan Andres Vasquez Amaya, Andrew Horsfall, Connor Mcaleer, Michael Starling, Ratnam Nadarajah, Ted Wiggans, Raymond Hodgkinson, Richard Green, Gregory Smith, Alan Bennett, Jason Yearsley, Lydia Amarquaye, Peter Lunt and Toby Heagerty.

The Winners

The successful team comprised Joel Fuller-Thompson, Callum Radford, Bradley Ellis, Calvin Campbell, Ethan Roberts, Evie Smith and Adam Cordall.

Joel said: “The TouchSafe is the first child-proof lock on the market to integrate fingerprint sensor technology…much better than mechanical child locks you have on the market, because children are finding ways to get around them or learning how to open them”

Callum reiterated that team RB Derby “really wanted to make something which was safe for the home”.


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