Neil helps Royal Mail with weighty problem

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Manufacturing Engineering students Neil Martin from Dromore, David Agnew from Moira and Scott Elliott from Belfast receiving their SEMTA Science and Engineering Award at the recent BEST Awards ceremony for their innovative bag weighing system which they designed for Royal Mail.
South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Manufacturing Engineering students Neil Martin from Dromore, David Agnew from Moira and Scott Elliott from Belfast receiving their SEMTA Science and Engineering Award at the recent BEST Awards ceremony for their innovative bag weighing system which they designed for Royal Mail.

A TALENTED Dromore student is one of a three from the South Eastern Regional College’s Lisburn campus to have devised an innovative system to help Royal Mail streamline its bag weighing operation.

Neil Martin, along with fellow Manufacturing Engineering students, Scott Elliott and David Agnew worked on the project as part of their Extended Diploma course, supported by SERC Industrial Development Engineer Brendan Merrigan.

Royal Mail presented the challenge to the students, and following a number of meetings with senior management, together they developed a suitable solution.

Working in partnership with the engineering team at Royal Mail, the students designed and created an innovative spring balanced weighing system for small parcel sorting as part of a health and safety solution.The innovative system allows operators to efficiently fill posting bags up to 11KG, the safe allowable weight, through the use of a set of intelligent weight sensing load bars designed to offer a more sophisticated method of weight gauging while also taking the risk out of despatch at a critical time.

An intelligent sensor was incorporated into the programme, measuring the weight of each bag quickly and easily, dramatically reducing the risk in manual handling and resulting in savings due to rework and safety checks.

Brendan Merrigan commended the students, “We are very impressed by the quality of the students’ work and their ability to apply their knowledge to a ‘real life’ workplace scenario. This experience will stand them in good stead when applying for jobs in the future. It is important that young people understand that it is not just their knowledge but also their skills, creativity and attitude which matter in the workplace.” The project was so impressive that it also won the SEMTA Science and Engineering Award at the annual College BEST (Business and Education through Training and Skills) Awards held in Cookstown.

Kieran McKenna, Head of Engineering at SERC said, “The BEST awards are a great opportunity to motivate and recognize the capabilities of our students who competed against some of the best up-and-coming innovators of the future. Each of the students worked extremely hard on their projects and were delighted to receive £200 in recognition of their achievement.”

Royal Mail are currently developing a solution based on the concept created by the students and hope that this will be integrated into their processing centre at Mallusk initially.