Students studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide compete in the Warman Competition as part of their second year course, MECH ENG 2100 Design Practice.
The Warman design and build competition, sponsored by Weir Minerals Australia, has been run for thirty years and it involves around 2000 students from up to 20 universities from Australia and New Zealand. It is organised by Engineers Australia for teams of second-year mechanical-engineering students. A local competition is organized on a university’s campus and winners attend the finals in Sydney. The objective is to design, build and prove prototype autonomous devices to perform a number of tasks on a competition track. A scoring system is generally quite complex with points awarded for speed and accuracy at which individual tasks are performed. The University of Adelaide was part of the competition from the very beginning. Our teams won the national finals in 1997 and 2008, came second in 2009 and third in 2017.
Heats are held as part of MECH ENG 2100 Design Practice and the campus winners then converge on the national final to determine who are the region's best budding designers.
Figure 1. Winners of the 2008 National Final in Sydney, the team of the University of Adelaide: Bryn Crawford, Shane Fitzgerald, Tristan Goss and Eric Parsonage (team captain)
Project PRAISE –Powerpack Relocation Avoiding Imminent Starvation and Enervation
Gondwana is a small planet orbiting a sun on the outer fringes of our Galaxy. Gondwana’s climate is changing due to the release of methane from its oceans, which is causing planet warming. They are in the midst of the worst drought in history and irrigation has dried up aquifers normally abundant with fresh water. Starvation is imminent unless essential water is found for their crops. Fortunately, teams of engineering students from Earth are about to visit Gondwana as part of their work experience programmes. Over the last 30 years, visiting engineering students have rendered invaluable assistance with such engineering problems, and on this thirty-first occasion, the Gondwanans again seek help from these budding engineers.
Three water bores, each having a powerpack and pumping station, have been sucked dry but by using new satellite and geotechnical technology, the Gondwanans have located a plentiful aquifer. High flow pumps have been installed in the pump bunker but its powerpack was overloaded and it exploded. If they can move a powerpack from a dry well to the new aquifer a famine could be averted.
Situated on a plateau, a bunker has been made above the new aquifer and ONE of three powerpacks needs to be collected off a nearby well tower and placed in the bunker. Unfortunately, the largest powerpack that will drive the biggest pumps is in the most difficult location for collection and will also be the most difficult to place in the bunker. A garage providing protection near the location can be used as a workshop from which to deploy a system that will collect, transport and place the powerpack into the bunker. The challenge is to design and build a system to autonomously collect and place ONE powerpack assembly that comprises of three energy orbs, three cups and one MDF base. To avoid a catastrophic environmental disaster the energy orbs must not be dropped.
The objective is to design, build and demonstrate a prototype collection and placement system. Points will be scored when your autonomous system collects and places a powerpack, with all energy orbs, into the bunker as quickly as possible.