Industry judges praise high standards and skillsets of GMIT student engineers

Friday, May 04, 2018 Press Office
Press Release

45 projects showcased by mechanical & industrial engineering students

A ‘domestic drying space using a heat recovery ventilation system’ and a ‘quadcopter for rapid response cardiac arrest rescue’ have won two Engineers Ireland West Project Awards at the inaugural GMIT Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Expo.

The two winning projects, by Philip Doyle from Ballygunin, Tuam, and Max Phelan from Oranmore, respectively, were among 45 projects described in poster format and exhibited in the GMIT Café Foyer from 25 April to 2 May.

Max Phelan, Overall Mechanical winner for his project, “The Mechanical Design and Manufacture of a Cost Effective Autonomous Drone  from Rapid Cardiac Response Purposes”, explains: “Autonomous drones are used for both callous and humanitarian purposes. The aim of this project is to design and manufacture a prototype autonomous drone to rapidly deliver an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for use in high density population areas. To realise this, I looked at the flight envelopes of existing drones to asses and critique their abilities, and thereafter used flight dynamics, aerodynamics, control and programming to design and manufacture a prototype quadcopter which is capable of delivering a concept AED for rapid response purposes.”

Philip Doyle, The Overall Energy winner for his project “Investigation, Specification and Design of a Domestic Dedicated Drying System using ProAir’s Heat Recovery Ventilation System”, says: “Homes are ventilated for many reasons, but primarily to provide a clean fresh air supply. In Ireland due to our Maritime climate many modern homes use a dedicated Mechanical Heat Recovery system. The aim of the project was therefore to investigate the feasibility of using a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system to preheat the incoming air in a dedicated clothes drying space. To realise this, I used ProAir’s Mechanical Ventilation system to preheat to investigate its efficacy in cloths drying in a dedicated area”.

The inaugural competition was judged by industry experts Alan Heneghan, Senior Programme Manager, Thermoking, Donal Collins, R&D Manager, McHale, Brian Dowling, Project Engineer, Medtronic, and John Paul Butler, Chairman of Engineers Ireland West Region, sponsor of the student awards.

John Paul Butler says: ““As Chairman of Engineers Ireland in the West Region, it was a tremendous honour to have the opportunity to participate in the judging process at the recent awards in the School of Engineering at GMIT. I was really impressed with the range of projects. They were well structured and superbly presented. They demonstrated how the students’ competencies had developed to deliver projects relevant to industry to a high standard.”

Dr Oliver Mulryan, Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Programme, and Expo organiser, says: “The key objective of the exhibition and competition was to disseminate to all the passion and enthusiasm for learning, and engineering capabilities of our Engineering students. Through their innovative projects, our students have demonstrated their competence and proficiency in using a vast repertoire of cutting edge design tools such as CREO, ANSYS and RIVET, as well as advanced manufacturing technologies such as CNC and 3D printing.”

“It’s humbling and empowering to see our students grow, as demonstrated by the confident way they interacted with industry.  We hope to run the competition on an annual basis to proudly promulgate to all, our student’s capabilities. Small events like this greatly enhance our students’ college experience and assist in fostering and fortifying links with industry.”

Dr Carine Gachon, Head of the GMIT Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, says: “We are very proud of our students’ achievements. Seeing their transformation both academically and socially over the past four years is very rewarding.”

Dr Gabriel J Costello, lecturer in Product Design, who is a Chartered Engineer with Engineers Ireland, says: “I was delighted with the way the students demonstrated innovation in their designs, which ensures that they will bring creativity and design thinking into their future employments. The Expo also strengthened their relationship with Engineers Ireland which provides international recognition for their engineering qualifications.” 

Students’ testimonials:
“My four years at GMIT have been very enjoyable and challenging. I have gained invaluable experience throughout the years, which I feel have prepared me very well for the working world but also shaped my personal character. The expo was a great method for us students to show our skills which we have learned throughout the years. Presenting the poster to the industry leaders was a valuable exercise in self-confidence”.  - David Lehnardt, Mechanical Engineering student

“Energy Engineering has been an enjoyable and rewarding challenge over the past four years. The expo was a new experience to me, describing my project to both technical and non-technical people meant I had to approach my explanations differently to gain their understanding”.  - Philip Doyle, Energy Engineering Student

“The mechanical engineering programme has offered a multitude of rewarding experiences in relation to the knowledge acquired and the team work done over the years. A major amount of experience was gained with being involved in the expo. Engaging with industry leaders, both technical and non-technical, refined my skillset in been able to communicate my ideas more effectively.” - Max Phelan, Mechanical Engineering student.

“I feel that mechanical engineering is a very challenging but also rewarding course and it has equipped me with a diversity of skills and knowledge which will stay with me for life. I feel that the expo was a great way of showcasing the work done not only in the final year projects but the work that has led up to it throughout the four years of engineering.” - Conor Crean, Mechanical Engineering student

Judges’ comments:

Thermoking Representative
“Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the projects presented.  The innovation, problem-solving and industrial application of the projects was excellent to see. The practical application of engineering theory is one of GMIT’s key selling points and the projects on a display are a credit to the work done in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.” Alan Heneghan - Senior Program Manager, Thermoking

McHale Representative
“It was a most enjoyable afternoon and it was great to see the energy and buzz about the place. I was very impressed with the very high standard of the projects and the methodology and thought process that each student followed. It was great to see Creo & Ansys modelling been applied in all projects. This is what McHale are looking for. Also, it’s a great reflection on the supervisors and lecturers. It’s the staffs hard work and commitment to the students that has bought them to this level.” - Donal Collins, R & D Manager McHale

Medtronic Representative
“It was very interesting to see the excellent work put into the posters and hear from the students themselves. I was very impressed with the winning projects and the amount of work, thought, structure, and engineering practice that had been put into them.” - Brian Dowling, Project Engineer Medtronic

For more information on programmes in the GMIT Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, see: