Challenging Europe’s Finest Engineering Students at EBEC

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Working in a large enterprise means learning to work in a team with different people, with very different ideas, notes Jose Esteves, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP) professor and a Jury Member at this year’s European BEST Engineering Competition (EBEC).

It’s a key asset for organizations like Dell, and one reason we jumped at the chance to help sponsor EBEC 2015 last month.

Team Design students at  European BEST Engineering Competition (EBEC) work in 3D CAD on Dell workstations and monitors

EBEC is a competition run across 88 of Europe’s leading engineering universities. They’re split into 15 regions and each region sends their winner to a European final, this year it was held in FEUP’s town of Porto, Portugual.

It was not only a good opportunity for us to scout some of Europe’s top future engineers, but also a good opportunity for them to meet people from the participating companies.

“I don’t have a very clear view sometimes of what I want to do in the future because I’m still studying,” said Adam Brooking, a student participating from Brussels, Belgium. So he appreciated the opportunity to try his skills in a real-world challenge.

Student competitors build their designs at  European BEST Engineering Competition (EBEC) 2015

“As part of our sponsorship we suggested to the team of students organising EBEC that they include for the first time computer-aided design (CAD) as part of their team design challenge,” said Ralf Pearson, marketing manager at Dell “So this year they had to take a brief, come up with a solution, design it in SOLIDWORKS on Dell Precision workstations, create a prototype and then present it all to a panel of judges – in just TWO days. And they had to do this twice in a week!”

The two challenges were:

  • Create a drill design and working prototype that can drill a path through four different layers of materials to reach an oil pool (represented by water in the test) and then extract the liquid with a pump.
  • Build a full-sized vehicle from a range of materials provided (including Styrofoam, PET bottles and wooden bars) that can carry a passenger along a 50 meter track.

“The hardest part was to organize the time, I think,” said competitor Konstantinos Tsioumanis of Athens, Greece. “It was really little time for this task to be complete.”

Student competitors at  European BEST Engineering Competition (EBEC) demonstrate their designs

It would have been a challenge for our own design teams who have decades of experience, and Pearson says he was apprehensive of what the engineering students would be able to achieve.

“But the students did an amazing job,” Pearson said. ”Each team completed the challenges set and each came up with their own unique solution to the problem demonstrating a huge variety of innovation.”

This year’s winning Team Design challenge winner was Team Benelux, made up of students from Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen. They each received new Precision M3800 mobile workstations and we look forward to what they will be able to do with them.

As Felipe Alfonso Vieira, the main organizer of EBEC said at the event’s opening:

“The knowledge is not useful if it’s not shared.”

And we’ve got more from the event to share with you on Storify – in both English and French!

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