A group of first year Engineering students have won a £3,000 prize fund for their design of a new high security lock for commercial vehicles.

The Slam Lock Project saw students take part in a competition run by the University in partnership with the charity Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF), aimed to support design and analysis skills within an industry setting.

Students were challenged to provide an effective solution to a real-world engineering problem by designing a high security lock for commercial vehicles to help deter theft and make van contents more secure. The new lock needed to fit for both sliding and rear hinged slam doors that come with various models of commercial vehicles. The moving parts of the locks were also required to integrate with the standard euro lock module and not have breakable or penetrable options for the thieves.

The project was incorporated into the students’ Introduction to Engineering Design module as a CDIO (conceive, design, implement and operate) project, facilitating an effective collaboration between the School of Engineering, Technology and Design and an industrial partner.

Having the opportunity to work on real industrial problems and solutions has been truly helpful in advancing my thought processes. Analysing current markets products and presenting ideas to real clients has been hugely beneficial in both research, teamwork and learning a structured approach to product design.

Robert, First year Product Design Engineering student

Canterbury Christ Church University is only a handful of universities in the UK to offer the pioneering CDIO international engineering education model which was developed by the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in collaboration with business. It takes a problem-based, creative approach to addressing real world issues, enabling students to work together and apply their theoretical knowledge in practice to develop novel engineering products.

Dr Salman Saeidlou, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical/Material Engineering, said: “Our Engineering students really embraced this competition and produced some fantastic results.

“We are delighted to have partnered with EIBF for this competition, acknowledging the significance of industry collaboration in developing professional skills for our engineering graduates.

“At Canterbury Christ Church University we aim to offer our Engineering students an education experience that provides them with sufficient proficiencies and capabilities to succeed in their future careers. Our goal is to ensure our alumni are recognised for their exceptional contribution to society and relevant industry sector.”

“The Slam Lock CDIO Project helped prepare me for the realities of working within a team on a project with a deadline. Now I understand the necessity of good organization and planning for the project to be completed efficiently and meet a deadline. It gave me the opportunity and confidence to listen to my initiative and be the leader of a team which will make me valuable to employers. The CDIO project has also given me the confidence to understand and operate machinery, build upon my practical skills by designing prototypes on 3D modelling programs, test material abilities, and build upon my theory knowledge by applying it within real-life scenarios.

Larissa, First year Biomedical Engineering student
Prize winning Engineering students; Harry Solly, Joe Shepperson, Adam Bayliss-Field, Ope Olaleye (not present)
Group 4 prizewinning students; Harry Solly, Joe Shepperson, Adam Bayliss-Field and Ope Olaleye (not present)

The £3,000 fund was awarded to the winning group, Harry Solly, Joe Shepperson, Adam Bayliss-Field and Ope Olaleye, who designed a set of moving lock parts with a re-imagined slide bolt component which was counter sprung and re-designed to be significantly stronger than existing products. The prize was awarded based on the following criteria:

  • simplicity of the internal mechanism ( i.e. few moving parts less likely to fail)
  • strength (parts are solid - no thin and potentially weak areas are demonstrated)
  • easy to manufacture
  • direction the mechanical works means there is no easy way to drill and attack lock
  • addressed the aesthetics for housing as requested by the industrial partner (does require some improvement to make less bulky)

The Slam lock Project was a great introduction to CDIO projects at university. It allowed us to practice and understand the process of creating a product from a brief. The product was a relatively simple piece, though the nature of the product meant that there were many possible approaches to a locking mechanism. This allowed us to see the strengths of our peers in respect to designing and presenting their ideas, which were quite varied in their mechanical principle to form a lock.

Adam, First year Product Design Engineering student

The winners will also be able to participate in the Champion of Champion annual final competition hosted by the EIBF to compete for a £15,000 prize pot and other prizes.