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Friday, 18 June 2021

Industrial Engineering Department launches design challenge

TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE: The Engineers Without Borders South Africa People Design Challenge brief for this year's challenge has been made available to CPUT and students can sign in and get more information. TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE: The Engineers Without Borders South Africa People Design Challenge brief for this year's challenge has been made available to CPUT and students can sign in and get more information.

Engineers Without Borders South Africa (EWBSA) Engineering for People Design Challenge coordinator, Robyn Clark launched the CPUT leg of the design challenge on Microsoft Teams recently.

Over 7 000 students worldwide took part in the Engineering for People Design Challenge 2019/20, of which 2 200 were from South Africa. The design brief for this year's challenge has been made available to CPUT and students can sign in and get more information. The students from the participating universities are given the same design problem based on a certain community identified by the EWB. The communities which were chosen this year are real issues in Lobitos and Piedritas, two neighbouring communities on the northern coast of Peru. Students can also interact with students from other universities taking part in the challenge from the design challenge website made available to CPUT. The design challenge is open to all engineering students. Multi-disciplinary teams with students from different engineering departments are encouraged as it enables the students to share the different skills they have acquired from their engineering disciplines in tackling the problem faced by the two communities used as a case study. At the moment there are 12 teams from the Department of Industrial Engineering that are participating in the design challenge.

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Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Lecturer and the CPUT  competition coordinator,  Lungile Nyanga said: “I would want to encourage all the engineering students to participate in the competition as it enables them to take their engineering lessons out of class and implement their knowledge in the real world. Engineers are there to solve problems, the design challenge provides a platform for the students to be conscious about their role in society, learn and practice their problem-solving skills in the real world. From the testimonies of students who participated in the competition last year, they came out as better problem solvers than they were before. They also learned new engineering techniques that are not taught by their lecturers in class.”

The Engineering for People Design Challenge is split into two parts: Participation and the Grand Finals Five top-performing teams will be selected from CPUT to participate in the participation stage where they submit their designs for review from an international team of external reviewers. The top teams identified in the participation stage are entered into the grand finals where they are invited to submit their work for review. The overall outstanding groups (between 5-10 groups) identified in this stage will be invited into the judging round, where they present their work on a video call, and a panel of judges selects the best work from these presentations. Thereafter, at the Grand Finals event, all the top teams from around the country come together, to celebrate their achievements and determine a winner of the Engineering for People Design Challenge. There are prizes that are given to the winner and the runner-up of the competition.

In the 2020 design challenge, CPUT went in the competition as underdogs without anyone expecting what the teams achieved as they battled out with teams from some of the top universities in South Africa. The most remarkable was the grand final where the Terminators battled out with teams from Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria and they claimed the second spot.  

“This year Team CPUT will be a team to beat in the challenge. The teams are gathering momentum in the competition as they are busy with identifying their designs for the solutions to the problem the Peru communities are facing. Using lessons learned from the competition last year and the guidance from last year participators of the competition Team CPUT will emerge stronger and better than last year,” said Nyanga.

Those interested in taking part in the competition can contact Mr B Sarema on saremab@cput.ac.za or Mr L Kakaza on kakazal@cput.ac.za

Written by Aphiwe Boyce