15 February 2017

Celebrating Ara’s BEngTech students

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Canterbury’s Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech) students were in the spotlight at the end of 2016 at the Ara Engineering Awards. Industry representatives and Ara academic staff gathered to celebrate outstanding final-year projects, with awards given for the best project in each specialisation of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering.

The project component is a key element of a BEngTech qualification. Students identify industry-based problems, define criteria for a solution, brainstorm alternatives and then validate their solutions, often by creating a prototype. Each year-long project requires a minimum time commitment of 400 hours, although some students put in 1,200–1,500 hours.

IPENZ student member Kha Pham Nguyen received Best Degree Project 2016 – Civil Engineering for his project, Structural Modification of Special End Stud Fixing Bracket. The project was started the previous year and involved testing fixing brackets for residential timber houses designed by engineering consultants Eliot Sinclair in Christchurch. Kha picked up the project, completing further investigations into the strength and performance of the fixings in wind and earthquake. “We generated some interesting results on performance and design,” says Kha.

Kha completes his BEngTech in July and is working for Beca in Christchurch, developing his engineering knowledge base in the company’s infrastructure section. He says the Awards Showcase was a great opportunity to see his peers’ projects. “Everyone has their heads down, working on their projects during the year. It was really good to see what everyone had been working on and how proud they were of what they’d achieved,” he says.

IPENZ student member and electrical engineering student Sam Herron’s project was called Networked Wireless Sensor System for Building Environments. The project is a wireless environment monitoring network that uses a Zigbee mesh network to send the data to the PC where the data is logged. The sensors measure the battery voltage, temperature, relative humidity and light from where the sensor is placed. Using the Zigbee mesh network means sensors can be placed over a large area and dynamically reroute the data if one of the routers breaks. This self-healing ability allows the network to stay up without complete loss connectivity of the network. Each of the sensors are battery operated, meaning they can be placed in many locations without the need to running cables for power.

Sam says “The showcase was a great opportunity to meet people from industry and get feedback about my project. It was also great to see other student’s projects from other disciplines that I wouldn’t normally be aware of. After my studies, I hope to apply the skills and knowledge I have learnt while I have been at Ara.” 

Find out more about the projects

Photo: IPENZ student member Kha Pham Nguyen at the Ara Engineering Awards. Image supplied by Ara.