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December 19, 2014 9:42 AM

Conestoga project takes top prize at Applied Research Showcase

An automated thermal management system developed by students in Conestoga’s Electronic Systems Engineering (ESE) degree program to support the needs of an industry client was awarded top prize at Polytechnic Canada’s Student Applied Research Showcase held November 14, 2014 at BCIT, the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Richard Cunha and Sudeep Bhurji travelled to Vancouver to present the project they completed with fellow students Langley Hodgson, Marina Mekhail and Yaran Nan under the supervision of faculty members Jack Cole and Jim Smith. Their project was one of eleven entered in the annual showcase event, which demonstrates the success of students, faculty and researchers at Canada’s colleges and polytechnics as they work to provide solutions to real-world challenges.

The Automated Thermal Management System was developed for client Redragon Oil and Gas Systems International Inc. to address one of the larger challenges in the company’s waste oil recycling process. The new technology provides automated monitoring of the existing oil filtration systems to ensure they reach and maintain appropriate temperatures so that contaminated oils are appropriately filtered and the filtration media isn’t damaged by overheating.

The team worked with partner Hyphen Services to develop a prototype of the system using 3D printing. Redragon officials estimate that the new technology could increase per system profits by 20 per cent and reduce customer costs by up to $2.4 million over 20 years.

Cunha, who presented the project on behalf of the team at the Polytechnics Canada event, believes that the value they delivered to the client played a significant role in the result of the national competition.

“Being able to show that what we developed could directly impact sales and profitability showed we were thinking beyond the technical aspects of the project and examining the business case behind it,” Cunha said. “We were able to engineer a solution that not only addressed certain mechanical and electronic constraints, but also met financial targets set by the company and could eventually become a profitable product.”

Judges Bert van den Berg of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Rick Huijbregts of Cisco Canada and Marjorie Co of Westport Innovations served as judges for the competition, which featured student research projects from each of each of Polytechnics Canada’s 11 member institutions.

Second place went to Humber College for Developing 3rd Degree: an Educational Crime Game that will be used to train students in the Police Foundations program. Sheridan received third-place honours for a Family Channel TV Application that creates engagement and addresses the needs of an aging population through the convergence of television and social media.

The 2014 Applied Research Showcase was the ninth annual celebration of student research successes at Polytechnics Canada’s member institutions. Conestoga has been awarded top prize three times.

According to Polytechnics Canada, its 11 member institutions have provided applied research solutions to almost 7,000 companies and organizations since 2007. More than 90 per cent of those companies are small or medium-sized enterprises.

In 2013-14, more than 11,900 students enrolled at the colleges and polytechnics that comprise Polytechnics Canada’s membership were engaged in applied research projects.

For more information, visit Polytechnics Canada

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