Future engineers shined in Sirius

Published: 13 January 2014

A circulation cooling system for milk or a 3D-camera that can detect obstacles in site preparation. That was two of the products developed by students at Sirius, the final project course at the Master Programme in Mechanical Engineering.

A pyrotechnic intro started off the presentations of Sirius 2013, where engineering students had worked with innovative product concepts developed on behalf of companies. To work through the entire product development process, from concept to finished product, was something the students thought was very rewarding.

Wedholms, a producer of milk coolers, wanted help to develop a cooling tank with large capacity. The solution was a circulation cooling system that is inexpensive to manufacture and which can handle large amounts of milk.

– To cool 15,000 liters at the same time requires a giant fridge, so our solution is a circulation cooler where it cools a liter at a time, and then on it goes. Exactly how we designed the fridge is confidential, and currently Wedholms is working with prototypes for mass production, says Rasmus Nordström, student at the Master Programme in Mechanical Engineering. 

In another project the Swedish University of Agriculture and the Swedish Forestry Research Institute wanted a technique to automatically find obstacles in site preparation.

– We have used a 3D-camera that is already on the market but we found a new application for it. Our tests in the field have shown good results, and nearly all the obstacles like stumps and rocks could be found. The benefit of the product is to get better planting spots for better growth of the forest and less impact on the soil when you do not have to dig as much. The problem with detection is thus solved and what remains is being able to communicate the information to the ground preparation vehicle so that it can steer clear of obstacles, says Staffan Björklund, student at the Master Programme in Mechanical Engineering. 

Also the companies Sandvik Coromant and Volvo CE had received help from LTU's engineering students. The group that worked for Volvo CE had succeeded so well that the solution led to a patent application. Their work focused on improving the accessibility of a Volvo dump truck and the company became mightily impressed by LTU students' suggestions for improved wheel movement, providing reduced wear and increased traction.