Young science enthusiasts from schools across Northern Ireland recently attended the ‘Sentinus Big Bang’ exhibition at the Braid Centre in Ballymena to showcase their solutions for real world business problems, developed in partnership with a range of local businesses.
Bangor based company Whale, who supply the marine, caravan/motorhome, shower drainage and industrial markets, teamed up with Bloomfield Collegiate Grammar, to work on a state-of-the-art clothes drying project for caravans.
Jim Sargent, Technical Services Manager at Whale, who has been working closely with the team from Bloomfield says, “The problem we gave to the group was to create a clothes drying system for caravan users that had to be able to work in the limited space they have available as well as being able to connect to the caravans central heating system using Whale’s heating connection. As Caravan owners enjoy outside activities but can’t always depend on the weather, especially here in Northern Ireland, this is a much sought after product. The pupils were invited into Whale on a number of occasions to work with our specialists who gave their input and advice to help the team get to their final solution.”
The team’s conclusion to this problem was to create a foldable drying rack with changeable sizes to allow it to easily be folded away and stored. The rail would be made of plastic and would be covered with a bag to keep the heat in and dry the clothes. They strategically placed the product in the shower of the caravan so that all the water from the clothes doesn’t leak into the caravan but instead is collected in the basin of the shower. They also chose this location as it is out of the way and uses the space in the caravan more effectively, to create more space to do other things.
Sentinus is an educational charity working with schools and colleges across Northern Ireland to deliver programmes that promote engagement in STEM and currently support the development of over 60,000 young people a year by enhancing their life skills.
On the day projects were presented to and assessed by a panel of industry experts, with the science fair acting as a warm up to the ‘Young Innovators’ event in June and helping to promote interest and engagement in STEM subjects.
The event, supported by the Department of Education and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council was part of the UK wide ‘Big Bang Near Me’ programme – the largest celebration of STEM for young people in the UK. With events taking place throughout the UK, the aim is to celebrate the world of science and show young people just how exciting a career in STEM can be.