Engineering the quality of straw

Alistair Chambers from Carlow Town and a student at IT Carlow has won first prize in the Engineers Ireland Level 7 Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Awards 2013, sponsored by Siemens, for designing a ‘Digital in-cab bale moisture meter’ for straw.

The device allows straw moisture and quality to be easily and efficiently assessed at all stages from the field to the end-user.  With the capacity to be fitted to any tractor-mounted or loader-mounted bale handler with removable tines, the device is a simple and cost-effective way of ensuring a quality product for sale in livestock and equine markets or new emerging markets in Green energy.

Siemens Sustainability Manager Liam Mulligan said the 2013 entries again showed students’ ability to develop new ways of thinking that could help the everyday workings of society.  “Innovation is all about tackling the world’s toughest questions.  From health projects that explore improvements in orthopaedics and heart well-being to innovations relating to renewable sources of energy such as wave and wind, this year’s entries once again embody original thinking, technical excellence and hard-work.  The ‘Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Awards’ challenges students to think conceptually and strategically. Engineers will play a vital role in Ireland’s economic revitalisation and Siemens supports this competition as part of our programme to engage and encourage young people to consider careers in engineering.  Congratulations to all of the finalists here today.  I firmly believe the creative and technical skills all these students involved here today are now honing will stand to them hugely in their long careers ahead.”

Director General of Engineers Ireland John Power added: “There is a consensus among business and industry leaders that the innovative skills which engineers possess will be increasingly valuable over the next decade in Ireland. The growing take-up of higher-level maths in the Leaving Certificate is positive recognition amongst our school students of the possibilities a career in engineering can offer.  The Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Awards are designed to further encourage and reward the young ingenuity that is the hallmark of our engineering third-level students across Ireland.”

Pictured: Alistair Chambers (centre) are Margie McCarthy, membership director of Engineers Ireland and Liam Mulligan, of Siemens sustainability manager/Maxwells