21st March 2016
Congratulations to Engineering apprentice and A Level Engineering student Calum Finn on winning the Marks & Spencer Award for Innovation at the national Big Bang final at the NEC, Birmingham. Calum won the special award at the national science and engineering competition for his Gas Sensing Prototype Vehicle, out of over 200 competitors.
Calum, aged 19 and formerly of Barlby High School, developed his first prototype vehicle to move around environments sensing for gas leaks and build-ups. In the first instance he sensed for CO2, and his intention was to look at other applications such as carbon monoxide. As well as sensing for gas, the original vehicle senses its environment too, to ensure it doesn’t bump into any objects or walls. On sensing gas it sets off an alarm. Having spent part of his apprenticeship in the Polo factory at Nestle UK, Calum could see a further application to sense confectionery dust build-up from the process of manufacturing polo mints. He then developed a second prototype vehicle which senses dust particles. His second vehicle prototype can move around a manufacturing environment and when sensing a dust build-up can send a wireless signal to switch on a fan or to set off an alarm.
Marks & Spencer’s refrigeration specialists were very impressed with the device and could see an immediate application for the gas sensing vehicle in their plant, sensing leaks of refrigeration gases, and they are keen to support Calum with further development of his device in the future.
Calum said: “When it was announced that I had won the Innovation Award at the awards ceremony I was really amazed. The judges from Marks & Spencer were excited about my project – they saw its relevance in industry, particularly to address problems they have with refrigeration gas leaks. I really enjoyed demonstrating my project to hundreds of young people visiting the exhibition, and to the judges. It was great to see my work inspiring others.”
Having studied AS Levels at York College Calum transferred to the Engineering Apprenticeship with Nestlé, whilst continuing to study A Level Engineering at College. His winning Gas Sensing Prototype Vehicle project was originally his A Level Engineering coursework, for which he achieved an A* grade. He is now in the second year of his Advanced Apprenticeship with Nestlé UK and continues to study the BTEC Diploma in Electrical Electronic Engineering course at York College.