Students design and develop a smart sensor for Sony UK Technology Centre
Sony commissioned a team of students from Cynffig Comprehensive to consider the opportunities around collecting and interpreting ‘Big Data’.
The project was part of the Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) sixth-form activity. A team of four 16 and 17 year-old students were selected to work with Sony UK Technology Centre, Pencoed.
The team was led by Richard Daniel, teacher at Cynffig Comprehensive and supported by Jessica Leigh Jones, an engineer at Sony.
The students first met with Jessica in September 2016. They were told about Industry 4.0 and how automation and data exchange can be used to create a ‘smart factory’.
Data can be used to predict machine failure and optimise processes. Jessica asked the students to consider how they might create a smart sensor which could record environmental data in and around the Raspberry Pi manufacturing line in Sony, Pencoed.
The students were then given the opportunity to visit the factory and see firsthand the Raspberry Pi being manufactured.
Jessica was keen to draw the students’ attention to a particular part of the process, the solder bath, which is the source of a considerable amount of process variability.
The team was set a strict budget and provided with a Raspberry Pi.
After conducting some initial research, the students decided to utilise a Raspberry Pi Sense Hat to record a range of environmental data from the solder bath.
They were able to refine their prototype with the support of Swansea University, during a three-day EESW practical workshop held earlier this year.
The team presented its findings to Sony and prepared a project report in preparation for the Big Bang Fair at the Liberty Stadium in April.
After a gruelling round of judging by the assessors, the Cynffig Comprehensive team was delighted to win a place in the National Big Bang final.
The team enjoyed taking part in the project with Sony and is looking forward to competing at the national Big Bang.
One of the students summed up their experience: “The team really appreciated the opportunity to take part in this challenge with Sony. We all really got a taste of what it would be like to pursue a STEM career in the future.”
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, talks to the team from Cynffig Comprehensive