Four students from Cambridge University have won a commercial manufacturing award as part of the Manufacturing Engineering Trips programme, run by the university’s Institute for Manufacturing.
The ‘Shearline Manufacturability Award’ was presented by the manufacturing organisation Shearline to a group of students who, as part of their design project, created a redesign of the precision pipette, one of the most commonly used laboratory instruments, to address ease of use and ergonomic issues.
While current laboratory pipettes satisfy the need for precision and reliability, their design falls short in terms of ease of use. They are entirely thumb-operated and are known to cause cases of repetitive strain injury.
The students successfully designed a comfortable, easy to use pipette, the ‘Ergopip’, which distributes workload to the user’s fingers and is just as precise and reliable as existing versions.
‘In terms of manufacturing production, the ‘Ergopip’ project has real and immediate market potential. The fully working prototypes and detailed drawings for all of the system’s components were very impressive and could quickly be worked on and made ready for full scale manufacture,’ said David Lonsdale, Shearline’s sales and marketing manager.
The ‘Ergopip’, along with eight other design prototypes, went on display at the Institute for Manufacturing’s Design Show in June.
The annual showcase, sponsored this year by Shearline, was a chance for the best undergraduate manufacturing engineers to show off their ideas to local inventors, industrialists and designers looking to spot the next big thing.