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Students design military digger

Posted 14 September 2011

The skills students develop through running this type of industry sourced project are one of the reasons why Harper Adams engineering graduates are so employable.

The final concept

Engineering students at Harper Adams University College have designed a digger attachment suitable for use in adverse military conditions.

The proposal was created as part of their final year group project assignment, where they were asked to produce a ‘future military backhoe concept’ for construction manufacturers, Terex.

With possible cuts to the UK defence budget, there is an increase in demand for multi-functional vehicles that can perform a wide variety of tasks, whilst providing adequate protection for the operator.

The five students met the brief by designing an attachment that will fit the current patrol vehicle of choice, the Coyote, and produce the same results as it nearest competitor at a fraction of the cost.

22-year-old off road vehicle design student, Leo Biggs, from Isle-of-Wight, said: “After conducting market research, we devised two concepts – a modular self-contained backhoe unit which could be used on various military vehicles, and secondly, a new remotely operated vehicle that would eliminate the risk of troops conducting construction in high risk areas.

“We chose the first option due to requirements of the MOD to cut costs, as well as many other advantages such as it being modular for any flat-bed vehicle and it being air portable.”

As well as Leo, the team consisted of Jonny Bruce, Craig Peddie, Philip Walker and Wilton Goligher. 100 hours was allocated to completing the work, with one member nominated as group leader.

Leo, who is hoping to begin a PhD in forestry engineering, added: “It was a challenging assignment, especially as the original specifications from the customer were quite vague and gave us many avenues to go down.

“However, it was rewarding to develop two concepts that the customer was satisfied with and it helped to have a good team who worked together to complete it all."

Lecturer in off road vehicle design, Dr Ianto Guy, said: “This project is a great example of the applied, problem based learning that is such a big part of the engineering courses at Harper Adams.

“The skills students develop through running this type of industry sourced project are one of the reasons why Harper Adams engineering graduates are so employable.”

Leo and Jonny both spent their placement year at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), with Jonny recently being taken on in a graduate role.

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