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Caterpillars Morph into Butterflies!

Four Year 12 students impress Caterpillar with their engineering ingenuity…

Four year 12 outstanding physics students were selected by Caterpillar Desford (Leicestershire) to represent them in a National Engineering Scheme earlier this year.  

Students had to detail reasons why they wanted to take part in the project and summarise their enrichment activities in support of their application.

Ammaarah Hassim, Max Mann, Luke Billington and Rebecca McGrother started their journey at Snibston Discovery Centre in October 2014 whereby they met the Professional Engineers who would become their mentors and coaches. Students participated in a range of team building exercises and Caterpillar gave students their brief:

Students were faced with the challenge of increasing the lifting load of a compact wheel loader.   The machine had the ability to lift arbitrary weight when straight, however, when fully articulated it could lift significantly less. Their aim was to reduce the gap between straight and full turn tipping load. Students had to design, develop and implement an engineering concept to solve Caterpillar’s problem.

Students experienced a day at Caterpillar Leicestershire and were taken on a tour of the plant. Here they had further opportunities to discuss their ideas and problem solve. Students built, tested and calibrated their prototype model at The University of Loughborough whilst on a three day residential where they received on-going weekly support from Professional Mechanical and Mathematical engineers after school.

Their engineering ingenuity proved to be successful as students achieved a 9% increase in weight lifted (equivalent to an extra half ton). Students really impressed Caterpillar and Mike Stallings the Product Introduction Program Manager for Caterpillar awarded students with the nationally recognised Gold Crest Award, (project work in the STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and an Engineering Education Award.

Rebecca McGrother has been offered work experience with Caterpillar over the summer and a discussion has already taken place regarding a sponsorship for Rebecca if she chooses to study her engineering degree at a local university!


King Edward VII Science and Sport College is an exempt charity and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England with Company Number 8158225 and has a registered office at Warren Hills Road, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 4UW