Student impresses London Underground with engineering skills

UTC Oxfordshire student James Lambeth recently completed a work experience placement with London Underground.

James worked with London Underground for a week in total, spending james-lambeth-1
different days with different teams and departments. Two of these days were spent with the Asset and Operational Support Engineering Rolling Stock Team, looking at the operation of a Bakerloo Line Door Interlock Mercury Switch and the corresponding mechanical assembly.

The purpose of the switch is to provide a signal that the doors are closed before the train is permitted to move. The existing mercury switch is no longer available and a “snap-action” electrical switch has been selected as a replacement, but modifications to the mechanical assembly are required before it can be fitted.

james-lambeth-2During his placement, James was tasked with producing a 3D model of the mechanical assembly and electrical switch using SolidWorks. The feedback on James’ work was that he “demonstrated a high level of competence using the software and worked autonomously to produce the model.” James then investigated methods of actuating the switch using a cam fixed to the rotating portion of the mechanical assembly. He presented a number of design ideas to the principal engineer before making a decision on the most suitable design to progress.

The cam design proposed by James was effective in allowing the mechanical assembly to “make” and “break” the switch when activated by an opening and closing door. He presented his solution to engineers within the team who gave feedback in order to develop the design. They were impressed with his clear understanding of the problem and his ability in developing a solution to meet the design requirements; his approach exceeded the level expected from a Year 11 student.

Transport for London employer Nick Povell commented on James’ time with the department: “James demonstrated a thorough understanding of the problem and a clear aptitude for undertaking CAD activities. The work completed by James is of real benefit to the team and is being developed further by an engineer.

“The design is estimated to be finalised by January 2017 before a prototype will undergo endurance testing. We would welcome James back for future placements if he wishes to learn more about the engineering activities undertaken at London Underground.”

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