Source: University of Canterbury
12 March 2021
A final year engineering project on the automation of vegetable handling equipment has kick-started the career of a UC graduate, as well as the development of a new innovation for a locally-based global manufacturer.
Mitch Hollows recently graduated with Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechatronics Engineering, a field of study that is an intersection of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering, and combines sensors, software, and motors to create innovative new devices.
For his final year project, Hollows joined a team of four tasked with how to automate vegetable detection and processing for Wyma Solutions, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of post-harvest vegetable and fruit handling equipment.
“The course of study at UC really appealed due to its practical nature and strong focus on applied projects,” says Hollows. “One of the highlights of my study was my final year project where I was able to apply my skills and knowledge to a real world challenge, which was hugely rewarding.
“Automation will become even more integrated into the future of work and society, so I am really excited to be getting into this field.”
The project has led to Wyma Solutions employing Hollows fulltime in the research and development team, where he will be involved in the project’s next stage of development.
Wyma Solutions Design Manager Reuben Miller is also a former graduate of the course, so knows first-hand the benefits to both students and industry of the final year projects.
“These projects enable industry to see how the students work and apply themselves in an industry setting, and for the students to gain valuable experience to help launch their careers. For us, this automation project is one that we have been wanting to kick-start for some time but struggled to due to our more pressing need to focus on production. So we have been thrilled with how the project has progressed and through it to have hired an extremely committed and capable new member of the team,” Miller says.
“We believe strongly in hiring UC graduates as they bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to the team, as well as the technical skills and ability, and a desire to keep learning.”