< Case studies

Eve Oakley – 2017 JCB Prize for Innovation

About the Case Study

I was in my last year of school when I took part in The Big Bang Competition with my teammates Gregor and Chengyi. We were very proud of our project - to win a prize was the cherry on top of the cake!

Our Project: Multi-Stud Insertion Tool for Nissan

Our project came about when my physics teacher gave us the opportunity to take part in the Engineering Education Scheme. 

Working in partnership with Nissan, we designed a tool that would enable workers on the assembly line to secure all four bolts at once into a wheel instead of doing one at a time. This would only reduce the job by a matter of seconds per wheel but would equate to huge time savings overall.

Our design was simple - complicated does not always mean most effective! We designed an attachment for a drill with a central gear which in turn rotated four orbital gears, allowing four bolts to be attached at once. 

When we presented the design to our mentors at Nissan, they were astonished at how similar it was to their final design. It makes me very proud to think that a similar design has been implemented in Nissan factories around the world!

Why you should get involved

I would recommend getting involved with The Big Bang Competition to anyone and everyone! It was a great learning experience in terms of presenting and answering tough questions about your project - this experience has been invaluable for me.

At The Big Bang Fair, you also get to meet lots of amazing people. I really loved speaking to the other contestants and hearing about what they had been working on. The ceremony itself was so much fun and one of the highlights of The Fair.

My advice for future competitors of The Big Bang Competition

I would say that thorough preparation before The Fair is key for future competitors. We wrote and rehearsed our presentations in advance, and we knew the project inside out. This helped us convey our design ideas clearly and effectively – and prepared us for the challenging questions the judges fired at us! 

I would also recommend putting time into getting the layout of your stall right so that it is attractive and communicates your design well. 

Overall, working hard as a team beforehand made the process much less stressful and more enjoyable on the day! 

How the competition helped me with my engineering journey

Winning the JCB prize was great because the recognition by such a well-known company proved to us that we had come up with something exciting. The prize included a week’s work experience at the JCB Headquarters which was such a valuable experience for all of us - both in terms of university applications and to learn more about working with a large, well-established engineering company. My experience at JCB cemented my desire to work in an environment where big teams of intelligent and creative people are working on real life projects that will impact the real world.

I am now going into my third year at the University of Bristol studying Civil Engineering. We are working on a number of real-life engineering projects - I feel so lucky that this is part of my degree and potential career!

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to be creative! Now that I am studying engineering at university, I can see how taking creative subjects such as Art and Dance alongside my Maths and Physics studies has helped me be successful in my studies.