Monday, November 24, 2014

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What's the PneuDrive Challenge About?


The aim of the PneuDrive Challenge, a competition which was set up in 2008, is to give the best mechanical, electronic and mechatronic engineering students a chance to use their talent to bring together engineering theory, the latest technology in drive engineering, pneumatics and business reality.

By creating a competition environment that requires proposing, designing and assembling innovative engineering ideas, students are given an opportunity to experience a wide range of problems and project issues that they would typically need to solve in the real world. The practical experience of analysing, debating, designing and assembling an innovative engineering idea, gives participating students business and engineering experience that goes way beyond typical lecture room experiences.

The sponsors of the 2014 competition, SEW-EURODRIVE and Pneumax recognise the importance of business in partnering with higher education institutions to help address the enormous pressures that they are under to prepare skilled engineering students for the labour market.

Need more information? 

If you are a student, lecturer or university that wants to enquire about entering the competition, click here to send us an email for more information.

Click here to download the competition profile.

What's Up For Grabs?

The prize for 2014 is an all expenses paid trip for four students to the Head Offices of SEW Eurodrive in Germany, and Pneumax in Italy.

The "winning university" also has an opportunity to order R 100,000 worth of SEW-EURODRIVE and Pneumax equipment.

Universities who submit final entries qualify for R 40,000 worth of free SEW-EURODRIVE and Pneumax equipment for their universities.

Follow us on Social Networks


Join the competition's Facebook Group to connect with people who are interested in the PneuDrive Challenge and engineering competitions in general.

Follow the competition's LinkedIn company page to stay in touch with competition updates and news. You'll also be able to make contact with business people who support and endorse the learning and business objectives of the competition.

Each year competitors load interesting project videos to the PneuDrive Challenge YouTube channel. Product information is also made availablewhen appropriate. 

Competition Guidelines


The competition closes at 17:00 on 13th October 2014.
Electronic copies of the project are preferred and can be handed in at any SEW-EURODRIVE or Pneumax branch office.
Refer to the website for specific branch, address and contact details.

Judging will take place on 6th and 7th November 2014.
Winners will be announced by 7th November 2014.

Access the PneuDrive Challenge 2014 Rules and Guidelines document to review the framework and criteria for this year's competition.

There are some fundamental guidelines laid out in the Rules document, for example:

  • Show how SEW-EURODRIVE and Pneumax products can be used in your application.
  • The application that is designed must be one which creates business interest and shows the accuracy of the sponsor’s products.
  • Show an awareness of how Fieldbus Communications and Remote SCADA communication can be used to manage and monitor the application.
  • Consider how the remote management of data can be used to monitor and manage the application.
  • Consider energy efficiency in the design. Include an energy efficiency calculation in your project.
  • Show how your design does not influence the process and production flow.
  • Include product life cycle calculations.
  • Safety and tolerance issues.
  • Your design must show how the application can be accessed and managed remotely.

Media Information and Press Releases


An important element of the experiential learning opportunity that is created by the PneuDrive Challenge is that it also introduces to students the value of generating press and media information about their designs and efforts. This in turn helps students create an online presence for themselves which will be valuable when they finally graduate and start the business end of their careers.

Use the link below to view the types of press information pieces that are published about the competition and the students that may have taken part:

Click here for a summary of press information relating to the competition.

Recent News

Recent News and Updates

Use the content and links below to keep up to date with recent news relating to the competition:

November 2014 - Competition videos uploaded to YouTube Channel.

Click here to view some vidoes from the Stellenbosch and NMMU teams that have been uploaded to the PnueDrive Challenge YouTube channel. Cool and inetresting stuff.


07 November - Winners Announced

Results for the 2014 competition are in:
1st: Stellenbosch University – Movipal
2nd: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University - TetraStack
3rd: WITS University – The Out-The-Box-Palletiser
NMMU - TetraStack were also awarded the Innovation prize.

Some excellent feedback from the judges will be posted to the website next week.
A big thanks to all the judges who gave of their time, your belief in, and commitment to this initiative is really appreciated. Our judging panel for 2014:

Piergiorgio Bertoldi (MD Industrial Electronic Services)
John Menasce (HATCH Lead Engineer)
Norman Maleka (SEW Eurodrive Electronics Manager)
Russell Gill (SAFPA Council Member)
Brandon Skinner (E&I Engineer from DRA Mining)
Heathcliff Barnard - (Pneumax)
Andre Badenhorst - (SAR ELECTRONIC SA)
Theuns Greyvenstein (Ombudsman - Maxolution Application Engineer, SEW-EURODRIVE )

17 Oct 2014 - Entries are in for the 2014 competition.

Six entries were finally selected and submitted by competing universities:
1. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University – TetraStack
2. Stellenbosch University - MOVIPAL
3. Tshwane University of Technology – Active Loop Conveyor
4. Tshwane University of Technology – Gravity Warehousing
5. WITS University 1 – Out-The-Box Palletiser
6. WITS University 2 – Integrated Storage and Retrieval Conveyor System

Click here to access Technical and Design Summaries.

Judging takes place 6th and 7th November.


Oct 2014 - Engaging with Young Engineering Talent

Article published in CEO - Celebrating Excellence in Organisations - When the PneuDrive Challenge was initiated in 2008, no one envisaged that, in less than a decade, it would scale great heights and produce formidable high-end engineers such as Theuns Greyvenstein, the 2009 winner of the Challenge. The Challenge has since established itself as one of the leading competitions for mechatronic students in South Africa.

Sep 2014 - SA engineering students exploring greener logistics

Article published in Electricity and Control - System integration is often not realised at unviersity level., and in order for South Africa to offer competitive and sustainable logistics services to the world, progressive learning opportunities for young professionals are vital. 

Sep 2014 - Engineering design competition introduces students to mechatronics

Article published in Vector - Launched in 2008, the PneuDrive Challenge aims to uplift the South African engineering industry and to enhance the standard of graduate engineers.

Aug 2014 - Eight years of excellence

Article published online by SA Instrumentation - The PneuDrive team starts each year with a series of roadshows to each university, where the principles of the challenge are explained, products are demonstrated and students are invited to participate and submit a design report. In essence students need to show in their report an outline of their idea, explain what the machine will do on a practical engineering level and calculate a basic budget.

Aug 2014 - 8 Years of Excellence

Article published in print and online - Motion Control - Motion Control spoke to some members of the PneuDrive team to find out how things are going. This year’s theme is Greener Warehousing Logistics. Sponsors SEW-Eurodrive and Pneumax have changed the rules slightly so that each university can now have three submissions. Four of the universities have made the PneuDrive Challenge part of their curriculum.

July 2014 - Young engineers re-thinking greener logistics

The South African logistics industry is becoming increasingly aware of the need for greener supply chains, and who and what technology can be accessed to not only increase demands on the environment, but also possibly influence the total cost of ownership.

Click here to read the full article.

Media Partners and Endorsements


A range of media partners appreciate the value of publishing regular updates and newsflashes regarding competing universities and the designs they are working on.

South African Institite of Electrical Engineers

SAIEE have endorsed the PneuDrive Challenge.

South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering

SAIMechE have endorsed the PneuDrive Challenge.

The South African Fluid Power Association

The latest industry association to come on board with endorsing the competition.

The 2014 PneuDrive Challenge winners are:


Stellenbosch Wins Green Warehousing Logistics Challenge

After two intensive days of judging and deliberation the panel, made up of a range of local engineering experts, concluded and agreed that the "MOVIPAL" from Stellenbosch University was the winning design entry.












1st Place – Stellenbosch University – MOVIPAL

This year’s competition, which had as its theme – Green Warehousing Logistics – called on students to analyse and then design a solution for a specific operational problem in one of the following areas of a warehouse: Retrieval, Conveying, Placement, Packing, Palletising and Loading.

Students Landolf Theron, Herman Nieuwoudt, Jos Van der Westhuizen and Stefan Nel proposed a mobile palletising solution. Their design addresses the problems associated with two warehouse operations, namely palletizing and local transport, and combines the functionality of a gantry style palletiser and a forklift, providing a mobile palletizing solution. The target of the MOVIPAL is small to medium sized warehouses in the production and logistics industries.

Stellenbosch University's winning team:

Jos van der Westhuizen, Herman Nieuwoudt, Landolf Theron and Stefan Nel.

2nd Place – Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University - TetraStack

TetraStack™, an Ultra High Throughput Warehouse Defragmentation System designed by Adriane Bestic, Shuldham Peard, Ashley Naude and Christopher Sephton was an idea based on the popular Tetris game. Their design mirrors the sorting action of the game by continuously rearranging crates within a racking matrix so as to consume the least amount of space, as low down in the matrix as possible.

3rd Place – WITS University – The Out-The-Box-Palletiser

Students Gareth Krisch, Adam Bartels and Eitan Kassuto presented a design that could be a solution to manual labour palletising problem by proposing a stand-alone, mobile and flexible palletising device. Their design could provide warehouses which mainly make use of manual loading with an alternative application that could reduce running costs, increase productivity, improve worker safety and has the potential to be flexible enough to fit in with most line palletising operations.

Copyright 2014 SEW-EURODRIVE