SINCE 1988, first and second year mechanical engineering university students from the Asia Pacific region have been putting their problem solving abilities to the test in the annual Warman Design and Build competition. Established by Engineers Australia and sponsored by Weir Minerals, the competition is integrated into the engineering curriculum of Australian universities, helping develop talented engineers of the future.


The finalists of the Warman Design and Build competition, sponsored by Weir Minerals.

The academic competition offers a practical platform for students across the Asia Pacific to put their knowledge to the test and build an autonomous machine that must perform a specific task.

Throughout the year, 18 campuses ran internal heats to determine who would represent their respective university at the finals, and this year a university from China took part for the first time.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary, the task students were set was named ‘Project THIRTY – The Highly Ingenious Recovery and Transportation of Yellowcake’. Students had to design, build and test a ‘proof of concept’ to collect and deliver ore and waste to separate receivable bins.

Weir Minerals Asia Pacific director of Engineering and Product Development Evert Lessing said, “This year’s task was particularly complex because not only did the prototypes have to collect the ore and waste, they had to differentiate between the two and ensure they were separated correctly.”

It was a challenging task and although all participating teams performed well during the heat session, many designs did not complete the task correctly during the final rounds.

The finalists also had the opportunity to tour Weir Minerals Australia’s head office and manufacturing facility in Artarmon, New South Wales. This allowed them to view the design centre and manufacturing operation for the Warman centrifugal slurry pump, and discover more about Weir Minerals’ slurry pumping technology.

In celebration of the anniversary, the National Finals took place at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney on October 14 and 15, 2017. The teams were ranked based upon their design, compliance with the brief and performance of their physical model during the finals.

The winners are:

  • National Finals first place - University of Canterbury.
  • National Finals second place - RMIT University, Melbourne.
  • National Finals third place - University of Adelaide.
  • Weir Judges Award - Monash University Malaysia.
  • NCED Judges Best Design Award - University of Auckland.

Monash University Malaysia was selected for the Weir Judges award because of its potential to be used in the mining industry.


Winners of the competition was a team from the University of Canterbury.

“We analysed the models from an industrial engineering point of view looking for designs that could easily go on to become commercial solutions, searching for a robust device with simplicity of operation for mine sites. Monash University Malaysia’s prototype was compact with tracked wheels, which is an advantage on mining sites. It had a simple and reliable sorting and dispensing mechanism, and we liked the device’s self-tracking and correction when traversing the course,” said Weir Minerals Asia Pacific head of Engineering Projects Jon Waite.

University of Auckland was awarded the best design for their inspiring and simple design, with the potential for development in a real-life application.

“This competition is a fantastic opportunity for engineering students to put their knowledge and skills into practice. Through this viable platform, students gain valuable skills they will utilise in their future careers and make an impression on the industry. We are very proud to have been part of this competition for 30 years and will continue to support, and help shape the engineering innovators of the future,” said Evert Lessing.

Resource Center Whitepapers, Videos, Case Studies

Conferences & Events

No events