Students on an engineering skills course have designed and fabricated a solution to improve safety at the Australian Maritime College

​CO2 cylinders for fighting fire are located at AMC’s Survival Centre and on its training vessels

May 31, 2017

CO2 cylinders for fighting fire are located at AMC’s Survival Centre and on its training vessels. But on rare occasions when they are being moved to be refilled, faulty valves can cause the cylinders to become projectile.

Three students on a basic engineering skills course as part of AMC Search’s Pacific Patrol Boat — Ashtin Renguul, Petelu Fiafiaga and Michael Peter — were tasked with finding a solution to secure the cylinders in an upright position.

Course tutor Brendan Groves explained that the key to the project’s success was addressing a real-world problem.

“Rather than practicing skills like welding and throwing the test pieces out, we get students to create something that we need here at the College.

“We don’t tell them what to fabricate; we present them with a problem that needs solving. It’s amazing how they get into it, and they’re really proud when they see the result being used.”

Together with Technical Officer, Phillip Ellmers, Brendan helped select the final design — a cage for the CO2 cylinders — which was fabricated by Ashtin, Petelu and Michael in AMC’s workshop.

Their solution secures the cylinder in an upright position in a frame, which is lifted in to a cage. The cage door can be closed and secured, making it safe to move for refilling.

The three budding engineers explained that the project’s real-world application made the project so rewarding.

“I enjoyed everything about the project. We gained new knowledge and the stuff we learnt is actually being used,” Michael said.

“Knowing that the cage we built is useful made the project enjoyable,” Ashtin added, “It really makes a difference.”

Although the efforts were all their own, they all praised their teachers for the successful outcome.

“Phil and Brendan taught us so well,” Michael said. “They gave us so much support and threw ideas at us if we got stuck.”

“Phil and Brendan are so smart and experienced. We couldn’t have done the job without them,” added Petelu.

With their CO2 cages now in place at AMC’s Survival Centre, the students’ solution will be securing cylinders for many years to come.