A team of young engineers at complex metal company Grainger and Worrall is taking the lead on a new project expected to boost tourism to the town of Bridgnorth (Staffordshire). Budding engineers have already begun prototyping a series of 20 replica locomotive statues in the shape of ‘Catch Me Who Can’ - the world’s first fare passenger engine built in Bridgnorth back in 1808 for British inventor Richard Trevithick.
Each statue will be hand-painted in a kaleidoscope of colours by local artists and placed in strategic locations around the town, to create an interactive walking trail.
The project is putting Grainger and Worrall’s apprentices under real time engineering pressures. Not only are they being asked to design and engineer the statues based on a sketch drawing, but they also need to manufacture four a week leading up to the 1st April deadline, when they will be placed around the town.
The replicas, which when cast and set on a plinth stand some 1.5m high, provide several external design challenges that the apprentices must overcome.
Ella Jones (pictured centre), a female apprentice at Grainger and Worrall, explained: “Throughout the design stage we have had to consider lots of requirements. The volume of replicas required in a short timeframe mean they must be practical to manufacture, which is why we are utilising a hybrid of traditional casting processes, together with more innovative 3D sand printing technology.
"They must also be corrosion resistant and have secure fixings, plus, be novel and quirky by design. Amidst all of these, we also need to ensure they replicate the original Catch Me Who Can in the best possible way.”
Matthew Snelson, Director of systems at Grainger and Worrall, and Director of the neighbouring Marches Centre of Manufacturing and Technology, which hosts the apprentices, added: “This project gives our apprentices experience of working in busy engineering conditions, utilising their skills in computer aided design, simulation, prototyping, 3D printing and sand casting.
"These are the skills Grainger and Worrall’s 700-strong team practise every day in response to demand from leading OEMs for complex metal solutions, and puts the apprentices in good stead for long, successful careers at the company.”