School pupils in County Durham have been commended for their work on an engineering project which could save the industrial products giant 3M up to £100,000 a year.
Sixth form students from Teesdale School, Barnard Castle, worked alongside 3M employees at the Newton Aycliffe factory, which manufactures dust masks.
The company had investigated what to do with waste material from the manufacturing process.
The four sixthformers who were seconded to the 3M factory looked at how to separate the two main waste materials and then sort them for recycling.
“3M have been at this for about six years and not got anywhere with it,” Iain Clyde, director of science at Teesdale School, told local newspaper group The Advertiser.
“The team have done a lot of work and identified two possible methods that 3M could investigate further to achieve potential savings of up to £100,000 a year,” he added. The four Teesdale students involved are Edward Harding, Sarah Bedwell, Olivia Stevenson and Matthew Dent.
Teesdale School was matched with 3M through the Engineering Development Trust’s engineering education scheme. The scheme is devised to offer sixth form students the chance to work on real problems at local companies.
The student team presented the results of their efforts at an EDT celebration and assessment day at Newcastle University.
Calling their project 3S for 3M, the students set up a public display explaining their work and give a 15-minute presentation to a panel of engineering experts.