The Palletised Drop Test Mechanism
Camilla Snowden, Dominic Newton, Hugo Challis, Peter Alexander; Devonport High School for Boys, DHSB
Target Group
12-14 years old students
Brief Description
This report is to document the research and development of the Palletised Drop Test Mechanism.


1 - Summary

The Palletised Drop Test Mechanism

This report is to document the research and development of the Palletised Drop Test Mechanism. It was created by a Tavistock College team (from Devon) and sponsored and mentored by Rittal CSM, whilst partaking in the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) - an Engineering Development Trust (EDT) programme.

The project comprised of the research and development of a lifting device with a quick release mechanism that would comply with many criteria. This was to ease the inconvenience of Rittal CSM’s previous drop test mechanism and other possible alike tests.

After carrying out research, it was clear that the team had to invent a new device in order to meet all the brief criteria.
The chosen solution evolved from an ancient hunting technique – the Deadfall Trap. The trap works by propping a heavy weight (such as a log) up, with only a few sticks. When knocked the sticks the instantly drop the weight without absorbing any energy. The sticks are capable of this due to a crucial angle at which they are placed.

The Tavistock College team managed to develop this idea so that a 3500lbs server rack could be held at 8” above the ground, and then dropped.
It is expected that Rittal CSM will benefit from this mechanism through greater time efficiency of the Palletised Drop Test.
By participating in the EES, the team members gained general experience and knowledge of communications, problem analysis and solving, solution design, project management and presentation. The team became aware that a relatively expensive solution may be the most economical in the long term because of better quality materials and reliability.

Note from Rittal CSM's Engineer:
During the course of the project, it became evident that aspects of the release mechanism were preferable to develop for the potential use of the mechanism at Rittal CSM.
These went beyond the original project scope. Examples are the developments of different drop heights and also improvements to avoid safety risks in the drop mechanism itself. I considered these to be preferred development topics both for the students and Rittal CSM use.
Consequently, the separate safety barrier (specified in the project scope originally) was less well developed although the team have made some suggestions for further work on this aspect.


We wish to extend our appreciation and thanks to the following, without which we would not have had this experience

  • The Engineering Development Trust
  • The Engineering Education Scheme
  • Rittal CSM for their sponsorship
  • Our Project Manager from Rittal CSM, Mr Neil Wylie
  • University of Plymouth, and their staff for the extensive use of their facilities
  • Tavistock College - especially Mr Quinlan.

Download the related file to get all the research and development, with graphics and detailed information

Related files

The Palletised Drop Test Mechanism 8 MB
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