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With over 825,000 car wheels changed in the UK every year, most of us will have experienced a puncture at some point.

If you’re lucky, this might be on the drive at home in daylight, but for some of us it might be at night near a busy road. 

A simple task you might think, but in a recent survey 75% of millennials didn’t know how to change a tyre and ended up calling for roadside assistance.

This was a challenge too good to miss for Leeds based Quality Bearings Online, JCT600 and students from the Engineering Faculty at the University of Leeds. 

Every year the students at the University of Leeds work with companies across the region on challenging projects, aiming to solve an industry, environmental or technological problem.

Having worked with students from the University of Leeds previously, Quality Bearings Online wanted to create a bigger challenge for 2019. 

Quality Bearings Online Director, Denny Maude, explains: “In 2017 we challenged engineering students to create a robot that could pull the perfect pint, even better than a human being. They did in fact manage this, so this year we wanted to raise the bar… so to speak!”

“Our challenge this year is to devise a way of reducing the risk and effort that goes into changing a car wheel. Ideally, the solution has to be portable, easy to handle and cost-effective. If they succeed, it could potentially save lives and reduce the need for callouts. Working along with JCT600 is key for this project as they are one of the UK’s largest motor retailers.”

Asked why they develop student challenges, Denny added “Challenge and change has been at the heart of our business success, changing the way companies buy bearings in over 110 countries worldwide. We want students to experience the same challenges, confronting everyday problems with innovative solutions. After all these are the employees and inventors of tomorrow.”

Tom Swain, PR & Marketing Executive from JCT600, and one of the project partners, commented: “We’ve seen some great ideas from the students already. We’ve just got to pick a test car now, and we can then test the final solution over the coming months.”

Over the coming months, the students will be testing their ideas in the lab and also on a test vehicle, with a final live test in June 2019.

You can follow their progress on the Quality Bearings Online website and on their social media pages (@qualitybearings). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVCA1Z6qpBA

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