Automated coffee bean roasting machine wins 2014 Cyber Junkyard contest

December 2014 News

The 2014 Siemens Cyber Junkyard Challenge was won by the team from the College of Cape Town who built an automated coffee bean roaster which has already secured commercial attention. The team consists of leader Nisrine Jirari, David Dyers, Kevin Tjihero, Aaron Miller and Magdalene Pretorius, lecturers Mark Wichman, Ricardo Croy and Chris Josephs, and academic manager Pat Lawrence. The RGB52 full bed roaster is fitted with Siemens HMI colour touch panels to monitor the process, as well as a Siemens S71200 PLC with PID control. The College of Cape Town received R100 000 in Siemens products, and the students will benefit from R14 000 in Siemens training as well as each receiving a GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition.

Congratulations to the College of Cape Town – first prize with their coffee bean roaster.
Congratulations to the College of Cape Town – first prize with their coffee bean roaster.

The first runner up was the team from Durban University of Technology who built a fully automated cocktail machine using Siemens technology. The university receives R50 000 in Siemens products, and the students R12 000 in training and a Pebble Smart Watch.

Third place went to the Central University of Technology for their semi-autonomous toolbox, nicknamed Betsie, which follows a worker around the factory floor and plays instructive videos for the installation of parts, analyses faults and troubleshoots problems. Their maintenance assistant earned the university R25 000, and the students R7 000 in training as well as a Polaroid Induction speaker for each team member.

Eight teams from South African tertiary institutions competed for the Cyber Junkyard crown, subject to hours of judging and a tense interview session in front of a panel of industry experts. The teams were challenged by Siemens to engineer the solutions of the future – and pleasantly surprised everyone involved.

This year, the competition itself underwent some innovation. The students were challenged to build any industry solution with the Siemens technology they were given, and to create a business and marketing plan. This brought the element of business acumen to the challenge.

“South Africa needs dedicated and well trained engineers, but we also need people with a vision for the future,” said Raymond Padayachee, VP process industries and drives Siemens southern and east Africa. “In a country with such high unemployment, entrepreneurial skills are not only essential to the engineers of tomorrow, but also to the communities in which they operate when their businesses become successful.”

For more information contact Keshin Govender, Siemens Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 652 2412,,


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