Ruan Nortje with his first demo
Ruan Nortje with his first demo

How CQ man’s invention could change mango industry

Ruan Nortje graduated as the Dux of Heights College in 2015.

Now, five years later he is continuing to make the region proud, as one of CQUniversity’s Engineering Showcase winners for 2020.

According to Mr Nortje, the showcase, held twice a year, ­requires students graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) to present their final thesis projects to an ­audience of peers, family members, staff and stakeholders.

Conference coordinator and Head of Course for Undergraduate Engineering Dr Aruna Jayasuriya said the final year engineering students presented some excellent projects.

“The students produced some fantastic projects which have been based on real-world challenges facing organisations within CQUniversity’s footprint,” he said.

Mr Nortje’s project looked at improving the performance and integrations capability of a CQUniversity - born automated mango-harvester.

As one of the showcase ­winners, his robotic system design and integration project will aid in the development and optimisation of the existing system, informing the second-generation system design.

Mr Nortje is hopeful his ­design will be up and running by next season.

Despite having grown up in Rockhampton, it wasn’t until he did a co-op placement at the CQIRP facilities through CQUniversity that Mr Nortje became aware of the region’s thriving fruit industry.

“I did some co-op placements with CQUniversity and basically all my prior understanding kind of came from that placement,” he said.

“I grew up in Rocky but not on a farm or anything, so I’d always heard about beef growing up but it turns out there’s this other massive industry in ­mangoes.”

With this final showcase out of the way, Mr Nortje now has roughly two weeks of waiting before he finds out his final ­results and is able to plan the rest of his year.

“I should get my results in a week or two, graduation was scheduled for the end of July but with COVID we don’t know what the deal with be,” he said.

“Perhaps I’ll look at doing my masters.”

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