Design competition 2018: Container Handler

On Wednesday 20 June 2018, the first-year students of Mechanical Engineering competed with each other on the Markt in Delft during the design competition. This competition is the conclusion of a major technical design project.

During this project the students work together in teams and design, build and test a design. In 2018 the subject of the project was based on the domain of transport and the students were working on a container handler


TU Delft - Ontwerpwedstrijd Werktuigbouwkunde 2018 - Introductie


TU Delft – Ontwerpwedstrijd Werktuigbouwkunde 2018 – Ontwerpfase


TU Delft – Ontwerpwedstrijd Werktuigbouwkunde 2018 - Productiefase

Competition day

TU Delft – Ontwerpwedstrijd Werktuigbouwkunde 2018 – Aftermovie wedstrijddag

The brief: container handler

This year’s brief has a maritime flavour, which is why it was developed in consultation with Dingena Schott and Wouter van den Bos from the Department of Maritime & Transport Technology. The challenge is to design a container handler that can pick up, move and place a container in an exact area as quickly as possible. It may require hoisting the container over other containers.

After the container has been placed in its new position, the cycle will have to be repeated by retrieving and placing another container. The competition will judge the number of containers that can be moved and accurately placed within a certain amount of time. The handler has to meet a long list of design requirements that are summarised in the rules of the competition.

The ‘containers’ that the students will have to move with their container handler are not real containers, but 3 mm thick steel profiles measuring 100 mm x 100 mm x 240 mm. 

The following rules also apply:

  • The playing field consists of a wooden board measuring 2.44 m x 0.61 m, which has a loading and unloading area marked on it.
  • There are steel containers on the loading area. These are steel profiles measuring 100 mm x 100 mm x 3 mm. They have been sawed to a length of 240 mm.
  • The containers have centring pins on the top side and centring holes on the bottom side.
  • The steel containers have to be moved from the loading area to the unloading area.
  • The loading and unloading areas are opposite each other.
  • A scoring system will be used based on the sequence and method of stacking as shown in the illustration below.
  • A lightweight design increases the performance score. Depending on the weight of the handler vis-à-vis the other participating handlers, a working handler will be awarded 0-10 bonus points.