THREE Wiltshire students who were fed up with suffering soggy chips and pizzas from their cheap ovens at university have solved the problem with a little help from a family firm.

Twins Maiya and Luke Roberts, both 21, and friend Robbie Denning, 20, came up with the MiraclePlate idea.

Robbie, an engineering student in his second year, was sure there was a solution and Maiya and Luke had just the place to test his theory - the Malmesbury-based metalworks factory Sweetnam and Bradley, owned by the company run by their dad Nigel.

"Conventional ovens heat in cycles, meaning that the temperature is always fluctuating. Often cheaper ovens have even less stable temperatures, and are hotter towards the back of the oven. This left us with half burnt and still half frozen chips!" Maiya said.

"We were very fortunate that Sweetnam and Bradley is our family business and that they were happy to have us students in the factory trying to make a product.”

Thirty different prototypes were made and tested until eventually the MiraclePlate - a heavy steel tray with hexagonal holes, designed to distribute heat from ovens more evenly - was born.

Maiya explained: "We used lots of food for product testing - pizzas, chips, flatbreads, garlic bread, apple crumble, apple pie... the list goes on. We had to make everything at least twice to compare - one without the plate and one with.

"This definitely made us very popular at the factory. We handed out pizza and chips to everyone during their breaks! This was also helpful to us too as we could get feedback on which batch everyone thought was cooked better."

The firm’s managing director Christian Olejnik said: "It was great having them at the factory designing the product and it was a real exciting thing. A real opportunity for the team and also the business and everyone at the factory really embraced it. We're really proud.”

The MiraclePlate is now being sold through Kickstarter (.kickstarter.com/projects/sbltduk/miracleplate-by-bakeplatetm) and has already smashed its £2,500 funding goal, receiving £11,789 from backers.

Maiya added: "It has definitely done much better and in a faster time frame than we expected, and we are so grateful for all the support we have received."