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Senior engineering projects showcase partnerships

Posted: April 30th, 2011


STEERING INNOVATORS – Lake Superior State University School of Engineering's Team Steering Innovations (SI) pose with a prototype clamping module the group optimized and built for a steering column. The system allows a driver to adjust the position of the steering wheel and column with just the push of a button. Team SI's module is smaller and more cost effective than the original prototype. An add-on feature for an aftermarket version includes a wireless remote. Team SI will join five other senior-project engineering teams unveiling projects to the public on April 29, 1-4 pm, in LSSU's Center for Applied Science and Technology (CASET) building. Left to right are Jody Gillespie (mechanical engineering; Crystal Falls, Mich.), faculty advisor Dave McDonald, Ben Kurth (mechanical engineering; Cheboygan, Mich.), Andrew Moran (electrical engineering; Bellaire, Mich.), Cory Lynch (electrical engineering; West Branch, Mich.), and Kyle Finlan (electrical engineering; Auburn, Mich.). (LSSU/John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with this caption can be found by clicking here.


(Another photo and video follows this story.)


SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University student engineers unveil energy-efficient solar arrays and a new push-button tilt steering module, both commissioned by industrial clients. These are just two of the six senior design projects that students in LSSU's School of Engineering and Technology will showcase to classmates, faculty, families, and the public on Friday, April 29. The presentations and demonstrations are 1-4 p.m. in the Center for Applied Science and Engineering Technology.

Senior design projects are valuable engineering experiences for LSSU students who are making the transition from academia to industry or graduate school. Each project requires a detailed technical engineering analysis, development, and follow-through to provide a realistic experience. In some cases, students find positions within the companies that are sponsoring their projects.

"All of our senior engineering students complete a challenging design project before graduating," says School Dean Dr. Ron DeLap, "Teams combine technical and general education into a project that is put to work in industry. A project demands detailed technical engineering analysis, and students work closely with faculty and advisors from industry."

Students address timeline, monetary and management issues, as well as communication, teamwork paperwork, and logistics within their teams. In addition, they handle guidelines, design reviews, development and production issues, purchasing, changing project definitions, and lessons learned as they work with their faculty advisors and industrial customers. All of these projects have been at least a year in the making.

This is the third year a senior project team has worked with LSSU's Product Development Center (PDC), an engineering services and business resource for regional entrepreneurs. Students worked with PDC engineers Eric Becks and David Leach to develop prototype devices for several PDC clients and refurbish the School’s thermal-fluids laboratory.

Student teams and projects, and the times when they will be presenting, are listed below.

Team Robotic Simulation Services (RSS)
Presentation: 1 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 1:30 p.m., CASET 125.

Team RSS collaborated with industrial client EOS, an engineering consulting firm based in Rocherster, Mich., to develop automated virtual workcells using two Virtual Commissioning Software packages: Dassault Systemes’ DELMIA Automation and Siemens’ Process Simulate. These packages validate the application of control systems in manufacturing and have the potential to revolutionize automated systems simulation. The workcells developed by Team RSS will be used as a demonstrational tool and highlight communication between components, data collection, and dynamic response of the workcells.

Team RSS is Jonathan Mitchell (electrical engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Philip Nicholson (mechanical engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Jamie Randolph (mechanical engineering; St. Johns, Mich.), and Derek White (manufacturing engineering technology; Cheboygan, Mich.); faculty advisor was Dr. Sai Nudurupati.

Team Steering Innovations (SI)
Presentation: 1:30 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 2 p.m., CASET 124.

Team SI optimized and built an electronic clamping module prototype. The system unlocks and locks a steering column allowing the user to adjust the position of the steering wheel and column with just the push of a button. The result is a module that is smaller and more cost effective than the original prototype. An add-on feature includes a wireless remote to actuate the system that will be available for an aftermarket version of the module. The project sponsor was Nexteer Automotive, Saginaw, Mich.

Team SI is Kyle Finlan, Jody Gillespie, Ben Kurth, Cory Lynch, and Andrew Moran; faculty advisor was Prof. David McDonald.

Team Innovative Solar Solutions (ISS)
Presentation: 2 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 2:30 p.m., CASET 119.

Team ISS designed, constructed, and tested a new prototype Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) array, based on a patent held by 3M, and developed by their Corporate Research Process Lab. The prototype uses stationary PV panels and articulated mirror panels to achieve an increased concentra¬tion of sunlight upon the PV panels. This enables the system to generate nearly equivalent power to conventional photo¬voltaic arrays while using fewer actual PV panels, commonly the most expensive part of any solar array. The team’s solar power conversion solution is potentially more cost-efficient than currently available technology, and demonstrates the successful application of the new 3M brand Cool Mirror Film to prove its usefulness to potential customers. The project sponsor was the 3M Corporation.

Team ISS is Ken Casperson, Chris Fill, Mike Gearing (electrical engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Ray Greensky, and Kevin Lidbeck (mechanical engineering; Kingsford, Mich.); faculty advisor was Dr. Paul Weber.

Team Vermilion Innovation Providers of Energy Research Solutions (VIPERS)
Presentation: 2:30 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 3 p.m., CASET 122.

Team VIPERS undertook the first phase of a 10-year project at Vermilion Point, located west of Whitefish Bay in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula, for the non-profit land trust company, Little Traverse Conservancy. The main goals were establishing a communication infrastructure and an energy assessment. The team installed a weather station, constructed a communication network, and proposed an alternative energy solution to Little Traverse Conservancy for future phases of the project.

Team VIPERS is Brad Ekin (electrical engineering; Parma, Mich.), Eric Hoxie (electrical engineering; Gaylord, Mich.), Jameson Mattice (electrical engineering; Woodland, Mich.), John Preczewski (electrical engineering; Roscommon, Mich.), and Ben Martin (mechanical engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.); faculty advisor was Dr. Andrew Jones.

Team ProtoTech
Presentation: 3 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 3:30 p.m., CASET 106C.

Team ProtoTech used its resources to develop prototype devices for several of the Product Development Center’s clients in addition to refurbishing the School’s thermal-fluids laboratory. Tasks included research, development, troubleshooting, construction, and evaluation of custom and proprietary parts and systems. The projects made full use of the team’s diverse knowledge base of in-depth mechanical and electrical design work.

Team ProtoTech is Adam E. Ball (mechanical engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Sean DeCarlo (electrical engineering; Alpena, Mich.), Mark Rodriguez (manufacturing engineering technology; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), and Steven Solack (manufacturing engineering technology; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.); faculty advisor was Dr. Robert Hildebrand.

Pioneering Race Systems (PRS)
Presentation: 3:30 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration: 4 p.m., CASET 122.

Pioneering Race System was given the task of designing and building a more robust transmission incorporating stronger chains and heavy-duty sprockets, and redesigning the chain tensioning system of the SAE Mini Baja vehicle. The vehicle required greater durability for the harsh conditions of competition that includes hill climbs, mud bogs and rock crawls. The result is a transmission that requires less down time for repairs, providing a more competitive vehicle.

The project was completed by Steve Wilson (industrial technology; Marinette, Wis.); faculty advisor was Prof. Paul Duesing.

Do a Web search for "LSSU engineering" to learn more about studying engineering and technology at LSSU.



SOLAR SOLVERS – Lake Superior State University School of Engineering's Team Innovative Solar Solutions (ISS) adjusts a prototype Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) array on top of LSSU's Center for Applied Science and Technology (CASET) building in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Team ISS designed, constructed, and tested the array based on a patent held by 3M. The prototype uses mirror panels with a new 3M brand Cool Mirror Film to increase the concentration of sunlight on the solar cells. The system concentrates two to three times as much sunlight onto the photo-voltaic arrays, thus increasing the power output without adding more solar panels, commonly the most expensive part of any solar array. The team’s solar power conversion solution has the potential to be more cost-efficient than current technology and demonstrates the new 3M-brand Cool Mirror Film that enables the concentration of light without heating the photovoltaic cells as much as conventional mirrors. Left to right are faculty advisor Paul Weber, Chris Fill (computer engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Kenneth Casperson (electrical engineering; Traverse City, Mich.), and Ray Greensky (mechanical engineering; Boyne City, Mich.). Team ISS will join five other senior-project engineering teams unveiling projects to the public on April 29, 1-4 pm, in LSSU's Center for Applied Science and Technology (CASET) building. (LSSU/John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with this caption can be found by clicking here.




-LSSU-

CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315; Prof. Ron DeLap, e-mail, 635-2206.




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