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LSSU Seniors Realize Their Vision Via Portable Robotic Workcell | April 2008

Team SVSApplied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), a leading supplier of factory automation design, engineering and process consulting services sponsored the development of a vision-based robotic workcell as a senior project at Lake Superior State University. Designed by the senior project students of team Superior Vision Systems, with support and guidance from AMT’s Jean-Pierre Rasaiah, the cell identifies and robotically packages consumer products from a moving conveyor.

The workcell is based on a multi-axis workcell donated by Bosch Rexroth, including a conveyor system and a motion logic controller. To help complete the project, AMT was also able to arrange the use of a Stäubli RX60 robot & controller, a Cognex DVT Legend 520 SmartImage camera, and a Siemens HMI panel.

“We’ve worked closely with Lake Superior State University for years, and we’re excited to support another strong class of graduating seniors,” commented Joe Campbell, AMT’s COO. “LSSU has developed a world class automation program, and we’re proud to be a small part of their success.”

Kevin Gingerich, director of marketing services at Bosch Rexroth in Buchanan, MI said of their donation to the project, “By providing the LSSU team with Rexroth technology, we knew they'd get a chance to work under real-world conditions with world-class automation components.” Gingerich added, “We were also confident AMT would provide the seniors with good supervision and support. We're pleased that the timing was right and that we had the opportunity and the means to contribute.”

“Our senior projects provide our students with a simulation of the real-life engineering,” said Dr. Taskin Padir, assistant professor at LSSU, and faculty advisor for this project. “This experience makes sure that they are ready to take the challenge as they graduate and join the engineering work force. That's why AMT's support is valued greatly by the students and faculty at LSSU.”

The LSSU robotic workcell is built on Rexroth’s aluminum extrusion framework, employing a Bosch Rexroth VarioFlow conveyor system, IndraMotion MLC motion logic controller, IndraDrive Servos and IndraDyn Motors to circulate the products through the cycle.

A Cognex SmartImage camera scans each product as it passes, while the program notifies the Stäubli robot to retrieve a specific selection and drop it off the line to be packaged. Parameters for the project define a successful running cycle to continue for ten hours with no more than one hour of recovery time. The completed workcell will be used as a training device for future students and AMT personnel alike.

Founded in 1989 by Michael Jacobs, AMT is a leading supplier of complete consulting and engineering services, offering single-source engineering solutions to the automation and manufacturing industries. The company’s service offerings range from design and simulation to programming, installation and support of industrial automation solutions. The company’s technical and industry expertise in process automation for the automotive, aerospace, building materials, consumer products, food, heavy equipment, machinery, medical, and truck industries offers its customers the highest quality professional service available in the industrial arena. For more information contact Applied Manufacturing Technologies at 248-409-2000, or online at

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EAC Accreditations Announced | August 2007

Bachelor's degree programs in engineering at Lake Superior State University have been accredited through 2013 after a recent visit by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, an accrediting body that has examined LSSU programs for many years.

The LSSU School of Engineering and Technology was visited by a review team from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET during September 2006 for the reaccreditation of its electrical and mechanical engineering programs, and the initial accreditation of the computer engineering program. All three received word that accreditation has been granted through September 30, 2013. These programs join the LSSU manufacturing engineering technology program, which is accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET until fall 2011.

Morrie Walworth, dean of the LSSU School of Engineering and Technology, said the full six-year accreditation time frame for all programs is outstanding. Typically, interim reports and/or visits are required to provide revised and updated information related to specific ABET committee concerns.

“It was obvious that there was a dedicated and cooperative effort from all of the faculty and staff in the School of Engineering and Technology in order to receive such an incredible affirmation by ABET,” said Walworth. “The school also acknowledges the extra efforts of time, preparation and leadership by Profs. Paul Duesing, Jim Devaprasad and David Baumann. They, along with the faculty and accreditation committee members, provided the guidance and encouragement for such a successful accreditation visit.”

To prepare for the visit, the School of Engineering and Technology collected materials from departments throughout campus. The materials were from those courses required for engineering students outside of their major areas, including English, humanities, mathematics, computer science, and physical, chemical, natural and social sciences.

Walworth specifically praised faculty in mathematics and computer science for their efforts with the accreditation visit.

"The courses they offer and the assessment performed in their areas provide an excellent foundation for our engineering students," he said.

The ABET team also met with alumni from the engineering programs and members of the school's Industrial Advisory Board.

"The involvement and influence of these constituencies upon the engineering curriculum has continually impressed ABET visitors for over a decade," Walworth said.

In addition to holding face-to-face meetings with students, alumni, campus administrators and support services, the ABET team spoke with six-month and three-year graduates of the programs as part of the school's continuous improvement plan. The team noted excellent support for engineering across campus.

Walworth said the LSSU student body, which benefits the most from the accreditation efforts, has provided the best evidence for accreditation. The students provide samples of classroom and lab work for ABET team review.

"The students' performance is a direct result of the curriculum, the faculty and the LSSU environment," Walworth said.

ABET is the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. It has accredited nearly 3,000 programs at more than 550 institutions. The organization has been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation since 1997.

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Sven V. Heikkinen Engineering Scholarship established in memory of son's love for LSSU | Summer 2007

This scholarship was established by Ken and Kate Heikkinen in memory of their son, Sven. He was a 1982 graduate from Pickford High School. He graduated from Lake Superior State University in 1993 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was an Engineering Specialist in Vehicle Development working for the Continental-Brimley Development Center. He was also an Adjunct professor with LSSU vehicle test dynamics, a driving instructor, a Junior Achievement mentor, and a Dale Carnegie trainer. His unexpected death on June 3, 2007 at the age of 43 has left an indelible void on his wife, Jodie, his daughters Kirsi and Kinzie, and all who knew Sven. He had a genuine love for LSSU and, in particular, the school of engineering. It is his parents’ wishes to honor his memory with a scholarship to benefit future LSSU engineering students. This merit scholarship is awarded to an engineering student majoring in any engineering field with a GPA of 3.0 or higher based on a recommendation by the LSSU Engineering faculty.

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Floyd Starks Memorial Scholarship remembers father's belief in higher education | Summer 2007

A scholarship was established by Stan Starks, a 1976 LSSU Engineering graduate in memory of his father, Floyd Starks. Despite Floyd's limited education, he was a strong believer in higher education and was insistent that his two sons, Stan and Larry, complete a college education. They went on to retire from successful engineering careers. The scholarship will benefit a sophomore enrolled in electrical or computer engineering.

Stan recently visited LSSU to catch up with his mentor, Prof. David McDonald, and meet the student who will be receiving the first scholarship in fall 2007. The Starks campus legacy will be continued when Stan's nephew enrolls this fall.

Floyd will always be remembers for personal sacrifice and quiet mentoring that made his sons' educational accomplishments possible.

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Precision Edge Surgical Products provides funds to underwrite tution and fees for one year | Summer 2007

PRECISION SCHOLARSHIP -- Lake Superior State University President Betty Youngblood and David Pelizzon, managing director of Precision Edge Holdings, sign documents to create the Precision Edge Surgical Products Company Engineering Scholarship. The fund underwrites an engineering student’s tuition and fees for one academic year. Looking on from left are Morrie Walworth, Dean of the LSSU’s School of Engineering and Technology; and LSSU alums Larry Hagen (’96), engineer; Chris Swailes (’99), engineer; Katie Pepin (’88), accounting manager; Brian Knowles (’86), engineer; and Duke Pepin (’87), engineering manager, all of Precision Edge. Precision Edge Scholarship signing

Lake Superior State University has entered into a major scholarship agreement with a Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.-based medical instrument manufacturer. The Precision Edge Surgical Products Company Engineering Scholarship will cover a full year’s tuition and fees at LSSU for one engineering student beginning this fall.

Precision Edge, a subsidiary of Colson Associates, makes orthopedic surgical tools and medical instruments for clients all over the world. The company started 17 years ago in a 1,100-square-foot building. It subsequently expanded into a 14,000 sq. ft. facility in Barbeau, Mich., south of Sault Ste. Marie.

Today Precision Edge’s manufacturing base is back in the Sault, housed in a 37,000 sq. ft. facility adjacent to the city’s municipal airport. The company employs more than 130 skilled workers engaged in the design and development of burs, blades, drills, and other surgical accessories.

Precision Edge has evolved a close relationship with Lake Superior State over the past ten years. The company employs dozens of LSSU students and graduates, mainly from the mechanical engineering and manufacturing engineering technology fields.

Precision Edge also offers LSSU students internship opportunities through co-ops, where a student gets course credit while working on assorted design and manufacturing projects. The company secures LSSU engineering expertise by commissioning student project teams who concentrate on producing a prototype product or service for credit during their senior year.

“There are two reasons why Robert Pritzker, President and CEO of Colson Associates, and I think the scholarship is important,” says David Pelizzon, managing director of the Precision Edge operation. “First, it shows our support to the University, which is a vital institution to the local community. Secondly, we are concerned about the decreasing number of engineering students in the US. The scholarship supports reversing that trend.”

Scholarship candidates must be of at least sophomore standing in any engineering and technology degree program, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The fund is for Michigan residents, with preference given to students from Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula. Financial need is a consideration, but not an overriding requirement. Even though this is a non-renewable award, past recipients can reapply if they continue to meet eligibility requirements. Candidates are solicited through LSSU's engineering department for this award.

The scholarship’s selection committee has a rotating membership of two faculty from the School of Engineering and Technology and two employees of Precision Edge Surgical Products Company. Each spring it will recommend a recipient and one alternate to LSSU’s Financial Aid office for final approval. The committee hopes to recommend the Fall 2007 recipient by the end of May.

“This scholarship is a great opportunity for students in the School of Engineering and Technology,” says Morrie Walworth, Dean of the School. “It also shows the great commitment Precision Edge has to higher education, especially to EUP students.”

Point your Web browser at for more information about the Precision Edge Surgical Products Company.

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Mini Baja team completes run at 2007 competition | June 2007

Mini Baja team 2007

Laker Racing

Laker Racing recently completed its first entry in the SAE Mini Baja competition held in Rochester, NY from June 7-10. The team ranked 76th overall out of a field of 138 entries at the RIT (Midwest) location. Click here for the full story.

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School of Engineering and Technology loses a friend, mentor and avid supporter | June 2007

The School recently learned of the unexpected death of alumnus Sven V. Heikkinen on Sunday, June 3, 2007. A 1991 graduate of the Mechanical Engineering Technology program, Sven had become an integral part of the Sault area community. He has worked for the Brimley location of Continental Automotive, providing opportunities for LSSU engineering and technology students, graduates, faculty and staff.

During the 2006-2007 academic year, Sven assisted the senior projects teams involved with the development and fabrication of a mini baja vehicle as an adjunct for special topics courses. The combined project group, Laker Racing, has dedicated its vehicle in memory of Sven. The team competed at the 2007 SAE racing event in Rochester, N.Y.

VDM Racing TeamMembers of VDM Racing, Dan Goodrich, left; Sven Heikkinen, seated; Ryan Greene, right; prepare for Snocross races held at Kewadin Casino in December 2002.

He was heavily involved outside the classroom participating in Snocross events with LSSU alums Ryan Greene, also of Continental Automotive in Brimley, and Dan Goodrich of Bosch Corporation in Farmington Hills. Their snowmobile sported the number "906" in honor of the Upper Peninsula and had LSSU's URL emblazoned on the side. Sven's daughters, Kirsi and Kinzie, have become a snowmobile racers in their own right as "Suomi GIrls Racing," following in their Dad's footsteps.

Sven was a soft-spoken gentleman who was full of energy, enthusiasm and support - both on campus and within the community. He leaves behind his wife, Jodie, and daughters Kirsi and Kinzie. Sven touched a great many lives who will feel his loss for a long time to come.

Funeral arrangements were handled by C.S. Mulder Funeral Home of Sault Ste. Marie. To offer online condolences to the family, visit Visitation was on June 7 and the funeral on June 8. Memorials may be made to a scholarship for Kirsi and Kinzie that has been set up at the Soo Co-op Bank.

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