Redefining the Classroom

Senior engineers, industrial partners to unveil some really cool stuff

Posted: April 30th, 2014

SMARTZONE SYNERGY – A Lake Superior State University senior engineering project team sets up a milling system it modified for an industrial client in Sault Ste. Marie's SmartZone accelerator building. The students worked alongside Red Wing, Minn.-based Mactech On-Site Machining Solutions to develop and test a real-time self-leveling system for large-diameter facing machines. The team will present its project during LSSU School of Engineering's senior project day on May 2. The presentation is on-campus at 1:30 p.m. in room 123 of the Center for Applied Science and Technology. An off-campus demonstration will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the SmartZone accelerator building, 2345 Meridian Street. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University student engineers are helping industrial clients prototype a radar system for all-weather proximity warning between railcars, and a barge system capable of transporting liquid natural gas on the Great Lakes.

These are just two of the design projects that senior teams in LSSU's School of Engineering and Technology will showcase to classmates, faculty, families, and the public on Friday, May 2. Presentations and demonstrations are 1:30-4 p.m. in the Center for Applied Science and Engineering Technology, with one team demonstrating its project off-campus at the Sault Ste. Marie SmartZone building.

Senior design projects provide concrete 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 most 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 David Roland Finley, P.E., dean of the College of Business, Engineering and Economic Development. "Teams combine technical and general education into a project that is put to work in industry."

Students address timeline, monetary and management issues, as well as communication, teamwork, paperwork, and logistics within their teams. They also 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.

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

Railway Automation Solutions (RAS)
Presentation: 1:30 p.m., CASET 123; demonstration, 2 p.m., CASET 124.

Team Railway Automation Solutions (RAS) designed and implemented a robotics workcell to simulate the dispensing of Spikefast, a wood filler product, into railroad ties. A Motoman robot, using custom end of arm tooling and a machine vision system, locates the positions of spike holes on railroad ties as they move by on a continuous conveyor. This project serves as a proof of concept for future development of a wood product dispensing system in the railroad industry.

Team RaS (with majors and home towns) is Kevin Danhof (electrical engineering; Grand Rapids, Mich.), Randy Gee (electrical engineering technology; Monroe, Mich.), Taylor Heath (mechanical engineering; Hanover, Mich.), Karl Larsen (ME; Alpena, Mich.), and Levi Marchetti (computer engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.); faculty advisor is Jon Coullard. Jeff Johnson is the client contact from Pre-Tec, a custom-robotics company based in Eugene, Ore.

Marine Refueling Concepts (MRC)
Presentation: 1:30 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 2 p.m., CASET 120.

Team Marine Refueling Concepts (MRC) conducted a feasibility study and conceptual design of an LNG (liquefied natural gas) bunkering barge, for Moran Iron Works of Onaway, which would refuel an anticipated fleet of Great Lakes vessels operating on LNG fuel. Design efforts focused on economic scaling of the barge, layout of refueling tanks and equipment, and capsize stability in Great Lakes waves, allowing for LNG sloshing in tanks, the latter phenomenon studied by simulation and wave tank experiments.

Team MRC is Robert Klein (mechanical engineering; Presque Isle, Mich.), Steven Krentz (ME; Alpena, Mich.), Tyler Pavelich (ME; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Michael Richardson (ME; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), and Spencer Thomas (ME; Alpena, Mich.); faculty advisor is Robert Hildebrand. Victor Ruppert is the client contact from Moran Iron Works, Inc., an Onaway, Mich.-based company that builds oversized metal products such as stacks, platforms, chutes, hoppers, heat shields, exhaust diffusers, and coffer dams for clients all over the world.

Locomotive Onsite Communication Initiative Loci Automation (LOCI)
Presentation: 2 p.m., CASET 123; demonstration, 2:30 p.m., CASET 125.

Team Locomotive Onsite Communication Initiative (LOCI) has thoroughly tested a radar based position sensor to be implemented in a proximity warning system for the locomotives used in the coke making process at Essar Steel Algoma Inc. The primary goal of this project was to determine if the position sensor could operate through steam, snow, ice, as well as under other harsh environmental conditions. This project is phase one of a longer term project of completely automating the locomotives.

Team LOCI is Ronald Biron (electrical engineering; Desbarats, Ont.), Stephanie Peck (mechanical engineering; Fenton, Mich.), Niels-Erik Ravn (ME; Boucherville, Quebec), and David Vikken (EE; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.); faculty advisor is Prof. Joe Moening. The industrial contacts are Denis Cesarin and David Clingen, both with Essar Steel Algoma, Inc.

Automated Braking Innovations (ABI)
Presentation: 2 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 2:30 p.m., CASET 106C.

Team Automated Braking Innovations (ABI) is designing and building an automated brake pedal applier for Continental Automotive’s hardware-inloop systems. Currently, Continental uses these hardware-in-loop systems to test brake systems, but the system must have a human operator to apply the brake pedal. Team ABI’s unit will be used to automate the brake testing process by controlling the position of the pedal and how much force is applied.

Team ABI is Riley Lytwynec (computer engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Benjamin Newland (ME; Trout Lake, Mich.), Danial Rutkowski (electrical engineering; Huron, Mich.), and Nick Sadro (EE; Ubly, Mich.); faculty advisors are professors Dave McDonald and David Leach. Industrial contacts are Dan Goodrich and Travis Smith, both with Continental Automotive.

Adexobot-Vision Integration Solution (A-VIS)
Presentation: 2:30 p.m., CASET 123; demonstration, 3 p.m., CASET 125.

Team Adexobot - Vision Integration Solution (A-VIS) has been tasked with developing a proof-of-concept system to mimic an automated grocery bagger. The bagger consists of a robot working with a machine vision system and a versatile gripping device. This robotic bagging system will handle a variety of household items such as grocery boxes, cans, and bottles. This project will provide an automation solution that is unique to the robotics industry in its versatility and simplicity of use.

Team A-VIS is Rob Kalinski (ME; South Lyon, Mich.), Josh Nelson (mechanical engineering; Ortonville, Mich.), Brian Parkham (electrical engineering; Spruce, Mich.), Nathan Shoudy (EE; Port Huron, Mich.), and Dion Tchokreff (manufacturing engineering technology; Holland, Mich.); faculty advisors are professors Jim Devaprasad and Paul Weber. Industrial advisor is Mr. Adil Shafi.

Engineering House
Presentation: 2:30 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 3 p.m., CASET 310.

The Engineering Living Learning Community (Engineering House) designed and built a 3D printer at a significantly lower cost than LSSU’s current 3D printer. The new device will be used to print souvenirs for Robotics summer camps. Many avenues were explored to reduce the component cost as well as the operating costs. Off-the-shelf components were used where possible, with remaining components machined by the students.

Faculty advisors are professors Joe Moening and Jaskirat Sodhi.

Team Laser Control Solutions (LCS)
Presentation: 3 p.m., CASET 123; demonstration, 3:30 p.m., SmartZone accelerator building, 2345 Meridian Street.

Team Laser Control Solutions (LCS) is working alongside Mactech On-Site Machining Solutions to develop and test a real-time self-leveling system for their Large Diameter Facing Machine (LDFM). The LDFM is used to machine large diameter flanges (6’-18’) for the oil, marine, and power industries. The goal of this project is to reduce overall machining tolerances from .015” to .005” using a laser measurement system and a custom designed control loop.

Team LCS is Logan Cowley (ME; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Josh Houska (ME; Hastings, Minn.), Steve Jacobs (electrical engineering; New Carlisle, Ind.), Eric Stephan, and Jacob Clark (computer engineering; Buckley, Mich.); faculty advisor is Prof. David Baumann. Industrial contacts are Sam Schammel, Paul Rulach, and Joel Wittenbrakeri, all with Red Wing, Minn.-based Mactech On-Site Machining Solution, one of the world's foremost provider of on-site machining services.

Solar Film Innovations (SFI)
Presentation: 3 p.m., CASET 212; demonstration, 3:30 p.m., CASET 212.

Team SFI designed and built two window-based solar systems, utilizing 3M Brand Prestige Series Window Film to reflect near infrared light onto photovoltaic cells. This not only allows for increased power output, but also provides room temperature and shading control while allowing visible light through the window. The first system is an improvement on a previous senior project, and replaces an entire window. The second system is a new design, which replaces window-mounted blinds.

Team SFI is Greg Balcom (ME; Hillsdale, Mich.), Victor Duffrin (manufacturing eng tech; Menominee, Mich.), Brandyn Everest (ME; Holland, Mich.), Mitchell Paradis (electrical engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Apurv Shanker (electrical engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), and Randi Sims (co-op student, fall 2013); faculty advisors are professors Jaskirat Sodhi and Paul Weber. Industrial contacts are Tim Hebrink and Charles Dawley, both with 3M.

Brian Horn's Industrial Technology Directed Senior Project, Brian Horn
Presentation: 3:30 p.m., CASET 123; demonstration, 4 p.m., CASET 125.

This project updates lab equipment for the EGRS365 course - specifically part checker - to a current-generation Allen Bradley programmable logic controller and human machine interface. Determining hardware, ordering and implementation of the hardware, and testing the updated equipment were required for completion of the project.

Faculty advisor is Jeff King. Horn, from Dafter, Mich., graduates with a BS in industrial technology.

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


CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314 Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315.