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“I chose LSSU expecting a very good engineering education. What I didn’t expect was faculty with real-world engineering experience and abilities, labs with real-world equipment, projects with real-world outcomes, and an entire campus staff with real interest in my success, as a student and yet today. My LSSU engineering education has created or supported every desired career opportunity. LSSU was absolutely the right place for me.”

Dan Goodrich,
Mechanical Engineering 1999,
Vehicle Test & Development,
Electronic Brake Systems Group

Manufacturing Engineering Technology

LSSU's Prototype Development Center puts manufacturing methods, mechanical services, materials testing, electronics, computers and robotics at a company's disposal so it can create functional prototypes of any product
Faculty and Staff
Robotics Online
Jon Coullard

Jon Coullard

Laboratory Engineer
BS 1990, Lake Superior State University


Jim Devaprasad

Jim Devaprasad

Professor, Manufacturing Engineering Technology
Program Chair, Manufacturing Engineering Technology
Director, Robotics Laboratory
Coordinator, Senior Projects
BS 1983, University of Madras, India
MS 1986, University of New Mexico



Testing of Products or Processes: A Low-Cost Option

Lake Superior State University engineering professor’s article on the benefits of using universities as product testing sites has been published in the Robotics Industries Association publication "Robotics Online."

Prof. James Devaprasad wrote a paper titled, "Testing of Products or Processes: A Low-Cost Option," after he, LSSU Mechanical Lab Engineer Jon Coullard, and several LSSU students completed a testing project for PIAB USA, a Boston manufacturing firm specializing in robotics end-of-arm tooling.

"The project must have exceeded expectations, since the president of PIAB USA contacted RIA and recommended that LSSU be invited to present a feature article on projects performed in the School of Engineering and Technology," said Prof. Morrie Walworth, chair of the School of Engineering and Technology at LSSU.

"Our company has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with Lake Superior State University for the past three years," said Chuck Weilbrenner, PIAB USA President. "In our need to find an unbiased third party to perform life cycle and performance tests on our products, we found using a university to be an ideal alternative to an independent test center. Not only were we matched with some of the brightest young minds in the industry to perform the testing, we were also exposing our products to the students just before they entered the industry. The university received compensation, the students received the knowledge of a real-life application, and we had our third-party testing performed professionally and economically."

The article written by Devaprasad on product or processing testing in a university environment appeared as the feature article in the popular robotics online website hosted by RIA in January and February. RIA, North America’s only trade association focused exclusively on robotics, has more than 250 member companies representing leading robot manufacturers, system integrators, end users and researchers, such as Fanuc Robotics, General Motors, Boeing, Proctor and Gamble, Nissan and others. In addition, the membership includes about 40 reputed universities and institutions from across the nation, including LSSU.

In his article, Devaprasad, director of the LSSU Robotics and Automation Center, outlines several ways a company could benefit from product or process testing done in a university setting, including the availability of third-party, unbiased data on the performance of the product for marketing and publication. In addition to testing the products or processes, universities are well equipped to help an entrepreneur or a small business take a small scale idea or design from conception to a prototype, which can be put through a variety of tests.

“The hope in having such articles out there is to bring recognition to LSSU and to indirectly help with enrollment and placement,” Devaprasad said. “It can also show industries that LSSU faculty, staff and students are capable of undertaking ‘real world’ projects that are beneficial not only to the industries, but in the experience they provide for our students.”

The full text of the article may be found at Robotics Online.


Dereck Wonnacutt Robotics and Computer Science

"Lake Superior State is the only robotics program of its kind in the country. I can work up any research or senior project idea with a professor or my advisor. I studied for a year in Japan through LSSU's connection with the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, and became fluent in Japanese. A Japanese company called Fanuc makes most of the robots in our lab. I'd like to roll my senior research project into a career with Fanuc that bridges the two countries and cultures."

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