Tag Archives: MMET

Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology

Mining Engineering Returns to Michigan Tech

A class of 14 Michigan Tech field geology students stand at the entrance of the Caledonia Mine, Ontonagon County, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Steve Chittick.
Michigan Tech field geology students stand at the entrance of the Caledonia Mine, Ontonagon County, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Steve Chittick.

Starting this summer, Michigan Technological University offers a new, multidisciplinary Mining Engineering degree program for graduate and undergraduate students.

Administered through the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, the multidisciplinary program includes core mining and geological engineering courses as well as classes from almost all of the departments in the College of Engineering.

“At Michigan Tech, it’s a part of our heritage, and it’s part of the future, too,” says Leonard Bohmann, associate dean of engineering. “There’s a definite need for mining engineers, now and into the future. We can help fill that need, which extends far beyond renewed local mining concerns,” he adds. “There’s a global need for mining engineers.”

Paige in the mine

“Complex endeavors require skilled people with the technical understanding and innovative mindset to design systems to safely address multifaceted challenges,” says John Gierke, GMES department chair. “To develop mineral resources in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, we need mining engineering professionals who are adept at solving complex problems.”

Back to the Future

Although the Michigan Mining School was created to train mining engineers in 1885, dwindling enrollments led to shelving the program 15 years ago. “Thanks to strong engagement from our alumni, coupled with the advancing digital revolution that is changing how the industry moves into the next generation, the foundation for reintroducing the mining engineering program at Michigan Tech allowed for its reinstatement,” says Gierke. “Sometimes, one does not fully appreciate what they have until it’s gone.”

Today, 134 years since its founding, students can pursue a degree in mining engineering at Michigan Tech to gain an understanding of the technical aspects of the mining industry and an appreciation for mining as a business; and an awareness of social-environmental issues and how these issues affect their roles as future professional engineers working for the general benefit of society.

Matt Portfleet shows safe rock drilling practices to geology major Elana Barth in the Adventure Mine. Photo courtesy of Matt Portfleet.
Matt Portfleet shows safe rock drilling practices to Michigan Tech geology major Elana Barth in the Adventure Mine in Greenland, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Matt Portfleet.

Mining engineering students learn about health and safety best practices from practitioners. They are involved in multidisciplinary, hands-on, and field-based courses; learning and research opportunities in exploration and resource development; complementary coursework in mineral processing and business; advanced technologies for mapping, exploration, and education; and advanced computing and data science for optimizing mine design and operations.

Across the entire country, now, only 14 mining engineering degree programs exist in the US. Michigan Tech offers students several important advantages. “Students will learn about mining engineering in a collaborative academic department that is home to non only mining engineering, but also geological engineering, geology, geophysics, and volcanology,” says Gierke. “Our expert faculty work together in applying and developing new technologies to better understand geologic processes—and better understand how to safely develop and manage Earth resources from discovery to closure.”

Aeromagnetic survey, courtesy of Michigan Tech alumnus Benjamin Drenth, '03. An aeromagnetic survey is a common type of geophysical survey carried out using a magnetometer aboard or towed behind an aircraft. The principle is similar to a magnetic survey carried out with a hand-held magnetometer, but allows much larger areas of the Earth's surface to be covered quickly.
Aeromagnetic survey, courtesy of Michigan Tech geological engineering alumnus Benjamin Drenth, ’03. A magnetometer is aboard or towed behind an aircraft. It is similar to a magnetic survey carried out with a hand-held magnetometer, but allows much larger areas of the Earth’s surface to be covered quickly.

“Another great advantage for our students is Michigan Tech’s location in Michigan’s historical Keweenawan native-copper district,” notes Gierke. “Our students will have an abundance of hands-on, learning opportunities in working mines,” he says.

“The new way of mining is more data intensive. For instance, drone mapping makes it easy and possible to map a pit every day, versus mapping a pit once or twice a year via surveying,” adds Gierke. “Our students will become adept and experienced with new technologies. We’ll be educating mining engineers of the future.”

Want more info on mining engineering at Michigan Tech? Learn more online.

 


You’re invited: Write a Guest Blog for the Michigan Tech College of Engineering News

Photo of white old fashioned typewriter on an old wooden desk or tabletop.
Remember these? We sure do! Photo by Bernard Hermant.

Michigan Tech electrical engineering alumnus Charles L. Hand ’62 recently authored a guest blog, Circumnavigating Lake Superior, featured on the College of Engineering news website. Now that Chuck has paved the way with his wonderful article, we hope more alumni will want to do the same!

If you are a Michigan Tech engineering alumni, and you’d like to share a story on our news blog, please email your idea and/or article to Kimberly Geiger, outreach coordinator in the College of Engineering, kmgeiger@mtu.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

 


Expanded Online Engineering Programs, Certificates, and Course Offerings

Using computer simulation to design new materials and guide new processing methods, a student sits at a computer with code on one screen and microimages of metallurgical materials on a big screen above.
Using computer simulation to design new materials and guide new processing methods.

Michigan Tech’s College of Engineering is expanding undergraduate and graduate online course offerings. This will enhance learning opportunities for undergraduate students who are off-campus for an internship or coop experience, and also significantly increase graduate level opportunities for learning new skills.

Lifelong learning and professional development are desired by many employers. Get a leg up on your career advancement or take courses to fulfill continuing education requirements. Learn more about what online programs are currently available and to apply for regular admissions or non-degree seeking graduate student status.

Available online course offerings exist in civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. A sample of courses offered this Fall 2019 include MEEM5650 Advanced Quality Engineering, MEEM5655 Lean Manufacturing, CEE5212 Prestressed Concrete Design, EE5455 Cybersecurity Industrial Control Systems, and MSE5760 Vehicle Battery Cells and Systems.

A series of new graduate certificate offerings are under development, to be launched in 2020, including topics in Manufacturing, Industrial Applications and Practices, and more. These graduate certificates will typically have 9 or 10 credits, and can be “stacked” with each other over time, leading to a master’s degree from Michigan Tech.

Learn more about what online programs are currently available and to apply for regular admissions or non-degree seeking graduate student status.

Questions? Please contact College of Engineering Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Leonard Bohmann.


College of Engineering Welcomes New Faculty Staff, Students, and Alumni

The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology maintains a machine shop with comprehensive facilities available to Michigan Tech students. The shop also offers machining and fabrication services for the university research community. Students and a faculty member examine a large drill in the machine shop.
The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology at Michigan Tech, recently joined College of Engineering. MMET maintains a machine shop with comprehensive facilities available to Michigan Tech students. The shop also offers machining and fabrication services for the university research community.

As of July 1, the College of Engineering welcomes the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and advisory board members associated with the degree programs of Surveying Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Construction Management, and Integrated Geospatial Technology.

The surveying engineering and integrated geospatial technology programs join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). The construction management program will be jointly administered by the School of Business and Economics and CEE.

The mechanical engineering technology (MET) program will be housed in a new department in the College of Engineering, which will be named the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET).

Dean of the College of Engineering Janet Callahan has appointed Materials Science and Engineering Professor Walt Milligan to serve as interim chair effective July 1. Professor John Irwin will continue to support the MET program as associate chair. The MMET main office will be in the former School of Technology office (on the fourth floor of the EERC). Staff members Pam Washuleski and Danise Jarvey will continue in their roles as Office Assistant and Director of Academic Services, respectively.

In addition to advising for MMET, Danise will take on a college-level role in support of study abroad for undergraduate majors in the College of Engineering, working to identify, promote, and support study abroad programs that fit seamlessly into students’ plans of study.


Lift Bridge Wins Award, Snags Trailer⁠—Built to Last 

Portage Lake Lift Bridge is a double-deck, vertical lift bridge, the only one of its type in Michigan. Here shown with a blue sky and summer day in the background.
The monumental Portage Lake Lift Bridge—a double-deck, vertical lift bridge—is the only one of its type in Michigan.

The Portage Lake Bridge, or more commonly known as the Lift Bridge, was designated in May, 2019 as an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Michigan State Historic Civil Engineering Landmark of the Year. Built in 1959, the bridge provides a key role in connecting the Keweenaw’s local industries to the nation, and uses a first-of-its-kind intermediate lift span position. It also was an early example of accelerated bridge construction. 

The Lift Bridge is a double-deck vertical lift bridge⁠—the only one of its type in Michigan and uncommon nationwide. While the lower deck was originally used by trains; these days, snowmobiles roar through the lower deck in winter. This riveted steel bridge was built to support the Keweenaw’s copper mining and logging industries and to serve the nation’s need for copper and timber. So you might say, it’s built to carry heavy loads!

the Caterpillar motor in the boat Janet was in
One of two Caterpillar engines on Don’s boat.

I was invited one recent Friday to meet one of our civil engineering alumni from the class of ‘66, Donald R. Anderson. He was docked in Hancock, just east of the Lift Bridge, traveling with his son, up from Grand Haven. They were in town waiting for the extended family, to arrive and spend a few weeks together on the boat as they worked their way through the Apostle Islands area. We were chatting, taking a look at the engines, and enjoying some local cider when BAM! A very loud boom sounded from the Lift Bridge. We all turned to watch as a tandem trailer loaded with trailers pulled to a halt. Over the next hour, inspections of the rig, and bridge seemed to happen while we looked up from below with high-tech binoculars and speculated about the impact. We figured that being in tandem, one of the trailers rocked up just as the truck pulled through and snagged that edge a bit. The truck eventually pulled down and around and took time to do a safety check just behind the marina.

A section of the lift bridge is shown with a tandem trailer loaded with trailers inside
A tandem trailer loaded with trailers comes to a halt on the Lift Bridge

On my way home, pedaling across the bridge I stopped and took a few images. You can see how there is a bit of battered metal at the leading edge on the Houghton side. No easy way to tell what marks are new or old from down on the ground (and I am a metallurgist). My assessment⁠—that bridge was built to last. I bet it will still be in use for its 100th anniversary. They build things to last up here in the Keweenaw. And remember your metallurgy: steel can plastically deform and even strengthen as a result of the increased number of dislocations.

underside of Portage Lake Lift Bridge
Lift Bridge wear and tear 

Dr. Tess Ahlborn, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University, working with two recent civil engineering masters of science graduates Emma Beachy and Michael Prast, submitted the application of Lift Bridge for Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Award at both the state and national levels. While Lift Bridge has now won the state ASCE Landmark of the Year award, the jury’s still out on the national level award. You can read more about the Lift Bridge here.

Thank you Tess, Emma and Michael, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for the 300 pages of historical content that supported the nomination.

Dr. Tess Ahlborn, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Center for Structural Durability at Michigan Tech

Mining Engineering: The Best of Both Worlds

Julie (Varichak) Marinucci earned her Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2002. She is now Mineral Development Specialist at St. Louis County Land and Minerals Department in Hibbing, Minnesota.
Julie (Varichak) Marinucci earned her Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2002. She is now Mineral Development Specialist at St. Louis County Land and Minerals Department in Hibbing, Minnesota.

After a 15-year break, Mining Engineering officially returns to Michigan Tech, with BS, MS, and PhD degree programs and cutting-edge research. Learn more online

Julie Marinucci earned her Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from Michigan Tech in 2002. She knew early on that mining would enable her to work globally, but also return home someday to northern Minnesota and have a good career there, too. Turns out, she was right.

What fostered your own path to studying and working in mining?
Mining Engineering kind of landed in my lap. I knew I wanted to be an engineer of some type and that I wanted to work outdoors. Civil Engineering seemed like the most likely choice, but then I met Murray Gillis, a mining engineering instructor at Michigan Tech. Murray was at a local college fair and he sparked my curiosity, not just in Michigan Tech, but also in Mining Engineering. My campus visit, and spending the summer after high school working in a mine, sealed the deal!

Describe some challenges that you face in your work.
The biggest challenge is the general misunderstanding of the mining industry. Many people do not understand the amount of care that goes into extracting minerals for the conveniences and protections we as a society have come to expect. Mining considers the full lifecycle of the land, careful consideration of the environmental conditions prior to mining, efficient extraction of the minerals of interest, and thoughtful reclamation with the next generation of land use in mind. I have always thought a big part of my job is to ensure the general public understands the efforts taken in developing a mine.

What has changed the most in mining engineering over the course of your career?
The continuous evolution of technology in mine planning has been fun to watch. Operations are now utilizing drone technology and laser scanning to manage pit operations, blast efficiency, ore grading, and more. I had the opportunity to work with engineers early in my career who had the large map tables and boxes of colored pencils. Fast forward now to laser scanners, drones, remote equipment monitoring, and more!

What changes do you expect to see in the future of mining?
I expect to see the way we work in mining to evolve, and look to more flexible work arrangements that will bring in a more diverse workforce. The days where you must be at your 1950’s steel desk working from 6 am to 6 pm will evolve into the ability to work remotely. It will allow for a different type of operational accessibility while providing for better balance in life.

What is your most surprising experience as a mining engineer to date?
When I started down the journey to become a mining engineer, I envisioned working my way through an operation in a very technical role. Through the years, I found that my degree has allowed me to reinvent myself many times over.

I started my career with Caterpillar in a marketing position. It was completely unexpected, but Cat was looking for someone who could understand the equipment, understand the mining industry, and effectively communicate with clients. What a great job! I went on to enjoy many roles at Cleveland Cliffs iron mining operations, where I learned to be an engineer, manage operation crews in the pit, and had the great learning experience of working at a greenfield operation in Canada (with a language barrier!). When I decided to leave Cliffs, I discovered the contacts I had made, along with understanding of mining operations, positioned me well for a career in consulting. My time with Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. working in business development for mining and heavy industry taught me how to assemble a team to help solve problem and deliver a successful project.  Then came my current role, with St. Louis County—a brand new position created to ensure that the vast mineral wealth held within the county was protected. The chance to define the job and lay out the mining and mineral strategy for the county was too good to pass up. St. Louis County holds world class iron, copper and nickel deposits, to name a few, and has a long mining history of over 130 years. As Mineral Development Specialist, I work closely with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and local mining and exploration companies and communities, to ensure we are responsibly moving mining forward for the benefit of the region and the Tax Forfeited Land Trust.

Why do you think it was important to reinstate the mining engineering degree program at Michigan Tech?
Michigan Tech was founded as a mining engineering school and the demand that was created in 1858 still holds true today. Michigan Tech is positioned strategically near two large mining districts with growing interest in mineral development. The need for qualified mining professionals to move these project forward is great. The alumni network is willing to support these students through their education to ensure they have the best start possible.

Why should a student enter the field of mining engineering now?
The need for skilled mining engineers that love our region and want to stay, work and raise a family is strong, while the nationwide and global demand continues to grow. Mining in not for the faint of heart, but if you can weather the storm it’s a fulfilling career with many ways to leverage a mining engineering degree.

What are the greatest rewards and challenges mining engineers face now, and will face in the future?
Mining engineers should be proud to know that they are part of the fabric that maintains our quality of life, helps to grow our food, provides the materials for our ever-expanding tech advances, and keeps our families safe. This role in our modern life is not well-understood, but it’s a very important role. The future has great potential to continue to move our industry into next levels of efficiency, safe production, beneficial reuse of waste streams—and maybe mining the moon! The stars are the limit!

What’s next in your career?
I look forward to continuing to explore the opportunity to manage the land for mineral development, while planning for beneficial reuse of the land and the residuals. The ability to make an impact in my backyard is exciting and I look forward to evolving the role and myself over the years.


Assistant Dean Lawrence Sutter Named as a Fellow by ASTM International

Lawrence L. Sutter P.E., Assistant Dean of Research and External Relations, College of Engineering, Michigan Tech
Lawrence L. Sutter P.E., Assistant Dean of Research and External Relations, College of Engineering, Michigan Tech

ASTM International’s committee on concrete and concrete aggregates (C09) has presented its top annual award – the Award of Merit – to Lawrence L. Sutter P.E., assistant dean of research and external relations in the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech. The prestigious award, which includes the accompanying title of fellow, is ASTM’s highest recognition for individual contributions to developing standards.

The committee honored Sutter’s meritorious service and respected technical expertise, outstanding leadership and exemplary professionalism, and strong commitment to the pursuit of standards development in the areas of research, petrography, and supplementary cementitious materials. The committee recognized him as being a valuable resource and advocate for the responsible use of sustainable materials in concrete mixtures and as a forward-thinking leader in integrating new and developing technologies into new and existing standards.

An ASTM International member since 2002, Sutter is also a member of the committees on cement (C01), manufactured masonry units (C15), and road and paving materials (D04). He has previously been honored with four Awards of Appreciation from the committee on concrete and concrete aggregates, as well as one from the committee on cement (C01).

In addition to ASTM International, Sutter is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute, and a member of the Transportation Research Board and the National Concrete Consortium. Read the full story here.