All posts by rbarnard

Supermileage Team Succeeds with New Design

Students work on the Michigan Tech Supermileage vehicle

 

Michigan Technological University’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise Team had a successful showing in the recent SAE Supermileage Competition held June 6-8 in Marshall, Michigan. The Michigan Tech team was one of 30 from the U.S., Canada, Lebanon, Mexico, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. Lawrence Tech was the only other Michigan team in the competition. 

SAE Supermileage is an engineering design competition for undergraduate and graduate students. It provides participants with the opportunity to enhance their engineering design and project management skills by applying classroom theories in a challenging competition. 

The engineering design goal is to develop and construct a single-person, fuel-efficient vehicle that complies with the competition rules. The vehicles complete a specified course to obtain the highest combined miles per gallon rating. Students were also required to submit a design segment consisting of a written report and verbal presentation. For the second straight year Michigan Tech earned first place in design, scoring 410 out a possible 500 points based on written and oral presentations. 

Of the 30 teams registered, Tech was one of only 14 to make it successfully through the inspection process, finishing 10th overall. 

Rick Berkey, professor of practice in Tech’s Pavlis Honors College and Supermileage Systems Enterprise advisor, said this year’s vehicle was completely new and the result of a two-year design and build schedule. He said in the past year alone, the 26-student team logged more than 5,000 hours on the project. 

Berkey said the design prize came with a trophy and $500 but no new world record. “Despite several attempts on the track we were unable to complete a full mileage run,” Berkey said. “We narrowed our issues to engine tuning due to inconsistency in the signal from our crank position sensor. We also struggled to maintain chain tension. Both of these issues are priorities for design improvements and testing in 2020.”

Berkey said manufacturing the new composite body and chassis required the team to make custom molds, which alone took hundreds of hours. “Our team showed great dedication and perseverance to stay positive and work together. Despite our struggles on the track, every student member of Supermileage Systems Enterprise has furthered their learning and personal/professional development through an experience that simply cannot be duplicated in the classroom. By this measure we had a very successful year and can look back with pride on our accomplishments. Needless to say we are hungrier than ever to get back to competition in 2020!” 


Michigan Tech Awarded $40,000 Grant from DENSO for STEM Education

Denso logoMichigan Technological University, a leading educational institution, received a $40,000 grant from the world’s second largest mobility supplier DENSO for programs focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The grant, which is made possible by the company’s philanthropic arm, DENSO North America Foundation (DNAF), is one of 26 grants awarded by DENSO in 2019 to colleges and universities throughout North America. The donations are part of DENSO’s broader efforts to cultivate tomorrow’s workforce and prepare young thinkers to lead a new era of innovation.

Michigan Tech Enterprise logoRick Berkey, professor of practice and director of the Enterprise Program in the Pavlis Honors College, states, “We are extremely grateful to the DENSO North America Foundation for their strategic investment in Michigan Tech students. The automotive industry needs well-rounded engineering graduates with hands-on experience in vehicle design and development, powertrain controls, manufacturing, and data analytics. This grant helps provide these experiences for the 125+ students enrolled in Michigan Tech’s Advanced Motorsports (AMS) Enterprise teams.”

Grants were awarded to programs focused on design, materials management, mechanical and electrical engineering principles, thermodynamics, robotics and more. With this grant, Michigan Tech plans to provide continued support to the AMS teams who compete annually in SAE International’s Collegiate Design Series — namely Baja SAE, Clean Snowmobile Challenge, Formula SAE, and SAE Supermileage. The grant will help fund the purchase of a state-of-the art CNC control system to retrofit one of several manual mills used extensively by undergraduate students for vehicle fabrication and manufacturing lab courses. The Blizzard Baja Enterprise will use a portion of this grant to continue hosting the annual Winter Baja Invitational, a competition that attracts nearly 50 vehicles from more than 20 universities to Michigan Tech’s snowy campus each February. Finally, this grant will strengthen Michigan Tech’s focus on data analytics education by supporting an Enterprise project that explores technology obsolescence of automotive electronics and the impacts on purchasing and supply chain decisions made by automotive manufacturers.

DNAF has supported STEM education through grants at colleges and universities since 2001, enabling students to access tools, technology and experiences that better prepare them for technical careers after graduation. DENSO education grant proposals are invite-only and evaluated based on technical merit, student experience, and alignment with industry needs.

“Investing in tomorrow’s workforce is critical to ensuring we have individuals who are equipped to help DENSO fulfill its vision of creating software and products that enhance safety and reduce environmental impact,” said Bill Foy, senior vice president of Engineering at DENSO and a DENSO North American Foundation board member. “Through these grants, we hope to create a generation of innovators who inspire new value for the future of mobility.”

About Michigan Tech

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Its campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

About DENSO

DENSO is a $48.3 billion global mobility supplier that develops advanced technology and components for nearly every vehicle make and model on the road today. With manufacturing at its core, DENSO invests in its 221 facilities in 35 countries to produce thermal, powertrain, mobility, electrification, & electronic systems, to create jobs that directly change how the world moves. The company’s 170,000+ employees are paving the way to a mobility future that improves lives, eliminates traffic accidents, and preserves the environment. Globally headquartered in Kariya, Japan, DENSO spent 9.3 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019. For more information about global DENSO, visit https://www.denso.com/global.     

In North America, DENSO employs 27,000+ engineers, researchers and skilled workers across 31 sites in the U.S, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs 17,000+ employees across 13 states and 25 sites. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, in fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, DENSO in North America generated $10.9 billion in consolidated sales. Join us, and craft not only how the world moves, but also your career. For more information, go to https://www.denso.com/us-ca/en/.