A group of recent Michigan Tech ME-EM graduates will compete against seven other finalists at the 2023 Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) on June 13, 2023.
A forum for students to share ideas, this competition supports interest in manufacturing and provides the manufacturing community with fresh perspectives on design. The Michigan Tech team competed against universities including Harvard, Northwestern, UC – Davis and University of Michigan to advance to the finals.
Competition faculty advisor Vinh Nguyen notes, “This is an impressive feat for our students to make it this far into the competition. I have no doubt that our students will perform well at the finals given their experience working in real-world environments from their time at Michigan Tech.”
The team’s project for an improved camshaft delivery system was created as part of ME-EM’s Senior Design program, a capstone option connecting students and industry through challenging projects that have an open-ended design solution. The industry customer, CWC-Textron, requested the assistance of Senior Capstone Design (SCD) Team 11 to improve the safety and efficiency of their Hemi camshaft line.
Due to the extreme conditions in which these camshafts are subjected during use, they endure the Selectively Austempered Ductile Iron (SADI) process to increase their mechanical properties. SADI castings are treated in a quick quench bath of molten salt, which can cause buildup that impacts the reliability of the hatch.
The team developed a solution for a reliable opening system with reduced risk to operators. The customer can expect a reduction in downtime resulting from the basket door being unable to open, with increases in worker safety.
The team’s prototype.
Improved hook mechanism designed by the team.
Team members participating in the competition are:
Dante Cardinali: Currently doing a manufacturing engineering internship in Muskegon. “I Intend to obtain a MBA at the University of Madonna along with continuing my athletic collegiate career. I either want to focus on leading an engineering team or hold a position in supply chain management on the administrative side.”
Jake Holwerda: “Having recently concluded my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech, I am eager to apply my knowledge and skills at JOST International as a newly appointed product engineer. In my position, I will be primarily focused on manufacturing as a member of the design team.”
Jack Pluta: “I’m transitioning into a full-time position as a process engineer at Excel Engineering in Fond du Lac, WI while pursuing my master’s in engineering management at Michigan Tech.”
Connar Christensen: “I am a Quality Engineer for Kohler Co., in Dallas, TX.”
“The Senior Capstone Design Program in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech strives to give students an experience more like their first job than their last class. We highly emphasize the early stage of solution development we call situational understanding—gaining an understanding of the people involved and the problems they battle. The CWC-Textron team did a fantastic job in that regard. Their solid understanding of the problem and of those in production who would work with their solution led to a highly functional yet very simple result. And that’s not an easy combination. Having owned a small machine shop, developed advanced cutting tools for high-volume production operations, and by way of that interacting with folks on the line, in tool rooms, and in the engineering offices, I can speak to the value and challenges of achieving functional simplicity in a manufacturing environment. They nailed it!”
The team will pitch their idea on June 13th along with seven other finalists. The finalist competition will take place at Rutgers University, this year’s host of the Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference. The top team will be awarded $1,000 followed by $750 and $500 for second and third place, respectively. We wish them the best of luck as they represent Michigan Tech and MEEM!