Day: December 16, 2022

Chocolate Anyone? Announcing the 3rd Annual Zachary Richard Podkul ’18 MET Design Challenge

Who doesn’t like chocolate around the holidays? For the third annual Zachary R. Podkul Design Challenge, MET students are tasked with developing a mold to make their own chocolates. The process involves first designing a 3D CAD model of the finished chocolate—Michigan Tech related, of course!

Zach and his mom together on Mt. Ripley. Read more about Zachary R. Podkul Design Challenge here.

The MMET AM facility will 3D print patterns of all entries on the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament. The students will create a flask made of poster board strips to hold the food safe silicone mold material and 3D printed patterns of the chocolates.

The students will remove their silicone mold from the flask. Fill the mold with melted chocolate, then freeze to perfection.

MMET Faculty judges will rate the student’s work on the following criteria:

  • 3D CAD Model – Utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features
  • Originality – Unique and innovative design representative of Michigan Tech
  • Quality – Uniformity, strength and surface finish
  • Manufacturability – Ability for chocolate to be easily formed in mold
  • Detail – The chocolate conforms to the mold intended design
Finally, the finished product will be ready for judging and eating (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!)

Three winners will be announced on April 19, 2023 with the prize going towards Fall 2023 tuition.
First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $250

MMET Graduate Program Adds New Options

Students and faculty hard at work on the Parker fluid power equipment

There are now two options in the MMET Department for students who want to pursue graduate studies after receiving their undergraduate degrees: Graduate Certificates and Master’s degrees. 

“Our graduate students now represent 20 percent of our overall enrollment in the MMET Department,” says chair John Irwin. “This growth impacts our course offerings, lab needs, and research space. This is positive in most respects, although it presents certain challenges. We welcome the continued support from the friends of  the department.” 

MMET has been offering a multidisciplinary MS in Mechatronics for some time now, but new this fall is the department’s own MS in Manufacturing Engineering

Each of the MMET Department’s Manufacturing Engineering graduate courses are also offered online for any remote learners pursuing an advanced degree while employed. 

The Graduate Certificate in Fluid Power Mechatronics is composed of four courses totaling 10 credits. “Fluid power engineering is growing nationwide and globally. It has a major downstream economic impact because thousands of companies in the US depend on fluid power,” Irwin explains. “According to a 2021 National Fluid Power Association Industry Brief, these companies are estimated to employ more than 845,000 people representing more than $60 billion in annual payroll.”

Michigan Tech’s MMET Fluid Power Lab

Key Factors in Holistic Safety Systems is one of the courses required to earn the Mechatronics Graduate Certificate. It is also required to earn an MS in Mechatronics. “This course has tremendous support from industry, in particular from Donald Engineering and Ross Controls,” notes Irwin.  

Ross Controls Safety Working Demo

Ross Controls and Donald Engineering supplied working demonstration stands, to hold state-of-the-art safety equipment used in the safety industry. The equipment is used in the Safety course along with curriculum developed in partnership with Ross Controls. 

Associate Professor Scott Wagner attended safety training offered by Ross Controls at their Ferndale, Michigan facility. The training included a high-level introduction to fluid power and safety basics including LOTO standards followed by an in-depth and hands-on valve configuration review.