Engineers are fast studies, nab third spot in regional event
March 27, 2003
KALAMAZOO -- Able to work only during the final 10 days of a month-long competition, Western Michigan University engineering students grabbed third place and the admiration of the judges for their design prowess and ability to master new software.
The four-person engineering team from WMU ended up third in the Society for Manufacturing Engineers' annual Region 6 design competition that ended late last month and pitted the WMU group against college teams from across Michigan and Ontario. Each team was charged with building a radio-controlled car using EDS's 3D modeling software package, Unigraphics.
WMU team advisor Dr. Mitchel Keil, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, says the WMU team began with a disadvantage, because Unigraphics is not among the many computer-aided design programs available in WMU engineering labs. For several of the schools competing, he notes, Unigraphics is a staple of all four years of their undergraduate programs. Difficulty in loading the software at WMU for the beginning of the competition meant the WMU team ended up with only 10 days to learn how to use the tool and complete the assigned project.
"The folks from EDS told us they were just blown away by the team from Western and what it was able to accomplish in just 10 days," Keil says.
The competition concluded Feb. 22 in Lansing, Mich., with each student team presenting and demonstrating its design and showing motion in assembly using the Unigraphics software. The winning team was from Michigan State University. Second place was awarded to Macomb Community College.
The WMU group was led by team captain Jennifer L. Levandoski of Grand Rapids, Mich. The other team members were Danielle N. Durand of Carleton, Mich.; Erik M. Miller of Troy, Mich.; and Eric A. Day of Otsego, Mich.
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