Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems

  • Fall 2023

    Presentations will take place at Floyd Hall in room D-201.

    Optimizing Flow Racks for Enhanced Safety and Productivity\

    9 to 9:25 a.m.     

    Team Members:
    Joshua Kyalangalilwa
    Abriana Littleton

    Sponsor:
    American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc.

    Faculty Advisors:
    Dr. Timothy Greene
    Dana Hammond

    To improve space utilization and reduce material costs, American Axle and Manufacturing (AAM) targeted two hours of line-side material storage. Product usage and existing flow rack design were analyzed to determine current issues with the flow rack's capacity, usability, and safety. Using operator input, ergonomics analysis, and material planning techniques, updated flow racks were proposed and reviewed for further development to address usability, space, and cost opportunities. The updated flow racks allow AAM to better utilize line-side space while maintaining operator safety.

    Hot and Fried: Hot Friability Tester for Green Sand

    9:30 to 9:55 a.m.  

    Team Members:
    John Goheen
    Gage Berkenpas
    Ryan Varney

    Sponsor:
    Dr. Sam Ramrattan, Sinto North America Inc.

    Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Sam Ramrattan

    In metal casting, the reliability of any good casting is determined by the sand quality.  WMU has been creating a new method of real-time data collection by using a prototype high-temp sand tester to replicate the conditions in a foundry.  This project improved upon a previous prototype to make it industry ready.

    Metal 3D Printed Mold Venting

    10 to 10:25 a.m.

    Team Members:
    Matthew Miles
    Riley Browne
    David Owen

    Sponsor:
    HL&S Consulting

    Faculty Advisor:
    Jay Shoemaker

    One of the main issues with the plastic injection molding process is venting the mold to release gases trapped inside. Specifically designed 3D printed inserts were created to explore a new method of exhausting air from the mold cavity. This innovative solution incorporates small spaces within the mold insert to allow optimal venting. The results show the effectiveness of this venting process at reducing part defects, along with vent size recommendations. Analyzing the test specimen’s performance allows for the redefinition of how molds are traditionally vented.

    Innovation with Carbon Fiber: Creating Lasting Bonds

    10:30 to 10:55 a.m.

    Team Members:
    Jonathon Fallis
    Jason Gruizinga
    Nick Hanson

    Sponsor:
    Dr. Mitchel J Keil, Western Michigan University

    Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Mitchel J Keil

    The project started with a simple question: can WMU use innovative materials to excel in their FormulaSAE© and Sunseeker vehicles racing teams? Carbon fiber is a material synonymous with lightweight and impressive strength characteristics compared to other materials such as aluminum and steel.  Developing a method to bond carbon fiber to their complementary metal components was the main objective. Research, prototyping, documentation, and testing were the main efforts of the project, utilizing tensile testing and various methods of bonding to establish the baseline for future generations of WMU vehicles.

    Interactive 3D Printed Slide Puzzle

    11 to 11:25 a.m.

    Team Members:
    Trevor Kent
    Reid Shamus
    Jake Wassink

    Sponsor:
    Western Michigan University

    Faculty Advisor: 
    Allin Kahrl

    To display Western’s engineering and design capabilities an interactive slide puzzle was designed, assembled, and mounted to be available for public use. Multiple 3D printers were used along with CAD software to create a perfectly functioning puzzle. The overall sign dimension was 3 feet by 3 feet, consisting of 16 tiles.  The final product also allows for swapping of tiles if new promotional material is wanted. The objective of the project is to display how Western Michigan engineering students can overcome common design problems through prototyping and finally increase interest in what Western Engineering has to offer.

    Reusable Floss Pick Design

    11:30 to 11:55 a.m.

    Team Members:
    Gordon Mylranak
    Austin Johnson
    Nick Garvale

    Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Jorge Rodriguez

    The increasing waste of polymer-based products continues to grow. For an eco-friendly solution, a reusable floss pick has been designed to cut down the waste from the consumers of dental hygiene products. Following the engineering design process, a working prototype was developed from group brainstorming and tested in real-world scenarios to ensure ease of use and functionality above all. Computer aided design software was used to determine modeling and analysis.

    Xplore.0 RC Car Redesigned for Industry 4.0

    1 to 1:25 p.m.     

    Team Members:
    Andrew Lee
    Brian Schafer
    Liam Bullister

    Sponsors:
    Dr. Lee J Wells, Western Michigan University
    Dr. Jim Burns, Western Michigan University

    Faculty Advisor:
    Dr. Lee J Wells
    Dr. Jim Burns

    The Xplore.0 lab, designed by Dr. Wells and Dr. Burns, simulates the process of an Industry 4.0 assembly line with the use of RC cars. Issues arose surrounding the quality and assembly/disassembly of the RC cars that were used. With the use of computer aided design and the engineering design process, a new RC car was developed that effectively met the needs of the lab and is manufacturable by processes at WMU.

  • Spring 2023

    Presentations will be held at Floyd Hall in room D-210.

     

    Standardizing the 3D Printing Process

    9 to 9:25 a.m.

    Team members

    • Trey Hall
    • Braydon Marcissuk
    • Colin Mieden
    • Daniel O’Hara

    Sponsor

    • Allin Kahrl, Western Michigan University

    Faculty advisors

    • Tarun Gupta, Ph.D.
    • Dana Hammond

    The 3D printing lab at Western Michigan University’s Engineering Campus continues to grow, indicating a need to optimize and standardize the printing process. The printing lab requires quick and reliable intake, planning and processing of prints; previously based on manual systems. Process flow was evaluated and benchmarked to develop and test a dynamic and user-friendly system. Using the overhauled 3D printing management system, with a responsive scheduling and job tracking process, allows for a more effective and productive lab for student and faculty use.


    XPLORE.0 Lab Improvement & Overhaul

    9:30 to 9:55 a.m.

    Team members

    • Daniel Gron
    • Evan Linenberg
    • Jacob Olsted
    • Tommaso Palazzolo

    Sponsor

    • Western Michigan University

    Faculty advisor

    • Jim Burns, Ph.D.
    • Lee Wells, Ph.D.

    The Xplore.0 Lab (X.0) is a student-developed space allowing participants to combine Industry 4.0 concepts with engineering and technology related manufacturing principles. The X.0 Lab must continuously advance to keep pace with industry. In this project, improvements to the current RC car assembly process were developed by applying work design and lean manufacturing concepts including updated fixtures, clearer work instructions, and improved management systems. The lab was also improved in collaboration with a Computer Science team and features a visual quality check and inventory alert system. The results of the project include a multi-use lab space with a functioning assembly line that can be incorporated into engineering and technology lab activities to engage and enhance hands-on learning.


    Die Casting in a Box 4.0

    10 to 10:25 a.m.

    Team members

    • Andrew Broski
    • Andrew Folgers
    • Matt Steger
    • Austin VanAelst

    Sponsors

    • NADCA

    Faculty advisors

    • Sam Ramrattan, Ph.D.
    • Shantanu Phalke

    The manufacturing industry is rapidly implementing automation, which requires continuous improvement of training aids and educational tools.  The current 1:16 scale industrial die casting equipment used at Western Michigan University (WMU) was updated to produce 10 consecutive castings without human intervention. The fourth iteration of this project strives to automize the process and make it ready for Industry 4.0 by updating the PLC, adding sensors, and prototyping tooling to develop an automated casting process. Die Casting in a Box 4.0 advances the current teaching aid to show the implementation of Industry 4.0 within the die casting industry.


    Icarus Model Rocket

    10:30 to 10:55 a.m.

    Team members

    • Dane Armbrustmacher
    • Gabe Austin
    • Maximilian Bystry
    • Thomas Ruffino

    Faculty advisor

    • Allin Kahrl

    The Icarus Model Rocket is an opportunity to showcase the education and resources available at Western Michigan University (WMU) and inspire future Bronco Engineers. Using computer aided design (CAD) software and WMU’s new Icarus 3D printer, a three-foot model rocket was designed, tested, and launched following national regulations for model rocketry. A static launch pad was designed and built specifically for assistance in launch and project development. The Icarus Model Rocket project will help ‘launch’ the engineering and technical skills developed at WMU to the next generation of students.

  • Fall 2022

    Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems
    Session Chair – Dana Hammond
    Room D-201 

    Acquisition of real-world data for process monitoring

    Student team: Alexander Pytel and Nicolas Wirpio
    Sponsor: Western Michigan University
    Faculty Advisor: Sam Ramrattan, Ph.D.
    9 a.m. – 9:25 a.m. 

    A course at Western Michigan University utilizes two separate systems to teach and demonstrate real-world issues related to process control, including data collection and analysis. An asynchronous system uses an erratic flow of marbles as products, and a synchronous system uses water to represent a continuous flow of material. The objective of this project is to remotely acquire data from these systems in order to apply various engineering tools for process monitoring, capability studies, and predictive analytics that are taught as part of the course. The systems were refined to provide relevant course data, classroom enrichment, and exposure to various forms of data acquisition and monitoring.

    Video of Acquisition of real-world data EDMM 4920 Fall 2022

    Synthesizing properties and results through data acquisition: moving toward industry 4.0

    Student team: Jamie Buchner, Ben Gramlich, Toby Mepham and Jalen Moore
    Sponsor: None
    Faculty Advisor: Sam Ramrattan, Ph.D.
    9:30 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. 

    Introducing relevant Industry 4.0 concepts into the classroom and providing hands-on experience are an important part of the engineering and technology curriculum at Western Michigan University. To further develop and enhance Industry 4.0 activities, a new system was designed and built to remotely analyze a set of marbles for key characteristics. The engineering design process was used to create prototype options and evaluate functionality, fit, reliability, and repeatability. The final product was fitted with five different sensors that would acquire and produce data in real time. Sensors were programmed to work in a systematic, sequential, and analytical manner and output data to an excel spreadsheet for analysis of this system. Future students will benefit from the hands-on nature and modularity of the system, being able to switch out sensors for different characteristics for the exposure to Industry 4.0 concepts. 

    Video of Synthesizing properties and results EDMM 4920 Fall 2022

    Development of outdoor furniture testing standards

    Student team: Reed Baker, Noah Burch, Branden Dasilva and Sophia Yoshida
    Sponsor: James Bucholtz, and Sean Weera, Landscape Forms Inc.
    Faculty Advisor: Jorge Rodriguez, Ph.D.
    10 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. 

    The standards applied to indoor furniture for quality and durability are applied differently to outdoor furniture. Without this information, how do you know the true quality of the outdoor furniture you are using? By observing indoor furniture testing standards and adjusting this for exterior installations,

    Landscape Forms received a complete publication of outdoor furniture testing standards from the WMU team. The research included observing usage of outdoor furniture and comparing it to indoor furniture usage at WMU's campus. The seven most used models from Landscape Forms were tested using the new standards. The compiled testing standards were then posted for public viewing on Landscape Forms' website as a steppingstone in officially creating industry standards for the outdoor furniture market.

    Video of LFI Standards EDMM 4920 Fall 2022

    Designing a truck-mounted apparatus to measure EPA of outdoor light fixtures

    Student team: Jaylen Boggerty, Josh Kuznicki, Alex Scheffers and Scott Seitz
    Sponsor: Dave MacKellar, Landscape Forms Inc.                       
    Faculty Advisor: Jorge Rodriguez, Ph.D.
    10:30 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.

    The weight and the Effective Projected Area (EPA) of light fixtures is used to specify the appropriate pole material for a desired height. Currently computer-based simulations are used to estimate EPA. To validate these simulation findings. a vehicle mounted apparatus was developed. Through the utilization or the engineering design process, an initial concept was developed and refined; CAD software was used to develop a model for further analysis. Real-world conditions were considered to ensure proper functionality and safety. The finalized testing apparatus considers the drag force, air pressure, humidity, temperature, and wind speed. to accurately calculate EPA. EPA can confidently be specified for sale installation of outdoor lighting products.

    Video of LFI Truck Mount EPA Device EDMM 4920 Fall 2022

    Adjustable load testing machine

    Student team: Dylan Ketelhut, Zack Morse, Donny Nowak and Drew Scarff
    Sponsor: Jake Meyers, Landscape Forms Inc.
    Faculty Advisor: Jorge Rodriguez, Ph.D.
    11 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.

    Landscape Forms specialize in the design and build of outdoor furniture. Currently the testing process is conducted outside of the organization. However, Landscape Forms would like to bring the testing in-house to save time and money. The engineering design process was applied, utilizing CAD tools, to design furniture testing equipment to perform drop and pull tests on chairs, benches, tables and more. The testing system was engineered based on safety, east of use, durability, portability, and cost. The furniture testing machine gives Landscape Forms the ability to conduct product research and develop current and future products all in one facility.

    Video of LFI Product Testing Device EDMM 4920 Fall 2022

    MAGBIKE—investment cast magnesium bicycle frame

    Student team: Leah Fernandez, Tanner Schember, Connor Schuitema and Ean Widmayer
    Sponsor: None
    Faculty Advisors: Robert Tuttle, Ph.D., and Dana Hammond
    11:30 a.m. -11:55 a.m. 

    To bridge the gap between the performance and cost or a traditionally manufactured frame, this project entailed designing and creating an investment cast prototype magnesium alloy bicycle frame. Magnesium costs less than carbon fiber, and the material properties are superior to aluminum. By using casting, the frame is created as one process without the need for welding, as done in standard frame manufacturing. First, the team researched market trends, determined design options, and created a solid model of the frame. Next, the frame was analyzed via finite element analysis (FEA) and casting simulations. Then, the physical frame was cast via

    investment casting. Finally, a cost analysis was constructed to compare the proposed manufacturing route and material to the traditional welding approach. The goal was to have an economically feasible frame for the endurance cycling market.

    Video of MagBike EDMM4920 F22

    Portable hybrid metal 3D printer and machining center

    Student team: James Colman, Josh Martin, Bob Stoner and Coley Spicuzza
    Sponsor: Western Michigan University
    Faculty Advisors: Pavel Ikonomov, Ph.D. and Michael Konkel
    1 p.m. – 1:25 p.m.

    Innovations in traditional 3D plastic printing have given Western Michigan University faculty members inspiration to integrate automated welding and machining into a patented hybrid 3D metal printing process located in Kalamazoo, MI. While several metal 3D printing prototypes were built, a smaller, portable system is essential to demonstrate and share these capabilities with others. The system design consisted of a custom-built CNC milling machine integrated with a Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) gun controlled by an actuator arm. Following construction, testing was required to determine tolerances and capabilities of the equipment. Constructing a portable version of this technology allows WMU to more easily demonstrate innovative 3D metal printing capabilities to the outside world as well as expand teaching or research opportunities for students.

    Video of Portable 3D Hybrid Metal Printer EDMM 4920 Fall 2022

    SMART manufacturing through robotics and CNC integration

    Student team: Jeremy Hoy, JR Sheriff, Will Surls and Blake VanDeusen
    Sponsor: Western Michigan University
    Faculty Advisor: Pavel Ikonomov, Ph.D.
    1:30 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.

    Robotics is utilized in manufacturing to increase productivity and efficiency while lowering production costs. As a result, the demand for engineers with experience in this field continues to increase rapidly. To meet this demand. Western Michigan University (WMU) has begun to create tools to teach concepts related to smart manufacturing. To integrate robotics into manufacturing labs and give students a hands-on experience. A robot was integrated with a desktop CNC milling machine and part delivery system, all of which can be controlled remotely. The smart system was developed by researching, designing, building, programming, testing, and revising components and the overall work cell. This robotic system allows for self-sustained continuous production that can be controlled remotely, enhancing the smart manufacturing curriculum at WMU.

    Video of Smart Manufacturing EDMM 4920 Fall 2022
     

    Reducing costs in office furniture shipping

    Student team: Nicolas Berry, Da Von Gunn, Jacob Prowett and Nolan Zalucha
    Sponsor: Morgan Bujold and Jon Isch, Steelcase
    Faculty Advisor: Larry Mallak, Ph.D.
    2 p.m. – 2:25 p.m.

    Receiving a damaged product is a hassle for everyone, but what does it look like through the eyes of a company? How can companies better understand risks associated with different shipping modes? Using past claim information, standard shipping modes for a Fortune 500 firm that specializes in office furniture were analyzed. Claims from shipping directly to site, to dealer warehouse, and through a third party were reviewed for risk assessment. Based on the probability of damage. as well as costs related to the claims. each shipping category was evaluated to determine preferred shipping modes. Recommendations were formulated to reduce damage incidents along with costs.

    Video of Steelcase Shipping EDMM 4920 Fall 2022
  • Spring 2022

    Tricycle Retrofit for Fluid Power

    • Project design guidelines set by the National Fluid Power Association were followed for the Fluid Powered Vehicle Challenge to build a competitive vehicle that is safe, functional, reliable, and efficient. The engineering design process was utilized for product development, implementation of Computer Aided Drafting, and testing fluid circuit designs. Efficiency was calculated based on power output, weight, and other vehicle attributes resulting in a vehicle that met competition requirements. This project was a hands-on development experience that combined knowledge of physical product design and fluid power circuitry to create a safe and competitive vehicle.

    Team members

    • Jake Hermann
    • Dane Hoffman
    • John Hughes
    • Hannah St. Clair

    Sponsors

    • Danfoss Power Solutions
    • Eaton Corporations
    • Iowa Fluid Power
    • Lubrizol

    Faculty advisors

    • Dr. Alamgir Choudhury 
    • Dr. Jorge Rodriguez

    Video of Tricycle Retrofit for Fluid Power - Senior Design Presentation

    Sunseeker Portable Tire Changer 

    The Western Michigan University Sunseeker team required a method for emergency tire changes during competition. The need for portability and use of carbon fiber wheels limited the team to use more specialized tools than the conventional tire changing methods available. Using the engineering design process to generate ideas and evaluating concepts, a functional prototype was fabricated. Testing equipment helped further refine the design, resulting in a touchless tire changing process. The Sunseeker Team as well as others using carbon fiber wheels can use this method to change tires without the risk of damage.

    Team members

    • Ivan Gallegos 
    • Corey Schittenhelm 
    • Jack Wittman  
    • Josh Scheil

    Faculty advisor

    • Dr. Mitchel J. Keil

    Video of Sunseeker Portable Tire Changer - Senior Design Presentation

    Enhanced Chicken Feeding Device

    The most widely used, non-commercial chicken feeders are simple and inexpensive products that effectively feed chickens. However, they allow a considerable amount of waste from fallen feed, pest and rodent access, and exposure to weather. Following the engineering design process and using Computer Aided Design software, preliminary solutions were proposed, analyzed, and compared to select an initial candidate for prototyping. Testing was conducted with a live chicken flock to evaluate the performance of the proposed design and subsequent alterations.  The final design incorporates the features that improve the overall performance of the feeder compared to current market options.

    Team members

    • Benjamin Kolar
    • Samuel Rueckert
    • Meredith Somerville

    Faculty advisor

    • Dr. Jorge Rodriguez

    Video of Enhanced Chicken Feeding Device - Senior Design Presentation

    Jolting the Closing Process at Chick-fil-A

    Fast food restaurants rely on efficient process-focused tasks and people to execute those tasks. In the current labor market, high school students and young adults constitute the ranks of fast-food restaurants. Getting them home at a reasonable hour (especially on a school night) requires well-designed processes and plans for execution. Many current processes are people-dependent, resulting in a high variability of task completion times. New procedures have been optimized using techniques from lean manufacturing and scientific work methods to reduce task times, promote higher consistency in the process, and simplify nightly closing time tasks. This results in saving each individual establishment time and money that compounds over time. And their employees get home faster after closing time.

    Team members

    • Cory Scholler
    • Danyelle Thomas
    • Josh Wasil
    • Bei Yu

    Sponsor

    • Chick-fil-A

    Faculty advisor

    • Dana Hammond

    Video of Jolting the Closing Process at Chick-fil-A - Senior Design Presentation

    Design Innovation of 3D Hybrid Metal Printer

    The previous 3D Hybrid Metal printer, although functional, needed an update to increase productivity. Equipment cycle time was hindered by slow tool swapping speeds and multiple computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program codes. Using computer-aided design (CAD) software, traditional 3D printing, machining and fabrication, an updated tool holder was designed and implemented to decrease the 3D metal printing process. The new design of the 3D Hybrid Metal Printer features an automatic tool changer that can be programmed in the default coordinate system.

    Team members

    • Sean Davey
    • Tyler Hilkens
    • Jordan Singleton
    • Samuel Sinicki

    Faculty advisor

    • Dr. Pavel Ikonomov

    Video of Design Innovation of 3D Hybrid Metal Printer - Senior Design Presentation

    WMU Main Campus Parking Structure

    Currently, there is a problem on Western Michigan University’s main campus, specifically surface parking lot 72 adjacent to the Haworth College of Business. The limited number of parking spaces causes students to be late or not even attend classes. Utilizing the Engineering Design Process, a proposed parking structure was developed by using design, scheduling, and estimating software. In collaboration with the Civil and Construction Engineering program, the structure was designed following professional engineering practices, adheres to Michigan building codes and specifications and utilizes precast concrete to ensure timely substantial completion. The suggested facility will provide upgraded parking options and increase mobility to WMU’s main campus community.

    Team members

    • Brendan P Graham
    • Andy J Oviedo
    • Faris F Zayed

    Sponsor

    • Andrew Kong, Senior Manager of Restoration, Wantman Group, Inc. (WGI)

    Faculty advisor

    Dana Hammond

    Video of WMU Main Campus Parking Structure

    Cost Efficient 3D Printed Mold for Thermoforming

    Current thermoform molds are expensive, and time consuming to make, and obtaining a machined mold causes a significant financial impact for small companies. The engineering design process was used to test the current capabilities of the 3D printed prototype and analyze the deterioration of the mold over the course of continuous runs. An updated model and a vacuum table, which created the suction for the mold, was then made using Computer Aided Design (CAD). The updated mold was then tested to get accurate data on the deterioration over the course of thermoforming. From this an efficient process for creating a cost-effective mold for thermoforming was determined.

    Team members

    • Julianna Buck
    • Chris Frego
    • ZeRajha Smith

    Faculty advisors

    • Michael Green
    • Jay Shoemaker

    Video of Cost Efficient 3D Printed Mold for Thermoforming - Senior Design Presentation