Engineering team finds success at regional castings competition

Contact: Cindy Wagner

Engineering students Levi Koebbe (left) and Rehan Manimaleth (right) with faculty advisor, Dr. Sam Ramrattan, show their winnings.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A team of Western Michigan University engineering students earned second place  and the Judge’s Most Innovative Process award at the student casting competition 2022 American Foundry Society Wisconsin Regional Conference in February. The team earned $1,000 for their second place and $1,600 for the Judge’s award as a result of their work.

MEET The Team

  • Sean Derrick, Ph.D. student in engineering and applied sciences
  • Juan Foo, master’s student in mechanical engineering
  • Levi Koebbe, undergraduate mechanical engineering major
  • Rehan Manimaleth, undergraduate mechanical engineering major

Koebbe and Manimaleth attended the conference and presented the metal casting process at the competition. They accepted the awards on behalf of the WMU-AFS Student Chapter. The team was advised by Dr. Sam Ramrattan, professor of engineering design, manufacturing and management systems.

“This was my first castings competition so the whole event was rewarding,” says Rehan. “But getting second place and the innovation award was definitely the most rewarding. Our professor, Dr. Sam (Ramrattan), was very helpful and provided guidance throughout the entire process.”

The team's castings project was to create a clamp set for docks. “My parents live on a lake, and I was walking by our dock's section castings and noticed that some were broken,” says Levi. “From there we developed our idea for the clamp set.”

The team designed the set and used two different rapid (digital) casting processes to produce two sets of molds: one from 3-D printed sand and another from a machine ceramic currently being developed at WMU. 

“The most exciting part of this competition for me was to learn about this new process of mold making. It was a very interesting process, and it was something that I never worked with before. Also seeing a part that started as a design and then became a finished casting was very rewarding. 

The earnings benefit the WMU student chapter of the American Foundry Society and will help finance future competition participation and other club expenses.

Watch for updates on this project as the team prepares for a national casting competition at the AFS Cast Expo and Congress in Columbus, Ohio, on April 23 to 26.

Learn more about Western's cast metals minor.