Engineering Technical Communications Class Design Challenge Is No Bull!

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An undergraduate Engineering Technical Communications class recently had the unique opportunity to work with local industry leaders and create innovative designs to address a real need.  Students in a section of this Fall’s ENGR 2367 class piloted a collaborative educational model with representatives of Worthington Industries, a leader in the diversified metal manufacturing industry headquartered in central Ohio, and one of Worthington’s customers, Select Sires, a Plain City, Ohio-based industry leader in reproductive management solutions for dairy and beef producers.

An ENGR 2367 class design team shows their prototype for the design challenge.

An ENGR 2367 class design team shows their prototype for the design challenge.

The two companies presented their real-world problem to the class: they needed a vessel custom designed to effectively and safely transport hundreds of bull semen samples to farmers around the U.S.  Select Sires specializes in providing highly fertile, superior genetic products to enhance the productivity and profitability of their customers, dairy and beef producers.  The transportation of such a sensitive biological product faces many challenges, from temperature control to complex logistics management.  This challenge was not a typical assignment for the undergraduate students, who needed to quickly become knowledgeable about a broad range of topics including livestock breeding, shipping regulations, and the cost, use and limitations of raw materials such as stainless steel and expanded polystyrene.

A student design team presents their prototype to the audience.

A student design team presents their prototype to the audience.

The course was led by instructor Mary Faure, Director of the Engineering Technical Communications unit in the Department of Engineering Education, while the collaboration with Worthington Industries was facilitated by the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability staff at Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research (IMR), Dr. Jay Sayre, Assistant Vice President, and Kari Roth, Senior Technology Integrator.  This multidisciplinary pilot project attempted to fill gaps within the engineering curriculum by offering instruction and practice in communication through a high-quality, industry-led learning experience for students.  Industry partners engaged in conversations with students about their teams’ design responses to the problem, allowing the students to gain one-on-one attention from practicing engineers and to hone their interpersonal and communication skills while completing their projects.

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A student design team shares their proposal with the class and judges.

“Today’s engineering students need engaging, contextually-positioned technical communications, project management, entrepreneurial thinking, and teamwork instruction and practice in order to perform well in advanced discipline-specific engineering classes, internships, capstone, and in their entry level engineering positions,” said Faure.  “This project was designed to provide important skill-building through an authentic, hands-on experience, which today’s students crave, while fulfilling an essential component of the General Education curriculum.  It gives students a unique experience without adding credit hours to their curriculum or cost to their college expenses.”

 

“This wasn’t just a hypothetical situation… It was a very real problem and we talked to real engineers, real businessmen from real companies, to solve a real need.” – Ben Beecroft, second-year student, computer science and engineering

 

Student design groups were able to present their final designs at an evening event in the new Materials Innovation space on Kinnear Road.  Each group was given up to 15 minutes to present their vessel design to the judges, Dr. Bill Benson and Michael Luh from Worthington Industries, and Mel DeJarnette with Select Sires. The lively presentations included videos, prototypes, and many unique suggestions to best transport Select Sires’ bull semen samples across the country safely to its customers.  All teams received constructive feedback from the judges, who had the difficult task of selecting a winning design.  Worthington Industries generously provided gift cards to all members of the winning team – Alex Machtay, Matt Rowland, Robert Jankovsky, and Adam DeNise.

The winning student design team (Alex Machtay, Matt Rowland, Robert Jankovsky, and Adam DeNise) joined by judges Mel DeJarnette with Select Sires and Dr. Bill Benson and Michael Luh from Worthington Industries

The winning student design team (Alex Machtay, Matt Rowland, Robert Jankovsky, and Adam DeNise) joined by judges Mel DeJarnette with Select Sires and Dr. Bill Benson and Michael Luh from Worthington Industries

The industry partners who participated in the pilot said they enjoyed working with the students, were surprised and pleased at the quality of their projects, and would welcome continuing the collaboration in the future with another cohort. One student from this class is now being considered for a summer internship with Worthington Industries.

The hope is that the success of this authentic, interdisciplinary learning experience paves the way for an “integrated curriculum” that crosses college boundaries, offering students of all majors engaging, high-quality learning experiences that more accurately prepare students to be effective in the workplace or in graduate schools regardless of their disciplinary interests.

Participants in the student design presentations event included ENGR 2367 students, instructor Mary Faure, and representatives from Worthington Industries, Select Sires, and the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability program.

Participants in the student design presentations event included ENGR 2367 students, instructor Mary Faure, and representatives from Worthington Industries, Select Sires, and the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability program.

Plotting a Path to Innovation

Plotting a path to innovation

 

This article was contributed by the College of Engineering Communications office

 

 Becoming a commissioned designer for a client like The Ohio State University is an accomplishment sought out by many professional designers and engineers. One collection of undergraduate students is now adding this achievement to their resume.

 

The trio of second-year students—Tyler Bair (electrical and computer science engineering), Andrew Merz (materials science and engineering) and Phillip Merz (mechanical engineering)—recently imagined and built an innovative, interactive feature in the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) new Materials Innovation space, a central component of the Materials & Manufacturing for Sustainability discovery theme.

 

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The winners of the student design challenge with the feature wall in the Materials Innovation space, which they used to print a temporary welcome sign, Mona Lisa, and space shuttle.

 

 

Jay Sayre, assistant vice president at Ohio State and IMR’s director of innovation, wanted two things: an interesting feature to welcome guests and a way to engage undergrads in the process. “We work very closely with the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME),” he said. “So I knew they had a lot of really bright undergraduates working for them.”

 

Sayre and his colleagues at CDME and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) encouraged those bright undergrads to form teams over the summer and pitch their ideas to IMR’s leadership.

 

The only requirements were that the design had to contain a flat-screen display, a space to hold 3D sample products and clear identification that the space was dedicated to Materials Innovation.

 

This fall, IMR, in collaboration with Paul Reeder, Executive Director, CIE, completed renovation of 2,500 square feet in the Nanotech West Laboratory on Kinnear Road. The Materials Innovation space exemplifies an operational model that allows people and ideas to “collide,” as Sayre puts it, while fostering collaboration to maximize innovation. Think few walls, lots of group work areas and energetic colors.

 

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Tyler Bair, Phillip Merz and Andrew Merz do a live demonstration of their plotter, which uses a dry erase marker to create temporary images on the feature wall in the Materials Innovation space.

 

Bair and the brothers Merz knew their design idea had to match the new space’s cool factor. Featuring a large-scale plotter attached to the wall, their design allows users to program an image to be drawn on an erasable surface in mere minutes.

 

“We wanted there to be moving parts and we wanted the display to not just be one-and-done, just there and nothing else happens,” said Phillip Merz. “The coolest displays are the interactive ones, ones that can change up. So we decided to have a part of the display that can change to whatever the user wants, make it dynamic.”

 

Their pitch was made in the form of a video that quickly caught the eye of those judging the designs.

 

Bair had the idea to incorporate a plotter into the design, wanting to mimic the work of 3D printers on a 2D wall surface. The plotter has already been used to draw the Mona Lisa, a rocket ship and, of course, a Block O.

 

The group also incorporated influences from 3D printer technology in other ways. Many 3D printer parts contain hexagonal infrastructure, which is represented in their design as hexagonal shelves to hold 3D-printed pieces.

 

Next the students want to create a smartphone app that can convert any image to a drawing on the wall.

 

Some supporters have hinted that the group should commercialize the design, with the possibility of building another plotter elsewhere on campus. But for now, the aspiring engineers will focus on their upcoming final exams.

 

Visit IMR’s You Tube channel to see the student design team’s video of their collaborative design process to develop and create the feature wall.

2016 OSU Materials Week – Student Poster Awards

Congratulations to the 15 Ohio State students who received awards for having the highest rated posters and presentations at the two Student Poster Sessions at 2016 OSU Materials Week!

2016 Student Poster Award Winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio State President Michael Drake stopped by our closing session to say a few words about the importance of materials science on society, and congratulated the Student Poster Award winners.

 

 

2016 OSU Materials Week – Student Poster Awards

Michael Page, Physics (Advisor: P. Chris Hammel)

Sarah Watzman, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Advisor: Joseph Heremans)

Kevin Galiano, Physics (Advisors: Jonathan Pelz, Physics and Steven Ringel, Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Paul Gilmore, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Advisors: Vishnu Sundaresan, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Yiying Wu, Chemistry and Biochemistry),

Jose Lorie Lopez, Chemistry and Biochemistry (Advisors: Philip J. Grandinetti, and Anne C. Co)

Brandon Giles, Materials Science and Engineering (Advisor: Roberto Myers)

Steven Tjung, Physics (Advisor: Jay Gupta)

John Jamison, Materials Science and Engineering (Advisor: Roberto Myers)

William McCulloch, Chemistry and Biochemistry (Advisor: Yiying Wu)

Chris Ehemann, Physics (Advisor: John Wilkins)

Elizabeth Bushong, Physics (Advisor: Roland Kawakami)

Janani Sampath, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Advisor: Lisa Hall)

Travis Hery, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Advisor: Vishnu Baba Sundaresan)

Maxx Arguilla, Chemistry and Biochemistry (Advisor: Joshua Goldberger)

James Rowland, Physics (Advisor: Mohit Randeria)

 

For the full listing of their posters and co-authors, and other awards given at today’s closing session, visit: http://imr.osu.edu/seminarsandevents/materials-week/


 

2016 OSU Materials Week is brought to you by the OSU Institute for Materials Research (IMR) and the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme focus area

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2016 OSU Materials Week is sponsored by Center for Emergent Materials, an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), and the Office of Energy and Environment

 

2016 OSU Materials Week – Friday Closing and Student Poster Awards 11:30!

Today is the last day of 2016 OSU Materials Week! Join us for two focus sessions on Simulation and Data Analytics and Nanotechnology in Medicine from 8:30 – 11:30 AM.

Our closing and Student Poster Awards begin at 11:30 AM outside on the Blackwell Patio.  We will have snacks, a few words from Ohio State President Michael Drake, and awards to the top student posters from our 110 entries shared at the two Student Poster Sessions.

 

Thank you for your participation in 2016 OSU Materials Week!

 

Below are some photos from Thursday’s sessions:

 

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2016 OSU Materials Week – second student poster session tonight!

Join us tonight, Thursday, May 12 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM in the Blackwell Ballroom and patio for our second Student Poster Session and reception.

 

 

Friday morning will host our last two focus sessions on Simulation and Data Analytics and Nanotechnology in Medicine.  And don’t miss the closing reception tomorrow at 11:30 AM with our annual student poster awards.

 

 

Full technical program is available online here.

 

 

Below are some photos of our successful Student Poster Session from Wednesday night:

 

Wed poster session 1 Wed poster session 2 Wed poster session 3 Wed poster session 4 Wed poster session 5 Wed poster session 6 Wed poster session 7