Two teams of mechanical engineering students from the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University have once again won top national design awards from the James F. Lincoln Foundation (JFLF), bringing their total won in recent years to almost $70,000.
Team Ultimate Package won the $1000 gold award and Team BREWANGO won the $750 silver award in the foundation’s Arc Welding Division V contest. Both projects, built for client Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery in Athens, were the culmination of the yearlong mechanical engineering program’s capstone senior design experience, “Designing to Make a Difference.”
Team Ultimate Package created an automated process that takes full beer cans from the canning line, aligns them in two rows and affixes the six-pack ring to prepare them for shipping. The system involves conveyer belts, augers, rollers and cylinders.
“It is a huge honor to get to win this national design competition,” said senior Marlon Wright. “When I read the email, I immediately got in contact with my team and we celebrated the rest of the night through group text messages. All of us were incredibly happy to hear that our hard work and dedication to our project paid off.”
Team BREWANGO produced a lift-and-dump system to help Jackie O's employees move spent grain from their brewing vats into a truck so it could be transported to farms for use as feedstock. The former, two-and-a-half-hour process required three employees to lift about 400 pounds of the damp grain, in trash cans, and empty it into the back of a dump truck. The new, bin-lift design can carry roughly 600 pounds of grain 10 feet off the ground. Time was reduced to about 20 minutes and requires minimal physical effort from only one employee.
“I feel honored and proud to have been on Team BREW AN GO and being part of the ‘Designing to Make a Difference’ program,” said senior Cory Gilbert. “I knew that we created a strong design and manufactured a very robust prototype, but seeing all of our efforts pay off has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my engineering career thus far.”
Department Chair and Robe Professor Greg Kremer, developer and leader of the senior design course, said the national recognition is evidence of the depth of skills the students have developed over the last four years.
“These awards are validation that our students are among the best in the nation in terms of applying their skills to real-world problems to make a difference,” he said.
The JFLF, created in 1936 to promote study, research and education in the arc welding industry, offers awards in six divisions from high school to career engineers. The Russ College teams competed in the bachelor’s and master’s degree students division.
They have accumulated nearly $70,000 in prize winnings from various competitions, including winning or placing in the national Ability One Network Design Challenge in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and earning a second place J.F. Lincoln Foundation award in 2011.