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November 2, 2015 7:56 AM

Engineering students meet design challenge

As part of their third-year project, a group of students in the Mechanical Systems Engineering program teamed up with industrial partners to develop solutions for a manufacturing problem.

To reduce human error and increase plant efficiency, Ontario Die International (ODI) -- a Kitchener-based company that manufactures cutting dies for fabrics and other materials -- working with RAMP Manufacturing Resource Group, approached students to develop an automated die-bending system. ODI required a solution that could manufacture dies with complex bends.

MSE students Adam Fisher and Adam Sanderson both participated in the project and credit it with providing real-world experience. Throughout the project students liaised with ODI and RAMP representatives to present mechanical designs and concepts and assess feedback. The final design was a combination of two student concepts.

“We were working in a research and development environment,” said Sanderson. “We were able to understand how a project moves through to completion and had the chance to work on a number of different systems.”

The students’ design solutions and final prototype -- which involved assembly, wiring and programming -- were developed over two semesters and incorporated material from a number of courses. Sanderson and Fisher said their knowledge of robotics, sensors and safety circuits was especially helpful. As part of the prototype development, students were also expected to manufacture mechanical components in the college’s machine shop or source them from external suppliers. 

The project, which wrapped up in August 2015, presented students with equipment limitations and time management challenges, but both Fisher and Sanderson say the project-based learning was beneficial. “This is the type of work that sets Conestoga apart from other schools,” said Fisher.

Following completion of the project, RAMP was provided with the design concept and components for the prototype.

Conestoga’s Bachelor of Engineering - Mechanical Systems Engineering program is accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. It is geared to careers in the areas of mechanical design, robotics and advanced manufacturing. The program is delivered using project-based curriculum and increasingly complex real-world projects.

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