Conestoga news

October 22, 2015 1:13 PM

Engineering project helps prevent workplace injuries

An automated solution created by third-year Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSE) students may be the answer to preventing workplace injuries at Hammond Power Solutions, a Guelph-based company that manufactures custom transformers.

Engineering Winding Test.JPG
Working with Hammond Power Solutions and Bellamy Ltd., third-year Mechanical Systems Engineering students designed and built a prototype for an automated coil winder. The winder solves an ergonomic challenge.

Hammond, working with Bellamy Ltd., turned to MSE students to develop an innovative solution that would eliminate the ergonomic challenges facing its employees. As part of the manufacturing process, employees are required to manually wrap wire cables (which could be a few centimetres in thickness) around a cylinder-shaped transformer core. The process requires manual pulling and tugging which can easily lead to strains.

MSE students took on the challenge as part of their third-year projects, which they began in January 2015 and finished in August 2015. The first semester was spent on design, and the second semester was used to build a prototype of the solution -- an automated winder. The design needed to be adjustable and adaptable, and a straightener was required for the spools of wire that were being fed on to the cylinders.

Although the project presented design challenges, MSE student Micah Bakanec said the experience offered a unique opportunity to work with the customer. “We had the chance to meet representatives from Hammond and Bellamy Ltd. and work with them through the process,” explained Bakanec. “It feels good to accomplish something and see the customer happy.”

To complete the task, students were required to use skills and knowledge gained through their classes. Bakanec said design and electrical programming courses prepared him for the project, but also noted that he appreciated the project-based learning. “Just going through the process of ordering parts was good experience and we also took advantage of external software training,” said Bakanec.

With the students’ prototype complete, Bellamy Ltd. will now take the design of the automated winder and consider developing a full-scale model for use at Hammond and other transformer companies.

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.