The 2005 Robert H. Grant Invention Award – MFE 520
On December 14, 2005, in Professor Chris Brown's graduate MFE 520 Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Processes course, four teams presented innovative plans to improve manufacturing facilities, processes, and methods. Teams competed for $1500 in cash prizes. The excellent presentations made judging difficult, but in the end, decisions came down to the breadth of the innovation's impact on manufacturing in industry. All projects incorporated axiomatic design principles.
Judges Phil Cyr, ’86 ME and ’02 MBA of RH White Construction and Phil Doherty and Don Alcorn of Morgan Construction awarded prizes in the following order:
First place went to Kevin Pearce, ME, WPI '06 for using axiomatic design to invent an efficient method of laminating and applying graphics to snowboards, which replaces the current costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive press method. In the current lamination process, giant presses are used to sandwich layers of the snowboard. The size of the press depends greatly on the dimensions of the snowboard being manufactured. Each specific board has its own press and no other board can be made with it. Within the current method, changes are costly and would not be implemented until absolutely necessary. This is both in the board design and also machine implementation, which represents a major flaw. If a change needed to be made, the press would have to be shut down, stopping manufacture of the specific snowboard for that press.
Second place went to Greg Adams, MFE '07; Robert Harito, ME '07; Brian St. Rock, and Abdul Wazed Bhuiya, MFE '05 for the redesigned manufacturing process for polymer containers at Nypro. *The primary manufacturing processes are injection molding, 2-shot injection molding, in-mold labeling and ultrasonic welding, with automatic inspection and material handling. The current process is fully integrated and highly automated. The goal of their project was to use axiomatic design to identify improvements to the manufacturing process within the constraints of throughput, cost and quality. They analyzed the state-of-the-art for the subject processes and used axiomatic design to consider coupling and information content, as well as to identify potential innovations in the process.
Third place went to James Flockhart, MFE; Bertrand Carrie, and Antoine Boufawaz for their innovations in testing and analyzing the surface roughness inside of a bioreactor and its impact on mammalian cell culture. The goal of their project was to create an experimental design to evaluate the impact of the surface roughness by using the Axiomatic Design Method presented in class. Additionally as part of the experimental method a test fixture will be designed using axiomatic design in order to collect cell health data vs. different cell wall finishes.
Fourth Place went to Jocelyn Lally, ME '07, for her vision of bringing the manufacturing of Stirling engine components to WPI instead of purchasing them through a supplier and for her work on a computer model that analyzes component design iterations, allowing WPI students to innovate components through that model to create more efficient engines.