One goal of the MSU Mechanical Engineering Program is to educate engineers who are prepared to lead, create, and innovate as their professional or graduate careers evolve. The Mechanical Engineering Design Program is the key element of the curriculum that supports this goal. There are five required design courses in the program which provide our students with eight hands-on, team-based, ‘design, test and build’ projects, and numerous opportunities to practice and refine their written, oral, poster, and video presentation skills. The Design Program in Mechanical Engineering has attracted national recognition on many occasions and helps to distinguish the ME program as one of the best in the country.
For information on becoming a project sponsor, please contact Mike Colucci.
The following are the project sponsors and projects for Fall 2014:
Marathon Petroleum: Tool for Extracting Seized Pump Seals
Marathon Petroleum is the nation’s fourth largest transportation fuels refiner and the largest in the Midwest. Marathon Petroleum has the capacity to refine and transport 1.7 million barrels per day over 8,300 miles of pipeline across North America. In order to ensure their products are transported efficiently through pipelines, pumping stations are placed every 30 to 50 miles. While carrying out a program to replace single pump seals with a more efficient dual seal, Marathon has found that some seals seize to the pump shaft and are difficult to remove. Marathon Petroleum envisions an industry-wide benefit for a universal tool to remove seized mechanical seals effectively, to ensure technician safety, and to reduce costly pump downtime during seal replacement.
The MSU team aims to create an ergonomic tool for this task that is an improvement on a pry bar–the current method of removal which can endanger technicians. This new tool will apply a uniform load across the mechanical seal for optimal grip and improved stability, while being lightweight and easy to use. The tool will be built and tested on a fabricated pump fixture at MSU and then at Marathon Petroleum’s training facility.
Eaton Corporation: Door Actuator Design for Multiple Tolerances
Eaton Corporation is one of the world’s premier suppliers of aerospace, electrical, automotive and hydraulics systems. In the aerospace industry, Eaton has specialized in designing and assembling actuation equipment for commercial and military applications. Actuation equipment is used for a variety of purposes in aircraft, and Eaton products are responsible for the reliability of multiple actuation devices on each aircraft. One type of actuator that Eaton has designed is called an In-Flight Refueling Receptacle (IFRR). This actuator opens and closes the refueling door to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and can be deployed for extended periods during flights.
The goal of this capstone project is to design and verify a ‘go, no-go’ gauge to validate six critical dimensions of the IFRR so that overall designs can be certified to be within required tolerances. Eaton has proposed a potential IFRR design and has asked the MSU team to authenticate its functionality through a series of Geometric Dimension & Tolerance (GD&T) stack-ups. When the design has been authenticated in this way, a working prototype will be fabricated.
Bosch: Fixture for Disassembly of Large Fuel Injectors
Robert Bosch is a multinational engineering company headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with innovative products in the automotive, consumer, and industrial sectors. Within Bosch’s US diesel technology division, a support team conducts testing and investigative studies of large-engine diesel injectors. These devices are used to inject fuel into the cylinders of engines, in applications ranging from heavy industrial equipment to locomotives. They can be over two feet long and weigh over 25 pounds. Currently, the large-engine diesel fuel injectors have to be returned to Austria to be disassembled for investigative studies because specialized equipment is needed to support and take apart the injectors, which can require torques of up to 1100 ft-lbs.
The goal of this project is to design and fabricate a prototype fixture that will be used to disassemble and reassemble a large-engine diesel fuel injector to a specified torque and angle, with the adjustability required for many sizes of large-engine diesel fuel injectors. The fixture will be tested on a range of injectors prior to delivery to Bosch.
Bosch: Dynamometer for DC Motor Testing
Bosch is a leading global supplier of technology and services and is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. The company is comprised of four distinct sectors: Automotive Technology, Energy and Building Technology, Industrial Technology, and Consumer Goods. Within the Automotive Technology sector, Bosch manufactures a number of engine control components, such as, the throttle body of an engine’s air-intake system. Inside the throttle body, a small DC motor opens and closes the throttle plate and ensuring that each motor functions correctly is an important part of this component’s testing process. Bosch is interested in using a low-cost, reliable dynamometer to measure both the torque and the efficiency of each motor in an effort to find a method of testing that is faster and less expensive than its current one.
The primary goal of this project is to design and manufacture a robust, low-cost dynamometer for small DC motor testing. Using a combination of mechanical, electrical, and data acquisition concepts, an optimal design will be selected to best satisfy the constraints of ease of use, safety, and reliability.
General Motors Corporation: Multifunctional Floor Mats for Vehicles
General Motors is one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world and is based in Detroit, Michigan. In addition to automobiles, the company also sells accessories to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage, such as all-weather floor mats and trunk liners. While these accessories are ordinarily designed to protect vehicle interiors from snow, ice, and salt, many customers wish to have their vehicles more personalized to match their individual tastes. General Motors is interested in combining these two functions into a single custom floor mat or liner that would serve both purposes and could be ordered when purchasing a new vehicle.
The objective of this project is to create a customized floor-mat and liner design that will stand up to the rigors of different weather conditions and day-to-day wear and tear, such as digging sharp heels into mats while driving, etc. The new mat and liner design must be able to be customized to the consumer’s taste, while being much more durable than currently available products, and manufacturable on demand rather than far in advance. The new design also must not increase the production cost of each mat significantly.
Meritor Inc.: Composite-Material Axle-Bowl Cover
Meritor, Inc. is a US based corporation headquartered in Troy, Michigan, and is a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicles and industrial markets. With a long legacy of providing innovative products that offer superior performance, efficiency and reliability, the company serves commercial truck, trailer, defense, specialty and aftermarket customers around the world. In an effort to offer its customers more options while minimizing overall cost, Meritor is interested in incorporating composite materials into the design of future products such as axle-bowl covers.
The goal of this project is to develop a prototype composite axle-bowl cover for a commercial heavy axle vehicle. Composite designs offer advantages over traditional steel axle-bowl covers such as reduction in volume of the lubricating fluid and lower weight. A molded composite cover offers improved serviceability of drivetrain components and seamless integration of other features. To achieve this design goal, composite design and finite element analysis techniques will be performed to achieve the required structural integrity and ease of manufacturing, with the least weight and lowest material cost.
Whirlpool Corporation: Design of Appliances for Recyclability
Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan, is the leading producer and marketer of home appliances in the world. It employs nearly 70,000 people worldwide, with 23,000 in the United States. Whirlpool manufactures washers, dryers, dishwashers, cooking ranges and ovens, as well as tabletop appliances, such as standing mixers, under various brands including Whirlpool, Maytag, and KitchenAid. Whirlpool has recently adopted a broader environmental focus for its products, concentrating on increased energy efficiency and their environmental sustainability, as well as on customer needs and satisfaction.
The MSU team has been asked to evaluate the design of a popular brand of cooking range from the perspective of end-of-life recyclability and efficiency of disassembly, for retirement and recycling of the unit. It will examine existing material selections and designs for recycling and disassembly and create an optimized design for environmental sustainability.
Heartwood School: Multi-Purpose Ball-Launching Mechanism
Heartwood School is located in Mason, Michigan, and serves students in Ingham County between the ages of 3 and 26 with cognitive impairments, multiple impairments, autism and traumatic brain injuries. It works with local school districts and families to provide programs and student services, with a curriculum focused on activities that increase the independence of students to maximize their potential and improve their future quality of life. In order to increase the level of student engagement during sports activities, Heartwood has requested that MSU’s design team create a multi-purpose ball-launching mechanism that may be quickly loaded by instructors and is simple to operate for all students.
The team plans to provide energy required to propel the ball in the form of rotational inertia powered by electrical motors with a rotary mechanism for launching. The launch angle will be adjustable so that the device may launch volleyballs over a net, pitch during a game of kickball, or shoot a ball into a basketball hoop—with a simple push of a button.
Heartwood School: Floor-to-Seat Personal Elevation System
Heartwood School in Ingham Intermediate School District specializes in education and lifestyle improvements of students with moderate to severe mental and physical complications. Students typically take part in classroom and gymnasium activities and therapeutic treatments. One of the main educational goals of Heartwood School is to promote the independence of their students. Heartwood’s facility has a variety of mechanisms used to hoist, maneuver, and relocate students but would benefit enormously from a device that could lift a student from the ground, where some activities take place, to a sitting height where many others are carried out.
The MSU team will design an automated lift that allows the Heartwood staff to raise disabled students from the ground to a sitting height. Preliminary designs for the lift mechanism will be based on those of an elevator but will employ additional specially-designed assistance mechanisms. The final device will have additional built-in features that can be enabled by both Heartwood staff and students for transferring students from the floor to standing/seating positions.
Heartwood School: Classroom Chair with Proprioceptive Feedback
Heartwood School serves students in Ingham County with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, severe multiple impairments, autism and traumatic brain injuries, working with local school districts and families to provide center-based programs and student services. One educational device that would benefit Heartwood’s educational mission is a specialized chair for students that would be able to withstand large repetitive loads and stresses, yet function with the comfort and ease of adjustment of a standard office chair.
The MSU team plans to design such a chair with proprioceptive feedback—the reaction from changing the body’s orientation with respect to gravity—which can help maintain the physical stress in a person with a low-level autistic spectrum disorder. The general design strategy is to reinforce a standard office-like chair to be able to withstand this repetitive behavior by strengthening the main joints of the chair’s back and base parts while retaining the chair’s overall aesthetics.
US Steel: Hydraulic Wrench for Large Retaining Nuts
US Steel was founded in 1901 and is the largest integrated steel producer headquartered in the United States. US Steel has facilities to carry out hot and cold rolling operations to shape steel at their Great Lakes Mill in Ecorse, Michigan. These rolling operations require the use of ‘back-up’ rollers, which are special kinds of rollers that are held in place by bearings known as a Morgoil bearings. In order for the rollers to be retained correctly in the bearings, they must be secured around the roller with a large retaining nut. US Steel has custom hydraulic wrenches for the removal and tightening of these retaining nuts. However, the nearest is located in the Granite City Mill and is not perfectly suited to the needs of the Great Lakes Mill.
The goal of this project is to redesign US Steel’s existing hydraulic wrench to meet the needs of the Great Lakes facility. The improved wrench will be adaptable to steel rollers of different diameters and lengths and for different rolling processes. The MSU team will deliver their final design as a set of 2D drawings for subsequent fabrication by US Steel.
ArcelorMittal: On-Site Treatment of Caustic Wastewater
ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company and supplies quality steel products to the automotive, construction, and machinery industries, employing over 239,000 people worldwide. Because of the polluting nature of their industry, steel manufacturers must meet strict environmental regulations to mitigate the impact of waste products on the environment. The East Chicago plant utilizes sulfur dioxide wet scrubbers that absorb the harmful chemicals used in producing round and hexagonal cross-sectioned steel rods. A consequence of this process is the production of caustic wastewater which must be properly treated to meet environmental standards for water discharged into the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal.
Currently, the East Chicago plant has caustic wastewater trucked to an off-site hazardous water treatment center at a high cost. ArcelorMittal has asked the Michigan State University design team to develop a system which would allow the caustic wastewater to be treated on-site. The design team will create a comprehensive design plan that will minimize the cost of the water treatment process while satisfying environmental regulations and allow ArcelorMittal to become more self-reliant with its water treatment methods.
General Motors Corporation: Apparatus to Test Vehicle Fuel Fill Pipes
General Motors (GM) is an automotive manufacturing corporation that designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes vehicles all over the world. Founded in 1908, the company produces vehicles in 37 different countries and has 13 different brands. It is important to GM that the fill pipes leading to the fuel tank can withstand the loads applied by customers refueling their vehicles over their entire lifetimes. During the refueling process, customers may lean against the nozzle while filling so the fill pipe must be designed to support this applied force. The global fuel lab in Lansing tests GM’s North American products, their global products and some competitors’ products. The objective of this project is to help the Global Fuel Lab test the durability of fuel fill pipes on vehicles so that they may be certified for production.
The MSU team is to create a testing fixture that allows General Motors to test fuel fill pipes for a variety of vehicles for their quality and durability. A device will be designed and built to simulate the expected loads a fill pipe might endure during its expected lifetime. The tests are intended to meet EPA and CARB certification requirements and to assure that fuel filling pipes meet or exceed customer expectations.
Ingersoll Rand: Optimization of a Commercial HVAC System
Trane Inc., a division of Ingersoll Rand, is a global provider of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, services, and solutions. Trane provides and supports systems for both residential and commercial buildings, focusing on innovation, energy efficiency, and sustainability. In current commercial HVAC systems, an energy wheel is used to recover and transfer heat energy between intake and exhaust airflows, and to control humidity, thereby preconditioning the air to reduce the energy needed for subsequent heating and cooling processes. If exterior air is already at the desired state, energy is saved by turning the wheel off and allowing the flow to bypass it through vents. Because of space limitations, these bypass vents are offset from the wheel, which increases the system cost through both parts and labor. Trane wishes to reduce the cost of these systems while retaining their functionality and quality.
The MSU team will design prototype bypass vents to be more compact than existing ones and which will not need to be offset. The most promising designs will be evaluated with analytical software. When the optimal design has been chosen, the team will work with Trane to produce a prototype for physical testing and submit it to Trane for further evaluation.