Tag Archives: engineering classes

Electronics and Microcontrollers

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 9 November 2014

No… I am not an electrical engineer. But being an Engineering Technology and Management student, I receive a good taste of electronics and programming. In the final project for my electronics and microcontrollers class, we are creating a robot that is completely autonomous. The robot will drive forward until it reaches an obstacle which is sensed by an ultrasonic sensor. At this point the robot will reverse and the ultrasonic sensor will turn left and right, using a servo, sensing for more obstructions and determine which direction to turn and continue forward.

Mini Electric Car

This project is based on an Arduino microcontroller which is a platform programmable in the C computer language. It can accept digital and analog input signals from components such as switches and sensors and then process this data to command outputs for components such as motors, servos and lights. All of this is powered by a pack of 4 AA batteries fed through a voltage regulator providing a constant 5V to feed the Arduino.

Although you could probably tell from my past blogs I am more of a mechanical than an electrical person, but I’ve really been enjoying this class and especially this project as I have been learning a lot about how many of the devices in our everyday life work that you don’t really think about.

Applying Lean Methods on Campus

Ross Lowry

Ross Lowry,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 4 November 2014

One of the classes I’m taking this semester is ETM 4320 which is Lean Enterprise Methods, its main focus being Lean Engineering. For those of you who may not be sure what Lean Engineering is, it is essentially the practice of eliminating as much waste from a production process as possible. The lecture portion of this class is already complete; however, the remainder of the semester is going to be spent working on our group project.

We are assigned to choose any business in the Athens area and implement the Lean methods that we learned in class to the business, granted that we have the business’s approval. Our group chose The Front Room coffee shop in Baker Center; other groups chose Whit’s and a local body shop.

Some of the things we may try and change include anything from the layout of their equipment, how many employees they have per shift, what role each employee is going to take, and the line used to take the customers’ orders.

Work on the project is going to begin right away as there is a lot of data we must collect on the Front Room. One of the first things we are going to study is the process to make a cup of coffee. This may seem like a very simple task, but there are a lot of components that go into making one cup of coffee. We consider the beginning of the process right when the customer places the order; the process then concludes as soon as the cup is in the customer’s hand. We will be taking a look at all of the steps in between to determine where we can cut down on time to get the product to you quicker.

Hopefully by the end of this semester we will be able to work out all of the kinks in the operations so that the customer’s experience is improved. We should even be able to save them some money, which could mean lower prices for us?!?!?

Water Treatment Field Trip

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 30 October 2014

Throughout the semester in my water and waste water management class, we have been in the process of designing a water treatment plant. During class we have learned all types of treatment processes and how to remove contaminants to provide quality drinking water to the public. We learned how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides the water quality standards and from the standards civil engineers are free to design the water treatment plant however they would like as long as they meet the standards.

There comes a time when learning theory in class does not teach you everything you need to know about water treatment. During our own design project, there were multiple times when we were doing calculations to determine tank size we questioned ourselves if our numbers made sense. Most of the time we were unable not comprehend how massive water treatment plants are.

As a part of the class and a teaching tool our professor organized a field trip to a water treatment plant in Lancaster, Ohio and a waste water treatment plant in Columbus, Ohio. Being able to see these plants in person helped us understand on how massive these plants are actually and help us realize that our calculations of our own design are acceptable.

Pictures provided show both the water treatment plant and waste water treatment plant.

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Rethinking Hydraulics Lab

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 26 February 2014 – This semester, my hydraulics lab has changed my thoughts about labs. Earlier lab classes that I have taken follow the same format: the professor writes the pre-lab and then we follow the steps without fully needing to understand what is going on.

This semester, our professor has changed the format of the lab so that we are able to design and conduct experiments. Each lab takes two weeks. The first week we are first introduced to the equipment and are able to ask the professor questions how this equipment works and what it is used to find. Then we take a week to research and write a pre-lab, which is is traded with another student who had written a pre-lab for a different experiment. Then in week two we conduct an experiment that was written by another student.

At first I did not like this new process, but after the first two weeks and getting a better clarification from our professor, this has to be one of my favorite labs. I like how we are able to create the lab by telling someone what readings to take and what those readings mean by going through a data analysis. It feels really cool to be the person telling someone what to do during an experiment for once.

This class is helpful because it is giving me a better understand of the equipment I am using by having to figure things out on my own. It is nice to have a piece of equipment and think to yourself “If I turn this knob, what effect it will have on the system?” It is neat being able to figure that out for myself instead of having a professor tell me.

Preparing for Finals Week

Rachel Fryan

Rachel Fryan,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 8 December 2013 – I can’t believe it’s finally here but another semester has flown by. Although it’s good news that the semester is done, and we will be on break soon, finals week is standing in our way. I have three in-class finals and two projects, so my schedule shouldn’t be too bad. However, I would rather do five projects and zero in-class exams, but that’s just my preference.

My favorite study spot during finals week is the ARC. The only problem is it is everyone else’s favorite as well. The key to getting a study room is getting there early, which few people are there to do.

One of my finals is for my CS capstone class and we actually built an app. How it worked was everyone received a real life client and they then built an application that would help them. My group built an app to teach kids to learn and practice fractions. We built it using Lua code, which is a cross-platform language, which means you can build it in both iOS and Android. Even though it took many late nights and all semester, I’m pretty happy with our outcome!

Lean Enterprise Methods

Eric Abboud

Eric Abboud,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 5 December 2013 – This fall semester I decided to take an elective within my major called “Lean Enterprise Methods.” The class curriculum revolved around the concept that a workplace can operate smoothly and more efficiently if all the waste is removed from the system. This waste is defined as anything within a system that doesn’t add value to the final product; it can be in the form of time, physical objects, transportation, over-processing, etc.

I know it sounds kind of dry, and it was at times, but it was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. I really feel like I can go into my future job and add value to any process. This new-found confidence was largely in part due to the hands on group projects that were completed throughout the semester. Our first project was an in-class lab where we simply tried to improve the efficiency of a calzone production line. However, the other two labs actually required us to go out and find clients in Athens and remove waste from an actual work environment. One was in AutoZone and the other was Jackie O’s, a local brewery.

Jackie O's

The brewery was really cool! We had access to entire brewery and met with the owner and brew master on a weekly basis. They were unbelievably helpful and actually excited to work with us. By the end of the project my group had created a proper value stream map for the production of Mystic Mama, Jackie O’s famous IPA. The value stream map was merely one of the many documents that I will be adding to my portfolio!

Fall Unit Ops Lab

Nichole Lowe

Nichole Lowe,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 2 December 2013 – This Fall, my biggest project was in my senior unit ops lab. The project consisted of a pre-lab, completing the lab and finally a post-lab. We were separated into groups at the beginning of the semester and this was the first time our class has ever had to do this.

The senior Unit Ops Lab carries on into the second semester of our senior year so we knew they were preparing us for next semester. The pre-lab took longer than any of us expected. The pre-lab had to include the introduction, theory, a very detailed description of how we were going to do the lab and finally the results that we expected based on theoretical data.

The hardest part was the theory. We had to make sure that the theory flowed in a logical order that matched the way we were doing the experiment. Also the theory was hard because we were given a very basic description of the problem and had to put everything we have learned in college together on our own.

Prior to being able to complete the lab, we had to meet with our professor for a pre-lab meeting. Our professor had to make sure that we understood all the safety requirements while working in the lab and that we would record all necessary information to prevent us from needing to redo the lab. Every member of the group had to have an understanding of the project or else we would not have been allowed to go to lab. Performing the lab procedure was the easiest part of the project. All groups were scheduled for three hour time slots.

The final part of the project was the post lab. Writing the post lab was definitely easier compared to the pre-lab, but it did require a heavy amount of analyzing data. Overall despite its difficulty the project was definitely helpful. I believe it will help me in my future career in research & development, because of the similarities in tasks. It was a fun challenge for us to overcome.