Senior design project assists Janesville company
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Kevin Mikulski, from Kenosha, Wis., recently earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. As a senior design project, Mikulski and five other students, including Nic Peterson, Mazomanie, Wis; David Walch, De Pere, Wis.; David Knopp, Amery, Wis.; Matt Machart, Waukesha, Wis., and Jake Flygare, Stillman Valley, Ill., who are also majoring in mechanical engineering, were presented with a challenge.
SSI Technologies, a company in Janesville, Wis., manufactures many precision parts that are used for automotive and ballistic applications. One particular problem that the company has been facing is that after undergoing the manufacturing process for these precision parts, there is extra material left around the edges of the parts. The leftover material can interfere with the use and function of the part. In order to make sure that the part is usable, the company has had to take the extra material off manually, which takes between two and three minutes per part.
Mikulski and his group were challenged to create a machine that will remove the extra material from each part and cut production costs. The ultimate goal of their group was to get the production time from two to three minutes down to only 12 seconds. Their project was sponsored by the Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement, which has allowed the funding for Mikulski’s group to create a small prototype of their invention. Producing the real machine is estimated to cost between $10,000-$15,000, but will save SSI Technologies between $40,000-$60,000 each year through faster production and the elimination of labor costs.
When the project was finished, Mikulski and his group handed over the design to SSI Technologies. The senior design project has presented the students with real life experience while helping the company find an affordable solution to its major challenges. “The project taught me how to manage a bigger group of people. There were many difficulties going into a project without knowing a whole lot about it. We had to get up to speed quickly and be able to understand the problems that they are having,” said Mikulski.
Written by: Olivia Hennes, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194, email@example.com