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  • Feb 13, 2014

    For the second year in a row, undergraduate engineering students from Rochester Institute of Technology took top honors in the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education student design competition. Four industrial and systems engineering students in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering shared the $2,000 grand prize and travel funds to the organization’s annual conference and trade show in Atlanta in March.

    Student teams were given a case study, and over five weeks during the semester, they had to redesign the processing system for a large sporting goods facility, targeting distribution of a new product for the company and enlarging space at the distribution center. The best plan from the class was submitted for the national competition.

    The case study objectives were typical of the responsibilities they might have to assess in the workplace, said Margaret Bates, a third-year student on the winning team.

    “For this particular project, especially, the different layers and levels of the project were far larger than any I had ever worked on in my college career,” said Bates, a Webster, N.Y., resident. “What did help us on the project is that all four of us have a lot of different strengths. Had we been a different group, or had a different make up, I don’t know if we would have been as successful.”

    Bates and teammates Jessica Jeffrey, Alexandra Woodward and Justine Nichols drew upon strengths in organizational management, data analysis and experience understanding concepts of utilization and process-flow to complete the lengthy project objectives.

    Components of the project included developing a plan that would help the company increase its core business as well as adapt its physical structure and processes to accommodate the growth. The team had to assess the current state of the operation and build a “real world” plan to expand, including equipment needs, cost estimates and resource allocations. A management presentation was also required, and it included cost justifications.

    “Everyone wants to see the numbers,” said Nichols, laughing. Nichols is originally from Potsdam, N.Y. Woodward grew up in Chester Springs, Pa., and Jeffrey is from Marlborough, N.Y.

    “The big part of this project was taking the information and analyzing it, then using what we had learned in class or common sense to make educated assumptions, then move forward based on that information,” said Bates. “You had to wrap your head around a lot of different pockets of information.”

    RIT industrial and systems engineering student teams have been successful in past competitions, taking first place last year and top-five placements over the past five years.

    “To win this competition in back-to-back years shows our commitment to practical application of industrial engineering methodologies. The students handled themselves very well,” said Scott Grasman, industrial and systems engineering department head.

    This year’s competition had more entries than previous years, with 16 universities represented, and judged by industry professionals and academic representatives. The College Industry Council on Material Handling Education and the Order Fulfillment Solutions Council sponsored the competition, and corporate partner TranSystem provided the competition case based on an actual industry project.

    Local Executives to be Inducted into Industrial and Systems Engineering Academy
    Oct 16, 2012

    Johann “Hans” Demmel and William Hard will become the two newest members of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Academy of Rochester Institute of Technology at noon Oct. 19 in RIT’s Xerox Auditorium in the James E. Gleason Building.

    The alumni of RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering will be recognized for their many contributions to the university and the industrial engineering profession. The induction ceremony is free and open to the RIT and local communities. It is one of the events taking place during RIT’s Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend.

    Demmel ’83, senior manager systems engineering for Raytheon Missile Systems, has been a longtime contributor to the college, serving as president of the department’s industrial advisory board. He is also active with the local chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, holding several leadership positions in his years as a member.

    Hard ’74, a recently retired marketing and sales executive with Xerox Global Services, is a member of the President’s Roundtable, an advisory organization of successful alumni, led by RIT President Bill Destler.

    Academy honorees are selected from a pool of candidates nominated by engineering department faculty, industry partners and university leaders, says Scott Grasman, department head. Richard Reeve, the department’s first faculty member and academic adviser, was the academy’s first inductee in 2009. In 2011, Jasper “Jake” Shealy, a former faculty member and department head, was inducted.

    “The academy is intended to recognize people who have made significant contributions to the department, and the focus is on our alumni,” Grasman says. “But when it was starting out, Jake and Dick were so instrumental in founding the department that it seemed appropriate to induct them in to start the academy. This year, the feeling was to focus on alumni and recognize their contributions.”

    RIT Engineering Student Chapter ‘Takes the Bronze’
    Sep 14, 2012

    They may not have run the Olympic 100 meters, but their results are as impressive as Usain Bolt’s dash to the finish line.

    The Rochester Institute of Technology student chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers received the organization’s Bronze Award for its members’ achievements and the chapter’s contributions to campus and community activities in the 2011–2012 academic year. The group was specifically recognized for hosting the IIE regional conference in March at RIT, one of its major initiatives this past year.

    The Institute of Industrial Engineers is an international society for professionals and academics to further the industrial engineering profession. Student chapters are assessed yearly on membership and growth, finances and activities sponsored.

    “We are honored to receive this award,” says Abbey Burns, a 2012 graduate of the industrial and systems engineering program. Burns served as chair of the regional conference; she led the committee that organized its 11 industry and academic speakers and hosted more than 80 attendees from peer universities.

    “We’re also pleased with the increase in membership and participation we’ve seen from both graduate and undergraduate students this past year,” Burns adds. There are 30 members of the student chapter that was established in 1971. “Their participation made it possible for us to do so many tours and activities outside of the regional conference.”

    During the year, the chapter toured local businesses, hosted panel discussions featuring program alumni working in area businesses and networked with the local senior chapter, led by industrial and systems engineering faculty member and student chapter adviser John Kaemmerlen.

    “The credit for this level of performance and recognition goes to the students who were chapter officers and the leaders of the regional conference,” says Kaemmerlen, who also was a member of the student chapter when he was an undergraduate in the industrial and systems engineering program.

    Members of the chapter leadership team were: Burns; Erik Hilley, chapter president; Brandon Bova; Tashalynn Taylor; Richard Latham; Matt Jackson; Matthew Myers; Kassandra Schlott; and Matt Purcell.

    RIT Students Win National Material Handling Design Competition
    Aug 27, 2012

    Students from Rochester Institute of Technology found that good design is not just what something looks like, but how well it works.

    Four students from RIT’s industrial and systems engineering program built a model manufacturing plant that won first place in the 2011–2012 College Industry Council on Material Handling Education student design competition. The organization announced in August the winning collegiate teams from its annual national competition.

    This was the first year the RIT team took top honors at the national event. The $2,000 award will be split among the team, Matthew Myers, Austin Chacosky, Bridget Eggers and Leila Rozenman, all undergraduates in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

    “We had the right group of people for this. Austin was a wizard at data mining and Leila did an incredible job on her financial justifications. Bridget made a really efficient and aesthetically pleasing layout for the facility, and we each did a little of everything,” says Myers, a fourth-year student. “We built the most efficient facility at the least cost and it was fully automated with robotic systems and conveyers.”

    Participating universities used a real-world case study developed by the College Industry Council and its partner organization, the Material Handling Industry of America. At RIT, the case was incorporated into an engineering class, Systems and Facilities Planning, taught by Andres Carrano, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, during winter quarter.

    The model designed had to include not only equipment placement in the physical space, but the material handling, supply chain management and logistical coordination needed for a fully-functioning steel tool plant and distribution center, he says. The engineering class had five weeks to complete the project, and the best plan from the class was submitted for the competition.

    “Finding out we won for the class was pretty exciting, but finding out we won the whole national competition was just awesome,” Eggers says. “We ended up spending our Valentine’s Day dinner together eating pizza in the computer lab working in the project. That’s dedication.”

    Chacosky agreed. He and Myers worked on the production plan and machine selection, using RIT’s research computing facilities to analyze data and do modeling. Myers, who also works in RIT’s Brinkman Machine Tools and Manufacturing Laboratory and is familiar with manufacturing operations, contributed to the factory drawing and layout work. Eggers, the unofficial project manager, kept the team on track to meet production goals, and designed the material flow and machine placement.

    “The fact the RIT team took first place speaks volumes about the caliber of our students,” Carrano says. “They competed against teams from top universities around the country, several with graduate students on those teams. I know the judging is very rigorous with a panel of consultants and academics in the area of material handling.”


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