With this years ISE Senior Design coming to an end, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of our outstanding projects for the year.

Project Summary

The team worked with Devin who has a genetic disease called Muscular Dystrophy. After meeting with Devin, the team recognized the need to build an ergonomic keyboard, desk, and footrest to address his significant daily challenges. The joint team, consisting of both Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering students, has worked to define the problem, generate concepts, perform research, create prototypes, evaluate the design, build the products, and conduct testing. By designing and building these products, the team hoped to increase Devin’s mobility by providing him a portable workspace, increase his productivity by integrating an ergonomic keyboard that will increase his typing speed, and decrease the swelling in his feet through the addition of a footrest to his existing wheelchair. Ultimately, the goal of this project was to make Devin more independent from his caretakers while improving his quality of life.

Project Summary

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) identified a unique opportunity to transform abandoned coal mines into large scale power storage assets by implementing Pumped Storage Hydropower technology. The Virginia Tech Senior Design team partnered with DMME in the first phase of this program to create a site selection methodology using the ESRI ArcGIS platform to select optimal mines to implement this innovative technology. The project solution provides DMME with a scalable site selection methodology that provides an attribute-based, client-customizable method for reducing thousands of potential sites to a list of optimal mines for detailed engineering studies. Applied within the geospatial analytics platform of ArcGIS, the solution provides the foundation for an unprecedented technology implementation to transform abandoned coal mines in the Appalachian region into assets for large-scale electric power storage for renewable energy sources. The site selection methodology implementation for the VA DMME produces a 99.99% reduction in potential sites, identifying locations deemed qualified for follow-on engineering studies. This methodology will enable the first-ever implementation of a pumped storage hydropower system in an abandoned mine, with the potential to enable a multitude of similar implementations across the country.

Project Summary

Although no hard data regarding the issue of runway performance exists, it is currently suspected that airplanes are spending an excessive amount of time taxiing on runways after landing. This reduces the number of airplanes that can land in a given time period, which in turn limits the amount of profit airlines and airports can generate. As a contractor for the Federal Aviation Administration, it is the job of Northrop Grumman to address this issue. For this reason, the team is developing a machine learning system which can be used to gather data surrounding the problem of excessive runway occupancy time. In addition to this, the team is also creating a second program which can identify the optimal runway exit airplanes ought to use which would limit the costs associated with runway occupancy time and taxi time. As a result of this study, current runway performance is now quantitatively understood, and the factors which affect runway performance are now visible.

Project Summary

Metalsa is a commercial truck frame rail manufacturer that runs a highly automated facility where each rail is custom made. The high degree of customization leads to a large amount of throughput variation decreasing the production stability plantwide. Simulation software modeled part of Metalsa’s automated line to test various improved rail sequencing methods. The results of the simulation testing, found a method of rail sequencing that creates the greatest stability. By resequencing the order of rails, production variability decreased and Metalsa’s throughput is expected to increase along with the operating availability. By implementing this critical process, the plant production is expected to run much closer to its full capacity.  ­ 

CONTACT US

ISE Senior Design Program
Hours: 8a.m. - 5p.m.
Ph: 540.231.1810

Matt Earnest, Director
Center for High Performance Manufacturing
Email: mearnest@vt.edu