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Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Projects

Fullerton Tool Friction Fixture | Mike Misiak, Jeremy Pung, Gunnar Stein, Ryan Whiteman

Advisor: Dr. Brooks Byam 

Client: Fullerton Tool

Fullerton Tool Friction (1,295KB)

The goal of this device is to be able to measure static and dynamic friction coefficients for cutting tools. Fullerton has several different surface coatings they apply to all their cutting tools and after they coat their tools, they run them through a polishing bath. This device would be used to test the friction of different coatings and to refine their polishing process. The coefficient of friction is the ratio of the friction force divided by the normal force. In this design we will be applying a normal force using a spherical tip. The tip moves vertically in an linear bushing and mass will be added to the tip to apply the normal force desired. The tip will be on the centerline of the tool. The tools are held in an collet that meets the clients desired needs of diameters ranging from 1/4" to 1".  The collet is attached to a shaft that runs through a precision air bearing ball bearing. On the other side of the bearing the shaft end is enclosed in a housing block with a thrust bearing that lets the shaft rotate inside the housing block. There are holes in the side of the housing block where threaded handles can be used to prevent the shaft from rotating when testing straight fluted tools to prevent rotational friction from being present. The shaft does need the option of rotating for when the client is testing spiral fluted tools. This housing block mounts down to a linear ball bearing with a guide shaft. Behind the housing block is a tension/compression load cell will mount to the housing block on one side, and an electric linear actuator on the other. The linear actuator we have chosen will allow actuate at a constant velocity which is needed to find the dynamic friction and keeps the system in static equilibrium because of no acceleration. The load cell will read the tension between the force of friction and the linear actuator. This friction force will be the force of friction due to our tip dragging on the tool surface and the friction due to our system (bearings). The tester will be calibrated to determine the friction of the system without the tool present. This value will be subtracted from the force readout of the load cell. The output curve from the load cell will appear as shown in the bottom left of the poster. The peak value is the force needed to overcome static friction. The static friction of the system will be subtracted from this number and divided by the applied normal load to determine the static friction coefficient. After static friction is overcome the force needed to keep moving decreases and stabilizes to a flatter line. This line will be used to determine the dynamic force of friction. The dynamic friction of the system will be subtracted from this value and then divided by the applied normal force for the dynamic coefficient of friction. There is a spherical level on the base plate to help the operator level the tester to eliminate unwanted gravitational forces on the system.
Poster of Fullerton Tool Friction

Huhtamaki Plastics Adjustable Packing Table |Kayla Danielson,Jessica Gorney,Andrew Horvath,Jon Moody

Advisor: Dr. Brooks Byam

Huhtamaki is a global food packaging supplier operating in 36 countries including Coleman, MI. Huhtamaki Coleman has decided to invest in the safety and health of its employees by incorporating ergonomics into their production lines. This senior design project was tasked with designing and producing a customized adjustable height packing table for their highest producing line. By allowing the table height to be adjusted, employees reduce the risk of strains and musculoskeletal disorders. A double hinged system was designed to keep one side the table fixed to the trim press with a hinge at the top to allow range of motion and a sliding hinge at the bottom to allow the ramp lengths to change as the table height is adjusted. A linear actuator and scissor lift were utilized to change the height of the packing section of the table. The product met all measurable objectives set in place by the client and design team.

Huhtamaki Plastics Adjustable Packing Table (413KB)


Huhtamaki Plastics Adjustable Packing Table Poster

Huhtamaki Plastics Conveyor Over Elliptical Pack Table

Students: Dominic Finazzo, Wanye Kurtansky, Justin Laskowski, Rachel Warner

Advisor: Dr. Brooks Byam


This project was to eliminate an ergonomic issue that caused an injury at Huhtamaki Plastic's Coleman facility. The injury that occurred was a shoulder sprain on the plastic cup manufacturing line. The solution to this problem was to eliminate the 180 twist and turn that was previously required. In addition to this, the height of empty boxes also needed to be reduced to reduce the risk of injury.

Huhtamaki Plastics Conveyor Over Elliptical Pack Table (3,030KB)

A Huhtamaki Plastics Conveyor Over Elliptical Pack Table Poster

Universal Hand Truck Handle

Amanda Brower, Ethan Brown, and Brandon Katterman

Faculty Advisors:  Dr. Brooks Byam & Dr. Andy Pandian

Department: Mechanical Engineering

College:  Science, Engineering & Technology


The Mechanical engineering seniors must take senior design I & II (Capstone project)  which is intended to make the students use the subject knowledge and skills learned throughout the Mechanical Engineering program.   The team is required to complete the project in 2 semesters with in the budget allotted by the industry client. The above team designed and developed viable design during Senior I. After client approval, the student team fabricated, assembled, & tested the prototype universal handle.  The team also developed the user’s manual. The new Universal handle eliminated the need for welding in assembly. The new universal handle is adjustable to any user, user friendly, easy to assemble and also replaceable.  The Universal hand truck handle will be delivered at the end of the semester to the client Magline, Inc. Standish, MI.


Universal Hand Truck Handle (428KB)


A Universal Hand Truck Handle Poster

Nexteer Automotive Electric Motor Cooling System

Students: Jake Bruce, Fischer Klein, Wyatt Ren, Tony Robbins

Advisor: Dr. Thomas Mahank


The Saginaw Valley State University Senior Design Team consisting of Jake Bruce, Fischer Klein, Wyatt Ren, and Anthony Robbins is working with Nexteer Automotive to design and build an electric motor and inverter cooling system. The cooling system will feature a radiator, control system, electric coolant pump, heat exchanger for the motor and inverter, a 12 V power source, coolant, hosing, cooling plate, thermocouples, flowmeters, and control valving. The system will be capable of dissipating 9-kW of motor losses and 6-kW of inverter losses in total. A control system will be designed to regulate fan speed and monitor coolant temperature and flow rates. The Senior Design Team’s concepts consisted of a single pass crossflow radiator system, dual pass crossflow radiator system, and downflow radiator system. After careful analysis of heat transfer capacity, outlet coolant temperature, pressure drop, size, cost, and safety, the Senior Design Team, Third Party, and Nexteer Client selected the single pass crossflow radiator system. Looking ahead to ME 481, the Senior Design Team will procure components for fabrication of the electric motor and inverter cooling system and validate the system in accordance with the criteria given by Nexteer Automotive.  


Nexteer Automotive Electric Motor Cooling System (246KB)


A Nexteer Automotive Electric Motor Cooling System Poster

Signature Truck Systems Automated Pipe Cutting Machine

Students: Brandon Fettig, Enayat Khan, Krupal Patel, Anthony Pitera

Advisor: Dr. Brooks Byam


Signature Truck Systems is a manufacturer of heavy-duty propane trucks and needed a redesign of their pipe cutting process. These pipes are used to transfer propane from the tank of the truck to the customer. The goal of the project is to produce an automated pipe cutting process where pipe stock is measured, cut, and removed of paint at the cutting surface for welding purposes. To simplify the design process, a machine will be purchased that can automatically measure and cut the pipes while the design team will design and build a paint remover mechanism that will be integrated into the purchased machine. The budget is $20,000 and the project will be completed in August of 2021.

Signature Truck Systems Automated Pipe Cutting Machine (412KB)

A Signature Truck Systems Automated Pipe Cutting Machine Poster

Signature Truck Systems Elevated Paint Platform

Students: Kayla Galbraith, Nathan Griese, Mat Masterson

Advisor: Dr. Brooks Byam


The need for the project is a lack of safe means for the painters of Signature Truck in Clio, MI, to paint full sized propane transports.  The goal of the project is to design a platform that painters can safely stand on to paint the entirety of varying sized propane transports.  This manifested itself to be a single man lift featuring three axis of movement: up and down, along the length of the transport, and extending inward towards the middle of the paint booth.  The lift also had to meet other requirements due to the painting environment.  It must be explosion-proof due to the paint fumes.  It must be pneumatically operated as a leaking hydraulic system can ruin a paint job.  And it must be capable of withstanding high temperature bake cycles that the paint booth induces to cure the paint job.  Lastly, the installation of the lift must not inhibit the workflow of the painters by reducing their ability to produce a timely and quality paint job.


Signature Truck Systems Elevated Paint Platform (965KB)

A Signature Truck Systems Elevated Paint Platform Poster

Teamtech Emergency Wheelchair Seat Release System

Students: Jake Brewer, Sabrina Coffman, Damon Favero, Alexandria Wendyker

Advisor: Dr. Brooks Byam


The Wheelchair Seat Emergency Release System is a product created for the safety and security of wheelchair users during motor vehicle transport especially in the event of an emergency extraction. The system both provides secure seatbelt attachment points and allows the seat and occupant to be removed safely and easily. 

Teamtech Emergency Wheelchair Seat Release System (191KB)

A Teamtech Emergency Wheelchair Seat Release System