K-State Salina students conduct research, solve industry problems
Thursday, May 23, 2013
SALINA -- A wireless voting system and new asphalt scraping tool for a local company are just some of the projects engineering technology students at Kansas State University Salina took on during the 2012-2013 academic year.
K-State Salina's engineering technology program takes a hands-on approach, requiring students to conduct research and build a solution to a problem within their industry. This school year, 21 students worked on eight projects, including some requested by a local business or organization.
One project, requested by the K-State Salina Student Governing Association, makes it easier to record and search votes taken by the Student Senate.
The wireless voting system built by Houston Hubbard, senior in electronic and computer engineering technology, Hutchinson, and Kinneth Hurst, senior in electronic and computer engineering technology, Salina, uses an LCD touch screen that communicates wirelessly with voting devices.
"The Student Governing Association wanted a stand-alone system that doesn't have to be connected to a computer, so we set it up that the voting record is stored on a USB drive and they can download the results into a spreadsheet in their office," Hurst said. "Our system gives the senators three options -- yes, no or abstain --and they can change their vote as many times as they'd like. The system will use the most recent input when the voting is closed."
The new system lets the Student Governing Association share student senators' voting records with the student body and provide a more easily searchable record of votes, said Hubbard, who added that faculty might be able to use a similar system in the future to give multiple choice tests.
"The voting devices are easy to customize, so if they had six options for answers rather than three, it would just require building as many devices as they need with the number of options they want," he said.
Bergkamp Inc., a Salina-based pavement maintenance equipment manufacturer, may have found a new heated scraper tool with the help of Caleb Crawshaw, senior in mechanical engineering technology, Culver; William Pepper, senior in mechanical engineering technology, Leavenworth; Edward Rego, senior in mechanical engineering technology, Salina; and Chester Ewing, senior in mechanical engineering technology, Genoa, Colo.
The company tasked the students to design and build a new tool to clean asphalt from paving equipment while improving worker safety and efficiency. The new tool had to withstand heat of 400 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour, have a detachable blade and handle, use off-the-shelf components, and be powered with something other than electricity.
After talking to people in the field, the students came up with a propane-powered scraper that came in under budget. It uses easy-to-replace parts so that workers could make repairs in the field if necessary.
Other projects students worked on included:
* Collaborative software that allows for multiple users, giving all involved input ability.
* Making a lighter control arm for the K-State Salina Baja SAE competition car.
* Learning how to do cluster computing with Raspberry Pi, a single-board computer the size of a credit card.
* Stabilizing the in-flight camera used by the unmanned aircraft systems program, requested by K-State Salina's unmanned aircraft systems program office.
* The shear eliminator plate modification project for K-Tron, a Salina-based business that manufactures material handling and feeding systems for process industries.
* The bulk velocity test metering apparatus project for K-Tron to help the company increase productivity when testing equipment
Students involved with the above projects include:
Byron Ronnebaum, junior in mechanical engineering technology, Axtell, shear eliminator; Todd Murphy, senior in electronic and computer engineering technology, Hutchinson, Baja SAE car; Adam Svoboda, senior in computer systems technology, Marion, collaborative software; Darrell Schielke, senior in mechanical engineering technology, Marquette, shear eliminator; Jesse Huber, senior in mechanical engineering technology, Morrowville, Baja SAE car; Wade Winfrey, junior in mechanical engineering technology, Plains, in-flight camera; Kale Morris, junior in engineering technology, and Coady Morris, junior in mechanical engineering technology, both in-flight camera and both from Russell.
From Salina: James "JW" Clark, sophomore in mechanical engineering technology, bulk velocity apparatus; Joshua Jensen, junior in mechanical engineering technology, shear eliminator; Aaron King, junior in mechanical engineering technology, bulk velocity apparatus; and Robert Wilson, senior in computer systems technology, cluster computing.
Steven Pihl, sophomore in mechanical engineering technology, Smolan, bulk velocity apparatus; Dustin Ewing, sophomore in mechanical engineering technology, Solomon, bulk velocity apparatus; and Steven Colgrove, senior in computer systems technology, Washington, collaborative software.