Andy Newberry, MSU Texas
Julie Goforth wanted to embrace her senior design project.
It wasn’t just about finishing her final few credits and becoming a graduate,
it was a chance to leave a lasting impression at Midwestern State. And a time
to show the industrial world she was ready.
Khoa Tran needed a technical idea and then wanted to see it
implemented before he walked across the graduation stage.
The McCoy School of Engineering seniors had an opportunity
to do something special. Could they solve a real-life problem to help corporate
partner Arconic in the future? And could they accomplish that in an affordable
As a team, yes, they could. Goforth, Tran, and teammates
Heather Goolsby and William Mendez used the many technical and personal skills
they developed at Midwestern State to finish with a senior design success
story. They designed a mechanism for parts to be dipped into hot wax to seal
edges and protect metal during transport.
Previously an employee would have to hand-dip the items
into molten wax and do so at an ergonomically-challenging angle which could
cause physical strain and product reliability issues. An Arconic team, led by
Chris Keating and Kentzie Rhodes, worked with the McCoy quartet to see the
mission completed in May when they saw their design in operation.
“We learned quickly to communicate daily, sometimes
throughout the day when it came closer to our deadlines,” Goforth said.
“It was a great feeling (when it was finished),” Tran said.
“All the hours and hard work we put into the project did not go waste in the
end, and so, I felt very happy to see everything worked out as intended.”
Senior design is a yearlong senior capstone class that
emphasizes creative and critical thinking, planning, design, teamwork, and
Dr. Salim Azzouz, Associate Professor of Engineering at MSU
Texas, saw all those qualities and more on display with this group, working in
unison with Arconic. He said it was the first project of this kind with the
company, which operates an engineering and manufacturing plant for lightweight
metals in Wichita Falls.
Getting students working with professionals in an industry
is a goal of the class.
“Human interaction in any project is always a big part of
the equation,” Azzouz said. “In a project like this, there’s always something
to perfect. But how do we interact with each other? Sometimes you find people
very difficult to interact with and some are very open to ideas.”
It was also linking the past, present, and future at MSU
Texas. Keating is a 1998 graduate and is a leader for continued improvement at
Arconic. “He was a problem solver,” Azzouz said. “Tremendous! He’s very easy to
work with, very approachable. He was the one who made everything work.”
TO THE OCCASION
Goforth felt the biggest challenge was logistics. At times
the group spent one week at Arconic followed by a week on campus. “Because
Arconic produces aero engine components using a proprietary process, it was
necessary for us to visit the plant and take back with us very little
information that we could share. Determining what we could draw on our
boards or discuss at school was a challenge. We eventually had engineers
from Arconic come to MSU once a week during the final stages of design because
the machine had become so complex.”
“Julie was really the link,” Azzouz said. “She works as an
intern at Arconic, and she did tremendous work of coordinating between us and
Arconic. The students designed the whole machine with supervision and
Goforth said Tran came up with the concept for the quick
return mechanism. Tran felt some pressure in the beginning, but he rose to the
“My biggest challenge was coming up with the idea for the
parts, and then, implementing that idea into the design during the
brainstorming phase and designing phase,” Tran said. “Because of my limited
experience with the real-world machining process, I struggled when designing
parts for the machine. Some parts were impossible to machine due to the
complexity of their shape. It was a difficult challenge.”
It took time and teamwork. And patience. But there was a
pay-off, Goforth said.
“Because our design phase had taken so much of the second
semester, we came down to the last week of the semester before the machine was
built and assembled,” Goforth said.
experience was quite similar to how a team works in the real world, so it
definitely made me feel more prepared for life after college,” Tran said.
TAKES A TEAM
“I want to thank my professor, Dr. Salim Azzouz, for his
never-ending support and involvement in this project,” Goforth said. “He
encouraged us, challenged us and taught us to be professional and accountable
throughout this project.”
And the group proved to make it
affordable, too, coming in at $4,300 below the original cost projection.
“I would like to thank Arconic for bringing us this project
and all the support they have provided us during the project,” Tran said. “I
also wanted to thank Dr. Azzouz for his guidance and advice during the project.
And finally, I wanted to thank everyone on our team for putting aside the
disagreements and differences to make this project a success. It was a
wonderful experience, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Selected questions and answers from the McCoy School of Engineering/Arconic wax
dipping machine senior design project.
Q: What was the teamwork like
and does it make you feel more prepared for life after college?
addressed before, the team became the four of us students and two engineers
from Arconic and after parts were ordered and delivered to Arconic for
machining, the team included their design team and machinists and electrical
engineers. We learned quickly to communicate daily, sometimes throughout the
day when it came closer to our deadlines.
I learned how to schedule, coordinate meetings and
invaluable communication skills throughout this project. This will be an asset
for my current job I just started after graduation as an assistant project manager
for the local construction company, FG Haggerty.
Tran: The teamwork was
great. We had some disagreements here and there. Miscommunication also occurred
between our team and the Arconic sometimes. But after all, we reached out to
each other, made some compromises, and then pushed the project forward
together. This experience was quite similar to how a team works in the
real-world so it definitely made me feel more prepared for life after
Q: Your feelings when you
realized everything was going to work out and it was a major success?
our design phase had taken so much of the second semester, we came down to the
last week of the semester before the machine was built and assembled. When we
finally had the chance to go see the machine mounted and functional, I felt
like we had accomplished something that very few people in a college setting
will ever experience. To have been given a task this paramount with such a
limited time in which to complete seemed daunting at first. But in the end, we
created a machine that is an actual working mechanism that will be incorporated
into a proprietary process for a multi-billion dollar company. I’m very proud
of my group, to say the least.
was a great feeling! All the hours and hard-work that we put into the
project did not go to waste in the end, and so, I felt very happy to see
everything worked out as intended.
Q: Advice for young students
going into the McCoy College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering?
advice for new McCoy Students is to learn everything you can in your four years
at MSU. Give your instructors your full attention when they speak. Take notes
and absorb everything you are taught, not just for your tests and finals, but
for your permanent knowledge. The pinnacle of your engineering education will
occur during senior design. Every class you have taken will come in to play
during your last year. Giving presentations of your project will force you to
know your project inside and out and will prepare you for your future career.
Get an engineering internship! It’s vital for future employers looking at your
resume to see that you have experience. Treat each week as if it’s you’re last
week in McCoy and don’t take one second for granted. And lastly, be a lifelong
learner. Education does not stop once you cross the stage at graduation. Always
strive for more knowledge. It’s a powerful thing.
hard. Keep it simple when designing things. Learn more about machining process.
And don't give up. It will be a difficult road but it will be worth it.
Q: Did this experience already
set up a job opportunity?
taken taken a job as assistant project manager for FG Haggerty, a local
construction company. I want to thank my professor, Dr. Salim Azzouz for his
never-ending support and involvement in this project. He encouraged us,
challenged us and taught us to be professional and accountable throughout this
project. I also want to give credit to Khoa Tran for coming up with the concept
of a quick return mechanism that the entire machine was built around.
design projects 2018-19
of Deflection in GPHE products under hydro-static pressure (Brian Blair, Joseph Munholland, Chenai
Sukume, Xiao Chengxiang)
loop systems for material flows and power transmissions
(Blake Jenkins, Timothy Jones, Grantley Samuels, Zachary Voohies)
wireless surveillance systems with unpredictable coherent motions
(Virgil Henry, Darrell Middelsworth, Mamgoree Sock, Juwel Williams)
pencil sharpening robotic work cell (Afolabi Adereti, Aaron
Calvert, Jedeshkeran Chandrasegaran, Parth Sagpariya)
pick and place servo robot using a programmable logic controller
(Akech Frankline, Mi’Kyle Percentie, Jenom Pyeng, Bryan Rutledge)
bionic robot hand with force feedback (Nchetachukwu Anih, Chance
Craig, Dieonna George, Kenneth Griffin)
and implementation of a bionic robot arm (Omar Clarke, Jomarie
Leblanc, Michael Sweeting, Nicholas Wolf)
based movable apparatus for the biology department
(Johnny Cognasi, Jason Perkins, Joseph Randall, Melanie Ronoh)
flow performance in the wellbore (Abdulhadi Alsadi, Tapiwa
Gasseler, Till Gebel, Abigail Ryes)
dipping machine (Julie Goforth, Heather Goolsby, William
Mendez, Khoa Tran)
(Photo by Kentzie Rhodes) From left to right, Chris Keating, William Mendez, Jerry Miles, Julie Goforth, Khoa Tran, Heather Goolsby, Dr. Salim Azzouz, Mike Kwas, and D.R. Shed.