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Doing the impossible in a pandemic: Delivering student-designed fabricated parts to an industry client

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2021 Illinois-Indiana Regional Conference



Publication Date

April 16, 2021

Start Date

April 16, 2021

End Date

April 17, 2021

Conference Session

Labs and Experiential Learning

Tagged Topic

Labs and experiential learning

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Paper Authors


David Olawale R.B. Annis School of Engineering, University of Indianapolis Orcid 16x16

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Dr. David Olawale is an Assistant Professor of Engineering (Industrial and Systems) at the R. B. Annis School of Engineering (RBASOE), University of Indianapolis. He has diverse experience in research and development, as well as technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. His research areas include multifunctional composite materials and manufacturing, as well as innovation engineering. He has published over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers. He is the lead editor of the book on Triboluminescence (Triboluminescence: Theory, Synthesis, and Application), published by Springer in 2016. He has co-authored several book chapters including a chapter in the book, Nanotechnology Commercialization: Manufacturing Processes and Products, published by Wiley in 2017. At the RBASOE, he is taking a leading role in the design and implementation of the DesignSpine sequence and the development of entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students. He combines practical technology commercialization experience from co-founding two technology startup companies and serving as a consultant for others. He is also a project management professional (PMP).

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Payton Ashby Staman University of Indianapolis

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Payton studied Mechanical Engineering at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering at the University of Indianapolis. Among the first class to graduate from the program, Payton has remained in the Indianapolis area, working for a local utility company, Citizens Energy Group. Working for Citizens as a mechanical engineer, he enjoys supporting the community while maintaining Indianapolis's system for water, wastewater, gas, and thermal utilities. Payton is also a member of ASME.

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James T Emery II University of Indianapolis

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James Emery is the Laboratory Manager for Mechanical Systems at the R.B. Annis School of Engineering at the University of Indianapolis. Prior to coming to the University of Indianapolis James worked as a lead model maker at a scale model wind tunnel.

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March 2020 was a turning point for the world and for the education sector. While the semester started with the conventional face-to-face teaching mode, suddenly, there was total shut down and teaching had to be continued only in the virtual mode (online). This change in teaching mode posed particular challenges for lab-based and hands-on courses that require significant skill development through experiential learning. The challenges were further compounded by the requirement to work on industry-sponsored projects to design and fabricate needed parts based on clients’ requirements. This paper describes how a team of senior engineering students successfully designed a fixture for a critical automotive component for basic utility vehicle for third world countries, even in the midst of a pandemic. The basic utility vehicles feature robust and simple designs that enable them to survive the harsh environment while meeting the low-cost requirements in such markets. The project was a part of the course requirements for a manufacturing processes course. The paper highlights how the students successfully worked in a virtual environment, engaged the client, designed the part and had the designed parts fabricated and shipped to the clients. In addition, the critical role of technical staff in providing hands-on learning experiences as well as in completing a project, particularly in a pandemic, is highlighted. Key lessons learned from the perspectives of students, instructor, technical staff, and client were gathered through reflections and interviews.

Olawale, D., & Staman, P. A., & Emery, J. T. (2021, April), Doing the impossible in a pandemic: Delivering student-designed fabricated parts to an industry client Paper presented at 2021 Illinois-Indiana Regional Conference, Virtual. 10.18260/1-2--38264

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