Asee peer logo

Multidisciplinary Mobile Elemental Power Plant Project

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Energy, the Environment, and Nano Technology

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.959.1 - 25.959.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Julanne K. McCulley Weber State University

visit author page

Julanne K. McCulley possesses a master's in engineering from Arizona State University and a bachelor's of science degree in electronic engineering technology and a bachelor's of science degree in mathematics teaching from Weber State University. McCulley is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Electronics Engineering Technology program in the Engineering Technology Department for the College of Applied Science and Technology at Weber State University. She is the Faculty Advisor for the Weber State University Section of the Society of Women Engineers and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). McCulley is a board member of the CAPA and SPARKS National Science Foundation project with five years of service. She has more than 17 years' experience working in industry as a project engineer specializing in automation and controls engineering.

visit author page


Dustin Scott Birch Weber State University

visit author page

Dustin S. Birch possesses a master's of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah, a bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah, and an associate's of science in design and drafting engineering technology from Ricks College. Birch is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department at Weber State University. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Utah Partnership for Education. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Birch has nearly 20 years of experience in detail design, engineering, and engineering management in the aerospace and process equipment industries.

visit author page


Megumi Usui Leatherbury Weber State University

visit author page

Megumi U. Leatherbury possesses a master's in technology from Purdue University, a bachelor's of science degree in computer design graphics technology from Weber State University. Leatherbury is an Assistant Professor for the Design Graphics Engineering Technology program in the Engineering Technology Department at Weber State University. She is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She has more than five years of experience working in automotive industry as a Design Engineer.

visit author page


Kelly A. Harward Weber State University

visit author page

Kelly A. Harward has a M.S. degree in manufacturing engineering technology, 1991, and a B.S. degree in design engineering technology, 1976. She has experience at Weber State University as an instructor, 1979-1982 and 1987-1891, Assistant Professor, 1991-1998, and Associate Professor, 1998-present (tenured March 1995). As a Course Instructor, she developed and taught several CAD/CAM courses using AutoCAD, Mechanical Desktop, Inventor, Ideas, SolidWorks, and ProE CAD/CAE/CAM software. These courses included Intro to CAD, Advanced CAD, CAD/CAM Applications, Engineering Design Using Solid Modeling, and Parametric Graphics Design. She also taught Descriptive Geometry, Manufacturing Simulation (ProModel), Process Automation & Robotics, Production Planning & Process Control, Statics & Strength of Materials, and Machine Design. As a Project Director, she managed several departmental projects funded by the institution’s Research, Scholarship and Professional Growth Committee, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Utah Science Technology and Research initiative, and/or the Utah Center for Aeronautical Innovation & Design. She wrote proposals, acquired and managed budgets, purchased and implemented hardware and software, and wrote final reports. Projects included: CAM/CAM Integration, CAM Package Integration with Amatrol CIM Cell, CIM Cell Expansion with Motoman industrial robot and bar code reader, PLC Trainer Station and Automation Equipment Integration, and several design projects of new innovative products. (Patent Pending on one: US 2011/0056992 A1). As a Faculty Advisor, she advised students on component and tool design, software programming, and scheduling of tasks and objectives, and helped manage budgets for several senior projects from 1991 to the present. These projects included the AMSAT Phase 3D Satellite, PLC controlled AS/RS, Lathe Integration with FMS/CIM Cell, height-adjustable wheelchair, PLC Training Stations, Adept SCARA Robot project, automated paint machine (Parker Hannifin), drop test machine (LifeTime Products), mower platform, flying swing, biodiesel system (Denali), and a crash test simulator for the Utah Highway Patrol. At Schlumberger Technologies/Applicon, she was a Sr. Applications Engineer, SLC, Utah, June 1981-June 1987, and Chicago, Ill., Dec. 1976- July 1979. She provided support in mechanical engineering and manufacturing applications of CAD/CAM Systems. and conducted customer training and software development in a wide variety of applications. She provided technical support in the implementation and use of CAD/CAM applications such as design using solid modeling techniques, finite element analysis, engineering documentation creation and control, and NC programming. She conducted application studies, assisted in CAD/CAM implementation plans and developed custom software programs for demonstrations and productivity improvements. She has done consulting and contract work, 1987- present. For Venture Outdoor Products, she has been a Design Engineer, Brigham City, Utah, Feb. 2006 - present. She designed (using Solidworks) two kick-boats made of roto-molded and plastic injection molded components for a small fishing boat company. The new products are currently available through Cabela’s. (See Cabela’s item #IK-321805, Patent #7587986). For Mills Equipment Co., she was a Design Engineer, Ogden, Utah, May 2008-May 2011. She researched materials, designed, and detailed (Solidworks) engineering fabrication plans for a automated punch-press machine to produce airbag deployment pellets for Autoliv. She completed all production drawings including details (ASME Y14.5M-1994) and assemblies with bill of materials and continued as a consultant during the fabrication and testing phases. For Lifetime Products, Inc., she was a Design Engineer in Roy, Utah, May 2006-Sept. 2006. She designed a thin but rigid plastic table with components to be produced in newly proposed proprietary process involving thermo-forming and blow-molding. Also, she designed other tables and chairs in both plastic and metal configurations using ProE (Wildfire 2.0). For Back to Basics Products, Inc. (Focus Electrics/West Bend), she was a Principal Engineer/Product Manager, Product Development, Bluffdale, Utah, Dec. 2003-Aug. 2005. She designed blenders, smoothie makers, food processors, toasters, and cocoa and coffee machines using SolidWorks and Pro/E. She was recently listed as one of the inventors on several patent applications and awarded a patent for the Slushie Maker. She designed and implemented a number of engineering management projects including a part naming convention, an engineering file management system, and a product data management system. For Autoliv. Airbag Module Facility, she was a Machine and Tool Design Engineer, Continuous Improvement Group, Process Development Department. June-Dec. 2002. She worked as a design engineer reporting on projects that included: an automated air-bag cover color and stud length detector using a variety of sensors, a cover extractor for recycling rejected air-bags, automated material air-bag folder machine, and other machines and tooling using Solidworks. For IOmega Corporation, She was a Design Engineer, Product Engineering, Roy, Utah, May 2000-Aug. 2001. She designed plastic injection molds, test fixtures, and assembly tools for several components of the engine module in the ZIP drive. She designed U-shaped cartridge, plastic enclosures, and accessories; red- lined drawings; wrote ECRs (Agile/Oracle database); and tracked approvals. She made contributions in the ZIP 250 redesign project by resolving design and modeling issues and was listed in a patent application for an ejection control feature on the ZIP 250 drive. She designed and implemented DOE tests to resolve functional problems, verified critical dimensions using an OGP Optical Comparator, and built prototypes using manual machine tools in the R&D lab. For Thiokol Propulsion Group, she was a Design Engineer, Tool Engineering, Promontory, Utah, June 1998-Aug. 1998. She designed mold assembly for a rubber seal in the joint-2 shuttle booster RSRM nozzle. She designed a restraint system and secondary shuttle ring manipulator using a trunnion mounted hydraulic cylinder. She developed and incorporated design changes in a 3D solid model database for design analysis and documentation. For Emerson Pacific Chromalox Division. she was a Manufacturing Engineer, Operations, Ogden, Utah, June 1995-Sept. 1995. She developed plans to improve productivity of two production lines, updated facility and engineering documentation using AutoCAD, and generated simulation models of production lines using ProModel, a manufacturing simulation package. She converted facility drawings to ProModel and developed algorithms in ProModel to quickly create multiple order mix scenarios and determine optimum sequencing. At Paramax/UNISYS, she was a Consultant, SLC, Utah, June 1987-Feb. 1988. She conducted research funded by the Defense Systems Division of UNISYS that determined the extent of existing automation in the design through manufacturing processes and determined the level of integration of the existing systems. She made recommendations to management regarding top level strategic planning, local, and wide area network implementation and management, standardization of automation tools, coordination, and support organizations of the systems. Also, she provided CAD/CAM system problem solving, evaluation, and training. She is affiliated with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

visit author page

Download Paper |


Multidisciplinary Mobile Elemental Power Plant (MEPP) ProjectIn the College of Applied Science and Technology (COAST) at Weber State University, weoffer instruction within our Engineering Technology curriculum on the various forms ofalternative energy. In promoting an active learning environment and accommodating thevarious learning methods of our students, we are in need of engaging, hands-on tools forlecture and supplemental labs on renewable energy. To address this need, a multidisciplinaryteam of faculty members and students from the Engineering Technology programs inCOAST are participating in a collaborative research project involving cogeneration ofrenewable energy.The research project, Mobile Elemental Power Plant (MEPP), allows students to participatein a capstone project on cross-disciplinary teams, providing each of them a means todemonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities in design, development, and fabrication of afinal product. The overall MEPP team is comprised of twenty-three diverse students fromfour technology disciplines: Electronics Engineering Technology (EET), Design GraphicsEngineering Technology (DGET), Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET), andManufacturing Engineering Technology (MFET), under the auspices of four faculty advisors.The large group is broken down into five sub-teams with student representatives from each ofthe disciplines. The students are given the freedom to be innovative in their subsystemdesigns with the understanding that each independent design must be integrated into a fullyoperational system. The sub-teams are concerned with envelope, budget, time management,coordination of activities, and team dynamics. The sub-teams must also work together andfunction as one large team with a common goal.In the past, multidisciplinary engineering teams have been formed with little success due todifferences in our program expectations for capstone projects. This research effort will giveEngineering Technology faculty the opportunity to observe and document the effectivenessof multidisciplinary engineering teams and to develop best practices for futuremultidisciplinary engineering projects.The outcomes of this study will help us to determine the viability of coordinatingmultidisciplinary engineering projects through student assessment and to assist in settingcommon goals and creating guidelines for multidisciplinary capstone projects. A rubric willbe used for assessment of student achievement in design reviews and project presentations.Student surveys will assist in evaluating the overall experience for students participating on amultidisciplinary project in comparison to program specific projects. The outcomes andresults of this multidisciplinary engineering project along with course goals and a capstoneproject guideline will be documented and disseminated in the final paper March 2012.

McCulley, J. K., & Birch, D. S., & Leatherbury, M. U., & Harward, K. A. (2012, June), Multidisciplinary Mobile Elemental Power Plant Project Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21716

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015