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Capstone Design is a two-semester course that engineering students take their senior year. The purpose of the course is to teach them how to apply the academic knowledge they’ve accumulated during their first three years to a real industry project. These projects focus on project management, evaluation of design alternatives and design recommendations in the first semester. The second semester consists of design implementation then validation.
There are many different types of projects that the students can undertake. This past academic year my ISE students completed the following projects:
• Developed and implemented an inventory management system that was a hybrid of Kanban and MRP
• Developed and implemented a production scheduling system
• Implemented Lean systems in a healthcare facility
• Developed and audit dashboard for nationwide use
• Implemented smart-phone technology to improve forecasting
• Designed a Teaching Factory for the Tickle College of Engineering (more about that further down)
• Conducted Kaizen Improvement Events on a production line
• Conducted detailed Design of Experiments for a manufacturer
What makes a good Capstone Design project? A colleague described it best as “that project that keeps getting left on the dry erase board after meetings because no one [in the company] can find the time to do it”. It should certainly be a project that a company can wait nine months for completion. It should also be something that brings value and economic impact to the company.
In addition to getting a project completed, companies participating in Design Capstone get to “interview” a team of four-to-five engineers for the duration of the nine-month project. Each member of the Team is expected to dedicate eight hours per week (including our two hours of class time) to the industry project. The majority of this time is working off site, but some on-site visits are necessary.
I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss conducting one of these projects for your company. I’m currently looking for 8 to 10 projects to start up in August 2022 with a May 2023 completion.