Western Engineering Showcases Innovative Solutions at MME Capstone Design Day


(From left) Fourth-year mechanical engineering students Adam Kenney, Carlos Pena, Murray Craig and Joseph Hodes at a booth featuring North Star Windows and Doors’ double sash window with a 1:50 scale model of the assembly line in the background.

Western University's Faculty of Engineering recently hosted its much-anticipated Capstone Design Day for Mechanical and Materials Engineering (MME), spotlighting the culmination of months of intensive project work and ingenuity. The event, a hallmark of the fourth-year course MME4499, "Mechanical Engineering Design Project," provided a platform for graduating students to showcase their innovative solutions to real-world engineering challenges. 

Design Day, held last month, featured presentations from student teams who had embarked on a seven-month journey from initial problem statements to fully realized prototypes. These projects were supported by comprehensive documentation, cost analyses, and summaries of design iterations, demonstrating the depth of engineering talent at Western. 

One standout project hailed from a team of fourth-year Mechanical Engineering and Co-op students who collaborated with local industry partner North Star Windows and Doors. Led by Murray Craig, the team focused on optimizing an assembly line to accommodate North Star's latest product line. 

"Our primary goal was to enhance the efficiency of an assembly line to accommodate North Star's newest product line," explained Craig. "Essentially, we aimed to optimize the manufacturing process to increase productivity and profitability." 

The team's approach involved a meticulous analysis of the existing assembly line, identifying bottlenecks and areas of inefficiency. Through careful observation and data collection, they devised a plan to balance the stations for smoother flow and redesign the layout to optimize space utilization. 

"Time is money, and the less time it takes to build a product, the more money you will make," said Craig. "Our project aimed to squeeze every second out of the current assembly line, ultimately increasing profits for the company." 

Collaborating closely with North Star's process engineers, the team refined standard operating procedures to align with the new layout. The project culminated in a validation process through onsite testing and simulation software, ensuring the proposed changes would yield tangible improvements. 

"We're thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with such a reputable industry partner," remarked Craig. "Their collaboration was instrumental in our success." 

“This project is an excellent example of the industry/academia collaboration that we are building to benefit both companies and students by providing them with relevant opportunities for experiential learning. It also demonstrates the ability of our students to apply classroom learning to solve real-world problems. This year, the majority of our capstone projects were scoped in partnership with industry and community-based sponsors, which is a trend that we will continue in future deliveries”, says John Makaran, professor in the department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and Capstone Project Co-ordinator.   

mme-mass-insThe partnership between Western Engineering students and industry and community leaders exemplifies the university's commitment to fostering innovation and real-world problem-solving. As these talented young engineers prepare to enter the workforce, their achievements at MME Capstone Design Day underscore their readiness to tackle complex challenges and drive technological advancements. 

With projects like these, Western University continues to nurture the next generation of engineering leaders, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience needed to make meaningful contributions to society. As the world faces increasingly complex challenges, the innovative solutions showcased at events like MME Capstone Design Day offer hope for a brighter future driven by the power of engineering ingenuity.