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Project and Thesis Topics

MSE Project Topics

  • Hydraulic Fracturing Proppant – Improved Technology for a Sustainable Energy Future
    A new fracturing proppant and sustainable manufacturing process that can fulfill market demand is proposed. The proposed product will address industry performance requirements, fines, permeability, conductivity under stress, and economic feasibility. The product will also attempt to address environmental concerns for groundwater contamination.
  • A Study on Comparison of 3D Work Instruction Authoring Packages for Manufacturing Engineering Applications
    This study compares and evaluates three commercial off-the shelf Work Instruction (WI) authoring packages, namely, the Anark Core 4, 3DVIA Composer, and Pages3D, and primarily focuses on Manufacturing Engineering (ME) job roles for authoring the shop-floor instruction. Comparison and evaluation criteria were based on the following major authoring tasks: (a) import and translate standard CAD file formats; (b) authoring steps & procedures; and (c) publishing graphics and documents. This evaluation also included an analysis of a benchmark that measures both performance and usability (number of steps to perform a specific task). The results of the comparison and evaluation indicated both weak and strong points of each WI authoring package. Future rsearch can be expanded with a questionnaire approach to a group of real users (engineers) to provide significant data for making usability decisions.
  • Single Use Technology in Culture Media Manufacturing
    The aim of this project is to resolve regulatory gaps associated with open processing in lower grade facilities without incurring large upfront capital and long term routine operating costs. When a facility does not meet current requirements, remediation is needed such as installation of additional airlocks, upgraded air handling, increased facility cleaning, and potential expansion to incorporate additional operating area. These improvements require large capital costs to implement and increased routine operation costs. An alternative is using new technologies such as enclosed raw material dispensing and mixing systems and single use containers.
  • Design and Qualification of a Vaccine Processing System at Merck & Co., Inc.
    Manufacturing of bulk vaccine product is a complex and sometimes long process to complete. This makes the equipment and systems needed to produce the vaccine product complex as well. Equipment design requires sound scientific and engineering logic to create a system per pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry guidelines. System qualification requires robust validation strategies to ensure repeatability, efficiency and continuous quality. This document will walk an individual through the design and qualification of a vaccine processing system used to produce clarified bulk as portrayed through my project at Merck & Co. Inc. in West Point, PA. The techniques outlined throughout the paper were used during the project and are based on industry standards and subject matter expertise for Mechanical Design, Cleaning Validation, Sterilization Validation and Process Performance Qualification. Due to confidentiality restrictions of equipment and processes at Merck & Co. Inc., this document is generic to processing systems used in a bulk vaccine production facility, and not entirely specific to the design and qualification project that I completed.
  • Testing and Selection of Recycled Plastic for Use in the Manufacture of Magic Marker Caps at Crayola LCC
    Crayola’s plastics department efforts to reduce manufacturing cost by saving on materials for broadline and fineline marker caps involved two options: (1) find and approve a natural recycled material that could be blended with virgin resin at a percentage to be determined. This would save money on material and also reduce Crayola’s carbon footprint. (2) proposal for necessary core tooling to be retro-fitted to existing molds in order to produce a lighter cap. This study outlines the steps taken to fulfill the first option.
  • Multiple or Consolidated Manufacturing Operations – Which is Cheaper, Faster, and Better
    This paper uses cost, time and quality aspects to answer the question of whether multiple manufacturing locations or consolidated manufacturing operatons at one location are best for a company. Is it cheaper, faster, or better? These questions are asked while analyzing the actual test operation of TriQuint Semiconductor which is currently conducted over multiple locations.
  • Use of Meteorite in Jewelry Design
    The use of meteorite in jewelry designs requires testing to understand the tendency of the material to rust and appropriate strategies for dealing with the corrosion.  One of the primary design considerations for this collection was determining how to incorporate corrosion protection for the meteorite pieces, if at all. Just as silver tarnishes and can be refurbished through polishing, meteorite with rust formations can be cleaned with fiberglass and wire brushes to remove the rust.  Therefore, it is expected that the customer will be willing to purchase a material that will require some maintenance as long as there is perceived value in the beauty and rarity of it.  However, it is still a goal of the development effort to deliver a final product that is as resistant to rust formation as possible.  
  • Implementation of a Plant Lean Transformation
    This paper describes the process of implementing a lean transformation in Parker Hannifin’s Syracuse, Indiana manufacturing facility, the headquarters for the Engineered Seals Division, and also the Engineered Products Business Unit. In June 2011, the Syracuse facility started on a journey to change the core culture of the business to focus more intently on lean manufacturing models. For those employees not directly involved, the project provides an overview of the main tools and decisions that were developed during the first two and a half years of this lean journey. Lean thrives on continuous improvements. This initial stage set the beginning foundations for a lean culture that must continue to alter how the tools function and are utilized to facilitate the continual improvement of the growing business.  
  • The US Market for Electric Vehicles and the Impact of Tesla Motors
    This paper was designed to briefly discuss the history of the Electric Vehicle (EV) in the United States and the rise of Tesla Motors in the past decade.  The electric vehicle dates back to the mid 1830’s yet quickly disappeared in the early 1900’s as the gasoline-powered vehicle was mass-produced.  General Motors produced the EV1 in the late 1980s in an attempt to revive the market for electric vehicles yet that also faded in favor of cheap gasoline and larger Sport Utility Vehicles.  Now Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley start up far from Detroit, is aiming to be the first automotive company to mass produce pure electric vehicles.  The intent of this research is to see how electric vehicles have made their way back into the auto industry and to measure if there are enough consumers for a truly viable electric vehicle marketplace in the United States.  Tesla has introduced some expensive yet well-performing models and has future plans for less-expensive mass-produced models.  There is also competition from other automakers such as Nissan and Chevrolet.  Further adding to the EV appeal, the United States Government has offered some incentives to both electric vehicle companies as well as consumers. Recommendations for Tesla Motors are discussed with opportunities for further research into specific customer specifications for electric vehicles, the price point at which they would purchase an EV, and whether they would purchase an EV without the perks or incentives currently offered.
  • The Effect of Personality Composition on Team Performance
    In the engineering world today, we have moved from individual work at a computer or desk to group work requiring team collaboration.  As the problems we need to solve get more complex, it becomes more of a necessity to develop effective groups.  This paper examines the effects of the personalities of team members can have on the effectiveness of the group.  Research shows that a group is more effective if the members of the group have personalities that are more homogenous.  In addition, the paper investigates the possibility of developing these more effective teams using personality testing.  Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation Inventory is offered as a probable assessment to use to develop the teams, and a potential experiment is proposed to test the hypothesis.
  • Anodizing Line at Pulse Technologies, Inc.
    Titanium Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of titanium components, with minimal dimensional change. Titanium anodizing is classified in four types; the focus of this project is Titanium Anodizing Type III, which offers a perceived spectrum of surface colors on titanium components without offering anti-galling or wear resistivity. In the medical industry this process is widely used in orthopedic components such as bone screws and plates, to ease the identification of the component to be implanted, by using specific colors according to the size, without having to use measuring devices during surgery.

    The purpose of this report is to document the evolution of this process implementation at Pulse Technologies, Inc., from the installation of the equipment to the present day, exposing some of the problems encountered in the development of the project and the executed solutions.

  • Availability Provider and General Contractor: Business Models to Achieve Sustainment Growth for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
    Global Sustainment has been given the objective of increasing projected 2015 sustainment revenues by 10%. Two large market segments that require sustainment services for their aircraft are Readiness Buyers and Basic Needs Buyers. To succeed in both of these business models seven projects will be executed to meet commitments in terms of revenue growth, and perhaps more importantly meet commitments to keep customers’ aircraft at peek performance. These projects include the following: brand LM as a committed provider of sustainment, create the internal IT architecture, align the solution invention process, improve field operations reporting, align supply chain management organizations, institutionalize lifecycle product management, improve cost competitiveness.
  • Liquid Dispensing Technology: An Innovative Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Platform for the 21st Century
    The System known as Liquid Dispensing Technology has revolutionized the way highly potent / low dose drug products are developed and manufactured at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). This paper examines the platform technology’s basic operation and features (such as continuous processing, modular flexibility, process analytical technology and the potential for real-time product release), its functional performance compared to traditional pharmaceutical unit operations, and a cost comparison to traditional processes, as well as some of the technological challenges.
  • Optimizing Human Input to a Manufacturing System by Utilizing the Measurement and Prediction of Human Performance (thesis)
    Although human input has been recognized to have a significant impact on the system, optimization of human input has not had much academic attention or significant attention in industry. This study examines the case for including operator assessment during the hiring process using pre-employment assessment testing. It presents the methodology behind the science of human performance predictors and connects this science of psychometric testing with current pragmatic assessment testing service offerings that are steadily growing internationally. The current state of the assessment testing industry and market are presented along with trends seen in industry.
  • Construction Jobsite 4-D Real-Time Modeling Data and Methods for Standardized Crane Motion Simulation and Study
    An original 4-D model was created to represent crane motion on a construction jobsite. It comprised positional data in terms of a standardized X, Y, Z coordinate frame-of-reference, and also a standardized time-frame for the crane kinematic behavior. The time-frame is expected to be consistent with computations for construction operations simulation models. One test application of the model and a CSX file utilized a CAD system to produce crane motions and a CSX file; another used crane lifting parameters as input to a computer program which automatically generates potential lifting motions and a CSX file. The CSX file was used to demonstrate an animation of the crane operation and indicated that the 4-D model data and methods are valid for various crane operations on construction jobsites and can now be included in simulation and operational improvement programs.
  • Dedicated Flow and Level Production of Hot Tamales at Just Born, Inc.
    Hot Tamales manufacturing and scheduling processes were examined at Just Born, Inc. Data from the production process was mapped graphically along with problems and issues associated with current processes. Utilizing a series of lean elements, opportunities were identified to solve the current problems and improve the Hot Tamales processes. Actionable items were recommended and deadlines established. Metrics were developed to ensure the project stays on schedule and improvement align with corporate objectives.