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Projects provide relevant applications for management theory and principles covered in ETM courses. Our goal is to include an industry project in every ETM course for teams of three to five students. Criteria for project selection include the following:
- Projects shall be relevant to course content
- Projects shall be timed for semester-long courses
- Fall semester projects typically start in October and end in December
- Spring projects typically start in February and end in April
- Support for data collection and feedback shall be provided by sponsors
- Typical projects include one or more site visits for data collection, a mid-project status report at USC Upstate or on-site, and a final on-site presentation
- Students and faculty will sign non-disclosure agreements, if required.
The primary objective of projects is to supplement education. However, it is desired that projects serve the sponsoring organization by providing useful analysis and recommendations.
The following is a list of some past projects:
- Concrete Mix Optimization, Chapman Concrete, Spartanburg, SC
Linear programming was applied to concrete mix proportioning, a constrained optimization problem. The objective was to use Excel to develop a method for developing mixes that satisfy strength and workability constraints while minimizing cost. Results of this project were published in the Technology Interface (Volume 8 No.2, Spring 2008) under the title "Using Concrete Proportioning to Teach Spreadsheet Modeling."
- Life Test Operation Analysis, KEMET Corporation, Simpsonville, SC
Work analysis methods were applied to a capacitor life test operation. This project included several site visits to gather data to evaluate ergonomics, environment, tooling, plant layout, and work flow. This project spawned many laboratory exercises that ultimately contributed to the final report. KEMET obtained valuable process improvement recommendations from this project.
- Energy Efficient Lighting Upgrade Analysis, Deslee Textiles USA, Inman, SC
Analysis of illumination requirements was combined with cost analysis to evaluate the prospect of replacing existing light fixtures with energy efficient light fixtures.
- Carpet Vacuum Washer Stand Costing, Kusters/Zima, Spartanburg, SC
A method for grass-roots costing of a textile manufacturing machine was developed. Actual costs were obtained for raw materials and off-the-shelf parts and all labor for part fabrication and machine assembly were estimated based on drawings and bills of materials. The final cost estimate was in line with actual historical cost data.
- Swift Bicycles Company Costing
A pricing model for a fictitious, but realistic, startup bicycle manufacturing company was developed. Time value of money calculations were applied over a seven-year time frame with a target return on investment. The analysis accounted for costs of starting an LLC, designing the frame, off-the-shelf components, raw materials, labor, overhead, shipping, warrantee issues, patents, rent, and equipment. Results of this project were published in the Technology Interface (Volume 9 No.2, Spring 2009) under the title "Teaching Cost Analysis with a Bicycle Business Startup Project."
- Water Jet Evaluation, Munaco Packing & Rubber, Inc., Greenville, SC
Time value of money calculations were used to evaluate the feasibility of vertically integrating water jet machining capability, to eliminate outsourcing specialized component fabrication. Historical outsourcing data including component drawings were analyzed to estimate water jet requirements and usage.
- Solids Removal System Costing
A pricing model was developed for a student's invention, a solids removal system for water purification. Actual costs of raw materials, off-the-shelf parts, labor, and overhead were used in the pricing model based on drawings.
- Financial Analysis of a Laser Etching System, Timken Technology Center, Greenville, SC
The option to replace outsourcing by integrating a laser etching process into the current production flow was analyzed using time value of money calculations.
- Rail Load Out Process Analysis, Vulcan Materials Pacolet Quarry, Pacolet, SC
Work analysis and design methods were applied to the rail load out process and transportation scheduling to maximize shipments from the Pacolet Quarry to the Charleston Yard.
- Machining Center Replacement Cost Analysis, Baldor, Greenville, SC
The return on investment was determined for replacement and upgrade of a machining center.
- Winrobo Project Management, ASME Student Design Competition
A preliminary design was developed to meet the Winrobo ASME Student Design Competition requirements. The project management defining and planning stages were then performed on the basis of the preliminary design. Winrobo was required to automatically clean both panes of the outside of a double hung window using its own power and control capabilities.
- Production Scheduling Tool Development
A forecasting and optimization tool was developed in Excel to determine production quantities to maximize profits of two production lines. The tool employed a combination of forecasting, Monte Carlo analysis, and linear programming to determine optimal production quantities.
- Printing Department Efficiency Maximization, Tietex International, Spartanburg, SC
Work analysis and design methods were applied to a multiple machine/multiple operator environment to develop recommendations for efficient operator utilization, automation, and environmental controls.
- Supply Creel Manufacturing Process Analysis, CMS Metalworks, Belmont, NC & J.R. Warren Inc., Gastonia, NC
Operations analysis and design methods were applied to the supply creel manufacturing process to facilitate the manufacturing of the creels at the targeted cost. A supply creel is an apparatus that holds packages of yarn. Recommended improvements included outsourcing, part redesign, tooling changes, and plant layout changes.
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Industrial Advisory Committee
The ETM Industrial Advisory Committee represents the organizations that employ graduates. It periodically reviews the program curriculum, and provides advisement on current and future needs of the technical fields in which graduates are employed. Please download the ETM Industrial Advisory Committee Expectations (pdf) for more details.
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Field trips at industry sites can provide many examples of applications of management principles not possibe in a classroom. Please contact the Program Coordinator if you can arrange for a site visit and tour of your company by a small group of students.
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Speakers knowledgeable about engineering management principles are welcome to make a classroom presentation. If you have expertise in an area you consider essential for ETM students and would like to share that expertise with aspiring students, please contact the Program Coordinator.
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If you have an interest in teaching and expertise in an ETM subject matter, please consider teaching in the program. Visit the Part Time Academic Positions website or contact the Program Coordinator for information about teaching opportunities in the ETM program.
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The Engineering Technology Management program is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 - telephone: (410) 347-7700.