2023 COES Design and Research Conference

Mechanical Engineering Senior Projects

Green Session: Integrated Engineering and Science Building 112.

Moderator: Dr. Yun Chen

1:00 p.m.

Power Coat Patterning Machine

Team Members:  Kade Brady, Evan Ellis, Connor Hollis, Stewart Hopper

Sponsor: Steven Shugarts, Gordon Inc.

Advisor: Dr. Shafiqur Rahman

Gordon Incorporated, located in Bossier City, Louisiana, specializes in powder coating panels suitable for interior and exterior applications. Gordon Incorporated is expanding its product line to include weathered patterns. Currently, our sponsor manually disrupts the surface using a Swiffer duster to create the desired pattern. This manual process is inconsistent, time-consuming, and not cost-effective. We aim to fully automate this process without sacrificing quality. Our team designed a system to replace an employee and replicate the manual disruption process. Our design easily meshes with the preexisting manufacturing line and offers pattern variability. We focused on artificially resembling a rusted metal pattern but designed a device that can be easily adapted to implement other naturally occurring patterns. To deem this project a success, the device needs to reproduce a rusted metal pattern, be easily implemented, include pattern variability, and meet all design constraints. We have produced a product that meets these measures of success and will be an asset to Gordon Incorporated’s growing market.

1:30 p.m.

B52 Drogue Parachute Delivery Stand

Team Members:  Cade Miller, Luke Suarez, Josiah Taylor, Trent Terminie

Sponsor: Air Force Global Strike Command

Advisor: Dr. Henry Cardenas

The Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) is a major command whose headquarters reside at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana. They are responsible for handling the United States’ three intercontinental ballistic aircraft, which includes the B-52. The B-52 utilizes a parachute housed in its tail to slow it down during landing, which also reduces mechanical wear on the brakes. A scaffold-type rolling stand is used to load the parachute into the tail of the aircraft. The disadvantages of the current stand include long assembly/disassembly time, a large shipping footprint, and many points of stress failure. The proposed design is a scissor lift platform that reduces the shipping footprint and assembly/disassembly time by reducing the number of parts to assemble and their complexity. This design provides a factor of safety of 2 against yielding and reduces the shipping footprint by 44 percent. This design will also allow the scissor lift to be transported quickly and will improve the readiness of the B-52.

2:00 p.m.


2:30 p.m.

Low Current Crack Arrest Treatment Electrode

Team Members:  Anthony Copeland, Jacob Gingles, John McDonald, Jake Odom

Sponsor: American Electric Power (AEP)

Advisor: Dr. John Matthews

The sponsor for this project is American Electric Power (AEP). AEP is a large-scale energy company that provides power to customers in eleven states. One of the problems with power plants is that cracks can develop in boiler tubes due to the natural use of the system. The current method of dealing with these cracks is to replace the affected section of piping. Our goal is to deliver an alternative method for mitigating crack growth by electroplating the boiler tubes to stop cracks from propagating. Electroplating is a process of depositing metal ions onto a metal sample using an electric current. The main deliverable of this project is an electrode assembly that can navigate curves in the boiler tubes and perform the electroplating process with a relatively low amount of electric current.

3:00 p.m.

Composite Roller Lubricating System

Team Members:  Charles Rink, Clausius Sama, Eric Smith

Sponsor: Sawyer Plastics

Advisor: Dr. Yun Chen

The sponsor of this project, Bill Sawyer, runs Sawyer Plastics of West Monroe which manufactures a variety of products for the paper industry, the food service industry, and others. Sawyer Plastics produces a sealing component called the “silencer” that functions within the Suction Roll machine in a paper mill. The machine sucks water out of a passing roll of paper. Our goal is to extend the life span of the silencer by decreasing wear. We proposed utilizing the water being sucked out to help lubricate the silencer’s surface. By modifying the silencer’s profile to include several grooves and fillets, the water already being sucked out can form a friction-reducing boundary layer on the surface. A scale model suction roll was built that could experimentally determine the friction coefficient of our silencer to gauge its efficacy. The reduction in friction means a longer-lasting silencer and a lower energy cost to operate the suction roll machine.

3:30 p.m.

Meta-Material Landing Pad System

Team Members:  Brett Ezernack, Noah Head, Luke Griego, Tanner Mayo

Sponsor: Greg Luebbering, Gill Athletics

Advisor: Dr. Timothy Reeves

The sponsor for this project is Gill Athletics located in Champaign, Illinois. They are the world’s largest manufacturer of track and field equipment. Some of Gill’s popular products are pole-vaulting and high-jump landing pads. For years the entire pole-vaulting/high-jump industry has used the same internal pad construction. The goal of this project is to improve Gill’s current pad design by decreasing its weight, without increasing the peak acceleration experienced by the athlete when they fall onto the pad. As a result, the pad will be cheaper to ship and easier for the user to move, while still being safe for athletes to use. The chosen design uses meta-material concepts to decrease the weight of the pad without increasing the peak acceleration. The new design also has fewer pieces composing the internal structure, ultimately reducing the cutting and assembly costs for the product.

4:30 p.m.

Combined Session and Barnwell Awards

Safety Session: Integrated Engineering and Science Building 114.

Moderator: Dr. Ethan Hilton

1:00 p.m.

Hydrogen Cooler Cover Keeper

Team Members:  Grant Amerson, Jared Arnold, Mitchell Austin, John Cook

Sponsor: Jeremy Brimer, CLECO

Advisor: Dr. Ethan Hilton

CLECO’s Brame Energy Center is a power plant located in Lena, Louisiana, which produces over 1,600 megawatts of power for central Louisiana. Within this power plant, there are hydrogen heat exchangers that help maintain the safe and efficient production of electricity by cooling turbine-related machinery. On each hydrogen cooler, there are a total of four bolted access covers with each cover weighing 150 pounds. The current maintenance process requires that the covers be lowered to the ground (approximately 10 feet below) and then hauled back up at the conclusion of this work. This lowering and lifting process is time-consuming and requires heavy machinery with certified crane operators. CLECO has tasked our team with making the cover removal process more efficient. Our project design helps drastically reduce the cover removal time, removes the need for certified crane operator support, and removes the need for the covers to be lowered to the ground. The design will also be easy to operate, with only two operators required to move the covers using up to 13 pounds of manual force.

1:30 p.m.

Tank Head Flipping Apparatus

Team Members:  Austin Barton, Mike Castro, Jordan Holcombe, Anton Razepine

Sponsor: Austin Phillips, Union Tank Car Company

Advisor: Dr. Timothy Reeves

Union Tank Car Company (UTLX) is a railway equipment leasing, rail car maintenance, and rail car manufacturing company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. For our project, we worked with the tank heads that are welded onto the end of each rail car. UTLX required an apparatus to reorient multiple tank heads safely and simultaneously. This apparatus enables their team to cut off the excess metal that inhibits proper welding of each head to the car. Our design is a cage mounted on support legs that can rotate the stack of tank heads about their center of gravity. This design was needed to enable this operation to occur in less than 30 minutes with no damage/alterations to the tank heads. The design also had to accommodate various standard sizes of tank heads while making the process safer and easier. In our project, we ensured that the heads could be supported by the new apparatus, employing numerous safety measures around and in the apparatus, and allowing the UTLX team to load/unload the stack efficiently from just one access point. Our design will virtually eliminate any possible damage to the tank heads, as they will be reoriented with a controlled and safe process.

2:00 p.m.


2:30 p.m.

Cooling Tower Filter System

Team Members:  Austin Irons, Aaliyah Jackson, Dylan Gray, Davis Sutton

Sponsor: Calumet Lubricants

Advisor: Dr. Michael Swanbom

Calumet Lubricants located in Shreveport, Louisiana, sponsored our project. Calumet produces a variety of products from oils to solvents to fuel. Cooling tower water entering a series of pumps must be filtered to remove debris to be used in different stages of production. When the current cooling tower filters are removed for cleaning the process allows debris to fall back into the stream causing expensive damage to the pumps. Our new design uses an insert to slide over the face of the current filter and “sandwich” the debris between the faces. Now, when the filter is removed the new design forces the debris to be enclosed within the assembly. To ensure the simplicity of our design, we stayed with the same method of operation utilizing the overhead pulley system that was already in place. The new design provides clean removal of debris which increases the longevity of the pumps by decreasing the need for repairs.

3:00 p.m.

MEA Actuator Removal Tool

Team Members:  MeiLan Hardin, Austin Marlar, Michael Snodgrass

Sponsor: Cleco

Advisor: Dr. Ethan Hilton

Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC is an energy production and distribution company. The project is taking place in Cleco’s Brame Energy Center located in Lena, Louisiana. Multiple corporate brand MEA actuators are located inside the Rodemacher Unit 2 section of the energy center. Each actuator unit is roughly 4 feet tall by 2 feet square and weighs ~1700 pounds. Once a year, these devices need maintenance. This maintenance requires removal from its holding structure and transportation to a maintenance facility. The current removal and replacement process takes up to 4 hours and is potentially unsafe. The enclosed space where the actuator units are housed is generally too small for a forklift to be used. The newly designed solution to this problem is to use a short pallet jack with a tilting mechanism attached. This will allow the actuator unit to be removed from its holding structure and passed through all the adjacent spaces that have limited clearances. With this design, the safety of the workers involved is improved and a significantly faster removal time is achieved.

3:30 p.m.

Rapid Locking Manway Cover

Team Members: Kennedy Abshire, Mattew Gennaro, Dale Lasseigne, Stuart McLoughin

Sponsor: Union Tank Car Company

Advisor: Dr. Michael Swanbom

Union Tank Car Company (UTLX) is based in Alexandria, Louisiana. It manufactures and leases railroad tank cars. Each tank car has a manway cover that seals an opening that is periodically accessed for interior cleaning. We are tasked with redesigning the traditional 8-bolt manway cover located at the top of these cars. The issue with the 8-bolt design is the time it takes to open and close it and the human error associated with the tightening pattern. Our design has one center bolt that actuates eight lever arms simultaneously. This arrangement evenly distributes the sealing force and provides a mechanical advantage when closing. We eliminated the need for laboriously following a bolt-tightening pattern. This design change reduced the closing time by over 50 percent. The financial benefit of this design comes from the elimination of costs and safety hazards associated with improperly sealed tank cars.

4:30 p.m.

Combined Session and Barnwell Awards (Room 112).

Performance Session: Integrated Engineering and Science Building 122.

Moderator: Dr. Henry Cardenas

1:00 p.m.

Automated Bag Fitter

Team Members:  Avereigh Barras, Morgan Manuel, Ezekeial Webb

Sponsor: James Hayes, Hayes Manufacturing

Advisor: Dr. Arden Moore

Hayes Manufacturing is a custom and industrial manufacturer located in Pineville, Louisiana. The company provides high-speed, high-precision machining, welding, and fabrication services for heavy industry. There is a need for a tool that assists in the placement of garbage bags into waste cans without having to reach into the can and without the nuisance of entrapping air between the inside of the can and the outside of the plastic bag. The design uses a DC blower-style fan, a 9V battery, and other electronics enclosed in a housing unit. A custom tube attached to the unit evacuates the trapped air while keeping the housing unit located on the outside edge of the trashcan, thus maximizing the fit and capacity of the bag. The measures of success for this project can be summed in the following: complete operation within 2 minutes, minimum bag conformity of 80 percent, and total hardware that does not exceed a weight of 3 lbs. This product can impact the everyday consumer by reducing the time and hassle that comes with inserting trash bags and fitting them into the can.

1:30 p.m.

Flight Proving Ground

Team Members:  Claire Cazedessus, Yves Cucinella, Cle’ Sanchez, John Weinell

Sponsor: Sci-Port Discovery Center

Advisor: Dr. William Long

Sci-Port Discovery Center is a science and space center, partnered with NASA, and located in Shreveport, Louisiana. Sci-Port’s goal is to increase involvement and interest in STEM-related fields. Sci-Port has reached out to Louisiana Tech to technologically innovate the Flight Proving Ground exhibit. This exhibit is a fun activity for individuals to launch paper airplanes through hoops. Our goal is to improve the educational and technological aspects of this exhibit. Our design includes two targets: one stationary and one in motion. The hoop targets sense when an airplane passes through. The hoops then emit lights to illustrate success. At the start of the exhibit, a screen monitor assigns users to selected historical characters that have influenced the history of the flight. A brief description of each character is provided to educate the users. The monitor displays the number of points they achieve based on the success of their airplane’s flight. The moving target points are awarded depending on the distance. Our design increased plane detection to 95 percent accuracy, improved user feedback using flashing lights and a displayed score and improved the educational aspect of this exhibit via an interactive and formational screen.

2:00 p.m


2:30 p.m.

Tank Car Insulation Applicator

Team Members:  Ben Leethy, Blake Fagan, Kameron McKnight, Michael Morgan

Sponsor: Scott Enger, Union Tank Car Company

Advisor: Mr. Roger Danzy

The Union Tank Car Company (UTLX) owns the largest tank car fleet in North America and assembles each tank at its factory in Alexandria, Louisiana. A critical step in the production process involves applying insulation between the car’s inner and outer shells. The current method of insulation application is an entirely manual process utilizing four technicians. UTLX desires an automated process to reduce the number of technicians, and thus, the total number of man-hours. The team developed a process that uses an overhead crane/trolley system to pull the insulation around the tank car. A pneumatic piston system suspends the insulation above the tank car’s surface until it is ready to be lowered. The pistons then release pressure to conduct a controlled lowering of the insulation onto the tank car. The implementation of this design will reduce the number of required technicians by two. With an estimated labor cost of $76,987.50 per technician per year, the projected labor savings per year will be $153,975.

3:00 p.m.

Gasket Sealing System

Team Members: Sahr Alhejaili, Wesley Goldstein, Ben Grice, Devin McCartney

Sponsor: Step-Ko Products LLC

Advisor: Dr. Prabhu Arumugam

Located in Broussard, Louisiana, Step-Ko Products is a provider of corrosion protection products for the oil and gas industry. Currently, the company is working to increase the speed and efficiency of the assembly process of the gaskets that they produce. This process consists of applying an adhesive into the groove of one side of a gasket and then placing a solid sealing element into the groove. Once this is completed, the process is repeated on the other side of the gasket. Currently, this process is done by hand, causing the assembly rate to vary depending on who is performing the task. Our design consists of a rotatable platform that holds the gasket. A dispenser for the adhesive is attached to a rack and pinion and supported by linear guide rails. A plunger used for compressing the sealing element is also attached to the rack and pinion. The sealing element will be placed by hand. Our design will increase the speed of the assembly process and reduce any bottlenecks in the process.

3:30 p.m.

Interactive Test Flight Station

Team Members:  James McPherson, Dustin Miller, Sujan Paudel, Rhett Perkins

Sponsor: Sci-Port Discovery Center

Advisor: Dr. Kelly Crittenden

Sci-Port Discovery Center is a science and entertainment center with interactive science exhibits that is located in Shreveport and is open to all age groups. Our project, the Interactive Test Flight Station, is designed mainly for children to learn about paper plane flight patterns. The main focus of our project is to create a more intuitive test flight station with sufficient laminar airflow. The second goal is to create a more interactive interface with which children can control the airflow and select which type of paper plane they want to create. Lastly, we need to create a system that will indicate plane flight distress and a guide system that will provide a remedy for the distress. Our design fits several selected styles of paper airplanes and is balanced when fitted according to the instruction provided. The airflow in the wind tunnel is straight and consistent throughout the test flight of the paper planes. Our wind tunnel design is based on the existing NASA wind tunnel principle which is simple to replicate, and we have provided electronic files for the 3D printed stands to replace when necessary.

4:30 p.m.

Combined Session and Barnwell Awards (Room 112).