LTU engineering students win Innovation Encounter competition
January 1, 2016
Four engineering students at Lawrence Technological University took first place in the Innovation Encounter competition that LTU hosts every year for the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN). LTU was represented by Leah Batty, Justin Becker, Tony Fakhouri, and Nada Saghir.
The other KEEN members in the competition were the University of New Haven, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, St. Louis University, and Kettering University.
This year’s event was sponsored by ElringKlinger North America, Inc., an automotive manufacturing company based in Germany that has facilities in Plymouth. It is in the process of converting the former Staples distribution center in Southfield into a manufacturing plant.
The students were asked to solve a challenging industrial engineering problem involving an efficient plant layout for moving parts produced by multiple machines to the warehousing facility. The teams got the problem statement on Friday afternoon and made their presentations the following afternoon.
“We were told we should stay up late or get up early, but we decided to do both,” Becker said. “We got to experience what real engineers deal with, and it was a lot of fun with the intensity and the adrenaline.”
Managers from ElringKlinger critiqued each team’s tentative proposal on Saturday morning, giving the teams time to make adjustments prior to their final presentations in the afternoon.
Stephan Maier, vice president for ElringKlinger Automotive Manufacturing Inc., said he was impressed with the ideas that came out of the Innovation Encounter competition.
“We decided we needed someone to look at it with a different set of eyes, and all of the solutions proposed by the different teams could have been implemented,” Maier said. “Two or three really good ideas came out of the LTU presentation. Their problem statement elevated it to a different level.”
The company subsequently hired one of the LTU team members as an intern.