Gautam Agarwal, Kenneth Beckett and George Dalka, students in the Mechatronics Engineering Technology program, and Prof. Masoud Fathizadeh and Rick Rickerson as the Team Advisors, participated in the Student Design Contest held at PACK Expo in Las Vegas on October 6th. PMMI U, the educational arm of PACK Expo organizer Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), introduced a competition to give packaging students a practical experience and expose them to all that PACK Expo has to offer. Students from five universities participated in the competition.
The competition required the students to find a unique solution to a real-world packaging issue: creating an automated palletizing system that would be fastest and least expensive to produce and maintain. The competition began on the Packaging Equipment Expo floor as the students worked face to face with vendors to develop a solution to the given problem. They worked late into the night and arose at 4:00 am the next day to produce a paper and 20 minute presentation on their solution.
The Team put on a solid performance in front of industry leaders and was awarded first place for their efforts. Their solution took into account environmental impact, energy consumption, ease of use, and cost considerations. The award includes $4,000 in scholarships to be shared by the team of students. All team members felt the knowledge learned and the experience of seeing their future careers in front of them was very rewarding.
This was the first ever Student Design Contest held at PACK Expo, but will become a yearly event. The next competition will be held at PACK Expo International 2010, October 31 – November 3, 2010 at McCormick Place in Chicago.