Engineering students propose solutions to industrial challenges

Stefan Spiric and Jackie Ing display their research during the Faculty of Engineering’s annual Industrial Engineering Capstone Design Demo Day on March 29, 2019 in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation. 

Fourth-year industrial engineering students at the University of Windsor are improving the accuracy of critical medical procedures, optimizing automotive production lines and using virtual reality to enhance manufacturing processes.

Students presented these projects and more at the Faculty of Engineering’s annual Industrial Engineering Capstone Design Demo Day on March 29, 2019. Capstone projects challenge fourth-year engineering students to apply the formal knowledge they’ve gained during their undergraduate studies to solve real-world problems. 

Jackie Ing and Stefan Spiric focused on improving mannequins used to train students on perfecting thoracentesis, an invasive procedure that involves inserting a needle into the chest to remove fluid or air.

“It’s a very critical procedure, because if there’s too much force, they can puncture the lung or cause internal bleeding,” Ing says.

Windsor’s Schulich School of Medicine uses a medical training mannequin that has one silicone tissue layer. Ing says their model, created by graduate student Andre Khayat, has two silicone layers, which is more similar to human skin and muscle layers.

Using cadavers, the two collected data while performing the procedure and recorded the needle’s peak force, impulse force and pulsewidth. They then created a series of silicone trials to try and match the data. 

“We focused on this one procedure, but it can be extended to include others,” Ing says.

Spiric said there are alternative products on the market, but they are costly. Spiric says thanks to 3D printing, they can produce a significantly cheaper model.

Another group turned to virtual reality to help Centerline, a local manufacturer, train new employees in-house and solve industrial challenges.

“Our 3D simulation software allows you to mimic a manufacturing process, see how things are moving and be able to problem solve virtually without actually spending the money to build or test before it’s tangible,” says Mohanad Barakat.

The technology allows anyone to move around in a real-world manufacturing facility and perform operations, such as operating a crane.

Barakat says the software can also be used to help students at the University of Windsor gain more knowledge and experience in the manufacturing industry before graduating.