Engineering students win recognition for optimizing micro-brewery

Faster than some people can sip a pint of beer, a group of UWindsor industrial engineering students were redesigning the production line of a Halifax microbrewery to help cut its costs.

Christina Asuncion, Maria Marin, David Impens and Abdulqader Alsobaihi took silver-medal honours at the Institute of Industrial Engineers Student Conference, January 21 at Dalhousie University, for their case study into Garrison Brewing, which produces craft beers.

The students toured the plant and were asked to re-arrange the bottling process to free up one of the five line workers. Hours later, they presented their ideas to judges at the conference and won a $500 second-place prize.

“Our solution was simple and will help them cut one position,” said Asuncion. “After reviewing their operations, we calculated that each person was only working six and a half hours in an eight-hour day.”

She called the competition “a great experience,” although she found the actual presentation nerve-wracking.

“A lot of the things we learn in school are theory-based,” she said. “This is more applied knowledge. You’re taking what you’ve learned and using it to solve a problem.”

In addition to the design competition, there were theoretical, simulation, and technical paper competitions. The conference also featured speakers from Canadian Tire, Hershey’s, and Trellysis with presentations in the areas of logistics, supply chain, consulting engineering, and future career possibilities for industrial engineers.