Chico Studentsí Pool Lift Wins First Place in Manufacturing Contest

Dirk Vanderloop, College of Manufacturing Engineering,
and his students stand by the pool lift that won first
prize in the WESTEC Manufacturing Challenge.
David Ebeling, standing next to Vanderloop, is a senior
who completed material strength calculations; Sarah
Golightly Epperson, Communications Design senior,
created the name and logo for the project; John Perino,
senior, built the chair; and Brannon Lain, I Tech senior,
did the computer drafting. Not pictured: Larry Thompson
and Andrew Beckwith, project managers. (photo KM)
California State University, Chico students' wheelchair lift that carries people in and out of a swimming pool won first prize at a contest in Los Angeles Monday, March 23, for manufacturing and engineering students at colleges and universities.

The students, who are enrolled in CSU, Chico's Manufacturing Technology program, created a wheelchair lift that can be operated by one person, rotates ninety degrees from poolside to pool, and is powered by only a garden hose—features not combined in any commercially available product.

The contest, called the Manufacturing Challenge, was held at WESTEC 98, a manufacturing exposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center. WESTEC, sponsored by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, is the largest exposition of manufacturing products and technology in North America. The CSU, Chico students who participated in the contest are members of the student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

CSU, Chico competed against fourteen colleges and universities that have programs related to manufacturing technology, including Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly, Pomona, and Fresno State.

The thirteen Chico students and three faculty members who attended the event received a trophy and $7500 of software for coming in first place in the Manufacturing Challenge. Chico last won the Manufacturing Challenge grand prize in 1995 and has won one of the top three prizes in five of the last eight years.

"Our program is successful because our students not only have manufacturing and operations knowledge, but also the hands-on skills," said Dirk Vanderloop, CSU, Chico lecturer in Manufacturing Technology. "They learn how to communicate with workers, but also deal with senior management."

The manufacturing technology students collaborated with students from several different university programs. Marketing students studied what other pool lifts were available, Production and Operations Management students did cost accounting, and Communication Design students researched and created product names and logos.


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