CSU, Chico News

Manufacturing Students Win Top Award Again at WESTEC ‘08 Competition

Date: 04-04-2008

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Leonard Falscheer
Manufacturing Technology

California State University, Chico Manufacturing Technology Program won the Grand Prize at the prestigious WESTEC (Western Tool Exposition and Conference) Manufacturing Challenge for the fourth year in a row. Students in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) designed and manufactured an off-road vehicle chassis and suspension system for the CSU, Chico Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja team. The challenge was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 31.

The off road vehicle will now be completed by the students for competition in the international SAE Baja event to be held in Peoria, Illinois, at the end of May.

On Tuesday, April 8 at 10 a.m., a re-creation of the competition will be presented. Students, faculty, community members and media are invited.

This is CSU, Chico’s fifth grand prize win at the WESTEC competition in the last six years: 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Chico also won first places in 1987, 1993, 1995 and 1998.

CSU, Chico competed against a field of nine other universities and colleges that included California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; and California State Universities at Long Beach, Los Angeles and Northridge.

“What made this project stand out at the WESTEC competition was the attention to detail for defining and documenting the complete manufacturing solution for the chassis,” said Leonard Fallscheer, faculty advisor to SME. “This included not only the design, analysis and fabrication, but the tooling and fixtures for welding and the project management plan for the entire project.

“This project was started in late September and completed as an extracurricular activity on the students’ own time,” said Fallscheer. “Their planning and documentation of the whole procedure was professional, and their presentation to the judges was flawless.”

A total of 17 students from Chico made the trip to the WESTEC challenge. All the students on the WESTEC team, with the exception of Natalie Cavier from English, who provided technical writing skills, are in the Bachelor of Science program in manufacturing technology. The team presenters were Jeff Ferrara, Wes Brandon, Nick Bernhard, Tony Arena, Justin McCurdy, Eric Rimby and Natalie Cavier.

“The Chico State Student SME group has dominated the WESTEC Manufacturing Challenge over the past several years,” said Wes Brandon, lead fabricator on the project. “To be a part of another winning team gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment. In the past eight months, those involved have had the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through our manufacturing technology courses in a real-world environment. By utilizing the manufacturing labs, as well as outside resources, we have created a product that will continue to impress people for years to come.”

WESTEC is the largest annual manufacturing trade show in the country. The Expo and Manufacturing Challenge are sponsored by the international SME, which has more than 400 professional and school-based chapters worldwide.

The chassis project for the WESTEC competition was funded in part by Instructionally Related Student Activity Fees.

Fallscheer can be reached at 530-898-5320 or e-mailed at lfallscheer@csuchico.edu.