CSU, Chico News

Students Win Top Award Fifth Year in a Row at Prestigious Manufacturing Engineers Event

Date: 04-02-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Daren Otten
Coordinator of Manufacturing Technology Program

The California State University, Chico team from the student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has won the Grand Prize for the fifth year in a row in the WESTEC (Western Tool Exposition and Conference) Manufacturing Challenge that was held March 30 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The winning project was the shortrun production of a solid hardwood machinist’s tool chest based on a 100-year-old classic design. “What made this project stand out at the WESTEC competition,” said Leonard Fallscheer, faculty advisor to the SME team, “was the attention to detail by the students for defining and documenting the complete manufacturing process. This included not only the design and fabrication of the tool chests, but the tooling and vacuum fixtures for CNC [Computer Numerical Control—an automated method of controlling a tool] machining, as well as the project management plan for the entire production.”

The WESTEC Manufacturing Challenge is an annual event sponsored by SME to showcase manufacturing programs at colleges and universities in the western states. CSU, Chico competed against a field of 11 other universities and colleges that included: Brigham Young University; University of Colorado at Denver; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; California State Universities at Long Beach, Los Angeles and Northridge; North Dakota State; and four community colleges. This is CSU, Chico’s sixth Grand Prize win in the last seven years.

“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 16 students from Chico made the trip to the WESTEC challenge this year. “The students are very pleased with the recognition they received, and we can all be justifiably proud of their accomplishment,” said Fallscheer.

All the students on the WESTEC team are currently members of the CSU, Chico chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and enrolled in courses in the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management. The team presenters were Tony Arena, Hobie Stevens, Mike Rincon, Scott Vanni and Oliver Hayes, with support from Grant Douglas and Wesley Brandon.

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.

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

A demonstration of the award-winning presentation is scheduled for Thursday, April 9, at 2:30 PM in Plumas 121 on the CSU, Chico campus. The public is invited.