CSU, Chico News

Students Win Top Award for 13th Year at Prestigious Manufacturing Engineers Event

Date: 04-02-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Daren Otten
Coordinator of Manufacturing Technology Program

Students from California State University, Chico’s Sustainable Manufacturing Program won the Grand Prize for the 13th time at the prestigious 2012 WESTEC (Western Tool Exposition and Conference) Manufacturing Challenge on March 27. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) hosted the challenge. The students won the competition by creating a manufacturing system for producing a sustainable composite skateboard deck, with trucks and axles.

A team of students from CSU, Chico’s student chapter of SME designed and manufactured the tooling and full production system for the creation of 10 sustainable composite skateboard decks and truck assemblies. The skateboards and truck assemblies included CNC-machined base plates and welded chrome-moly hangers with axles.

Chico’s winning entry was set apart from other entries in the degree of detail in all phases of the project, said Darren Otten, coordinator of the Manufacturing Technology Program. The details included not only the design, analysis and fabrication of the sustainable composite skateboard, but also the tooling and fixtures for mass production and the project management plan for the entire project. The materials used in the ready-for-market product were chosen with an emphasis on sustainability. A natural plant-based flax fiber was used to replace traditional petroleum-based carbon fiber composite material.

“The attention to detail in defining the project scope and documenting the complete process was impressive to the judges,” said Otten. “The extensive development of the concept into a final product ready to take to market, including a viable business and project management plan, was extremely professional and complete.”

“The project, which began in September 2011, was completed as an extracurricular activity,” said Cody Leuck, chairman of the SME student chapter. “In this time, we took an idea through design, prototyping, testing and production. The project demanded a huge time commitment from all of the team members, and their dedication and talent made it possible.”

Eighteen students in the Sustainable Manufacturing Program from Chico State made the trip to the manufacturing challenge this year. The five main presenters were Cody Leuck, Louk Hendricks, Duke Schimmer, Nicholas Gniadek and Tony Arena.

CSU, Chico has also won the Grand Prize award in this competition in 1986, 1987, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. This year there were 18 teams from 15 universities and colleges including Cal Poly Pomona, Western Washington University, Brigham Young University, University of Colorado Denver, Cal State LA, and Cal State Northridge.

The Manufacturing Challenge is sponsored by the international SME, which has more than 400 professional and school-based chapters worldwide. For more information, contact Daren Otten, Sustainable Manufacturing coordinator, dmotten@csuchico.edu; Leonard Fallscheer, SME faculty advisor, lfallscheer@csuchico.edu; or Cody Leuck, project team leader, cleuck@mail.csuchico.edu.