When someone mentions the words summer camp, what images come to mind? Most people would say taking long hikes in the woods, swimming in the lake, sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows or playing games. For 32 high school students (two groups of 16), summer camp meant running medical faculty simulations, streamlining supply chains and creating cast molds.
The ISE Department summer camps were an opportunity for high school students from all over the country (North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, even California) to not only experience what it is like to be an industrial engineer, but also experience college life at NC State University.
The camp began for the students as they were welcomed by Gracen Bennett and Vidush Rajendran, two seniors from the Industrial and System Engineering Department. Jason Low and the rest of the staff followed with a brief discussion, “What is Industrial Engineering?” Then the students concluded the day with a social event over in Syme dorm, the place where they would be staying for the week.
The students started bright and early Monday morning with a simulation presentation and exercise with Dr. Jeremy Tejada, who received his PhD from the ISE department at NC State. The exercise required the students to use Arena, a simulation software package, to optimize the resources of an urgent care medical facility to best handle the flow of patients.
After the simulations, the students were introduced to guest speakers Bennett Converse and Heather Arnold, former ISE students who received their Health Systems Certificates in 2012 while at NC State. Bennett and Heather discussed the academic process for obtaining Health Systems Certification and how this allowed them the opportunity to work directly with companies in the health care industry. They concluded their presentation by discussing their senior design projects, how they found jobs and their experiences out in the real world as industrial engineers.
The afternoon was filled with two presentations. The first was by former ISE student Travis Worth, from Burt’s Bees, who discussed the challenges that he faces with supply chain management, the difficulties associated with using natural products and the company’s sustainability goals and standards.
The second presenter was Dr. Donald Warsing, who spoke to the students about how businesses function as a whole and the role industrial engineers play within the business.
If day one was about guest speakers then day two was about competition. The students began the day with Nils Buch, a current ISE PhD student, by breaking into two teams and playing a supply chain efficiency game. The game taught the students about coordinating with each other as part of a supply chain while at the same time watching out for their own companies.
Dr. Paul Cohen continued the competition with a product manufacturing game. The two teams had to “manufacture” and deliver products for 15 minutes while the results were measured. In the second round, the students were allowed to optimize any part of the process before the game was played again. The results of the second round showed drastic improvements in efficiency, quality and deliverability.
The final experiment of the day was led by Gracen Bennett and Vidush Rajendran. Working in groups of two, the students performed their own quality inspection on bags of M&M. They were checking for the total number of candies in each bag, equal distribution of the different colors within the bags and printing quality of the M&M name on each piece of candy. It became quickly apparent that the greatest hindrance to maximizing profits was lost inventory.
The students finished up the day with a tour of the UPS facilities in Northern Raleigh.
This day started with a presentation from PhD student, Goldbarg Kazemi, on rapid prototyping. She described for the students how the different types of rapid prototyping machines create the 3D models using different types of materials. Jason Low continued the prototyping discussion with the students by showing examples of parts made using different rapid prototyping techniques and materials.
The afternoon was spent learning to use SolidWorks, a three dimensional drawing software, to create a holder for their tubes of lip balm which were then sent to the 3D printers for creation using additive manufacturing techniques. During the part building exercise, the students took a break to tour the Ergonomics Center located just off of NC State’s campus.
First up that morning was Jason Low to discuss subtractive manufacturing techniques and how the prototyping machines remove materials from a base stock to create the finished product. Jason also explained the process of ejection molding and the huge amounts of pressure and force that are needed to perform commercial ejection molding.
In the afternoon, the students were treated to one of the highlights of the week, a tour of the ISE Department’s many labs. Ron Aman demonstrated how cast molding was performed and Dan Leonard demonstrated the multiple lathes, CNC machine and the injection molding process. From the manufacturing lab, it was on to the rapid prototyping lab where Jason Low explained how the 3D printers were used to create all kinds of custom parts. Nest of the tour was the automation lab where Brittany Robinson, a recent graduate of the ISE program at NC State, programmed a robot to put caps on the lip balm containers and Harshad Srinivasan’s, a PhD student in the ISE department, robot then picked up the assembled lip balm containers and moved then across the table.
With the camp rapidly winding down, the students’ parents were invited to a small reception where professors were available to answer questions and discuss what the ISE department had to offer their children as potential students. The parents were then treated to a presentation from the students on what they had learned throughout the week. Next, Jason Low presented each student with their custom designed lip balm holder and a certificate of completion. Summer camp officially concluded with an open tour of the ISE department so that the excited students could share their experiences with their proud families and talk individually with the ISE staff.