Project Examples

Animal Guard for High Voltage Transformers

Course: 26.218 – Introduction to Design
Semester: Spring 2007
Instructor: Steve Orroth and Nick Schott
Partner: Village Empowerment Peru Project

Project Description: Animal Guard for High Voltage Transformers. UML Students in the Plastics Engineering Introduction to Design course designed a plastic guard to prevent squirrels and wasps from shorting out electric energy transfer and also kills the squirrels and causes power failure to many of National Grid customers. The course was team taught by Professor Stephen Orroth and Nick Schott. Students involved in the project made full use of the UML CAD laboratories in the designing portion of the project in addition to the department's rapid prototyping machine. Students demonstrated very high interest in the project and were able to relate to the National Grid problem that needed a solution.

Through this S-L project, students were provided an opportunity to work on an industrially relevant project that holds benefit for the local community and as well as a broader benefit for grids throughout the country. The newly developed design concepts were deemed practical by the National Grid Company. However, due to the high cost of tooling, students were only able to develop models and prototypes. The professors teaching this course have concluded that the S-L experience for the students was very worthwhile, and plan to continue to have a SLICE component as part of their course requirements.

National Grid representatives attended the final student presentations, and communicated that they were both very impressed with the ideas and presentation skills of the sophomores. They also requested Randy copies of the presentations to share at a Reliability meeting with some National Grid Executives during May 2007. Student reports and ideas were shared to explore whether the company could pursue some further research with this engineering department at UMASS Lowell.

Learning objectives met by the S-L project for students were to:

  • Apply the design process to an industrially relevant project
  • Material selection
  • Assess performance and safety
  • Conduct fabrication methods of plastics products
  • Work in teams to design and or fabricate prototypes of a product
  • Secure agency approval

Community objectives met by the S-L project:

  • Newly developed and practical design concepts
  • Helpful research ideas and suggestions
  • Interest in further research with the S-L project and department
  • Analysis and designs benefit the local community, as well as potentially the nation