Project Examples

NPS Hydro Lock Automation for Canal Gate

Course: 22.423 - Capstone
Semester: Spring 2007
Instructor: Sammy Shina
Partner:Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP)

UML students in the Mechanical Engineering Capstone course were given the challenge to automate a manual canal lock for the Lowell Historical national Park (LNHP). The Pawtucket canal lock gate system was previously operated manually for tour boats. UML Students were very enthused by the project, and took multiple trips to the Pawtucket Canal gate to make field measurement, as well as attend many meeting with Ted Davis, national park facilities director, and others from the national park service. In addition, students attended weekly meeting with the professor in his UML office. This project dealt with the automating of the canal gate and delivering a functioning prototype. The LNHP will be able to launch the gate automation and the new design will allow them to service the public more safely and efficiently.

The partnership between the UML ME department and the LNHP was supported through contributions by each partner. The UML ME department contributed the following:

  1. Financial assistance ($250) with parts and materials
  2. Technical assistance form the ME machine shop and machinist Keith Flynn from the ME staff
  3. Technical assistance from the Lab staff and the ME lab manager Glenn Bousquet
  4. Technical assistance from other Faculty in the ME department
  5. Multiple trips to the LNHP site by the student and professor Shina

The LNHP contributed the following:

  1. Financial assistance ($300) with parts and materials
  2. Time and effort by the maintenance department manager Ted Davis and many of his staff
  3. Facilities for the many meeting between the ME project team and the LNHP staff
  4. LNHP gave the students access to a golf cart to bring over materials to the gate locations

Learning objectives met by the s-l project:

  • helped the student team experience a real world design problem
  • To design-build and test a complex electro-mechanical design

Community objectives met by the project:

  • Helped the public at large enjoy our Lowell NHP safely and quickly
  • Design brief working prototype of the automation for the wicket canal gate