Nine Bethel Park High School students had the opportunity to participate with students from Upper St. Clair High School to develop solutions to three issues posed to them by the EAFab Corporation, and present their findings to the company’s owners and members of their management team at California University of Pennsylvania’s Southpointe campus.
The Bethel Park participants were students in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing class at the high school, taught by Mr. Kszastowski. The class has the students solving real world problems using Human Centered Design techniques as well as more traditional problem solving methods.
The final phase of the course has students working with industry partners to solve real problems that need to be addressed within those companies. For the second year, Bethel Park students worked with EAFab, a Pittsburgh-based company that designs and fabricates equipment and parts for steel mills throughout North America.
Through this partnership, the students were given the opportunity to apply newly-learned problem solving methods and their own unique strengths to solve real world challenges. The problems posed to them by EAFab were varied in scope and required the students to explore new subject areas that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about.
Evan Aronhalt, Darian Dudzinski and Victoria Slawinski were asked to develop a Product Identification Nameplate that could be welded to every EAFab product, containing the company’s name, logo and serial number. The current method and materials used are costly and not flexible for different types of products. The Bethel Park students were challenged to design a different system that was more cost effective, while still displaying the necessary information. The students recommended using a plasma cutter in-house to place the information on the plates before welding them onto the parts.
Devin Gainar, Alex Kotkiewicz and Jacob Logan were tasked with developing a promotional item that could be distributed to customers and other interested parties at trade shows and sales calls. The students suggested USB drives, carabiners and mini-aid kits with the EAFab logo and contact information on them.
Mark Hurey, Sean Puskar and Ryan Tischler assisted EAFab with research for adding a copper welding division within their current manufacturing facilities. The students learned about the unique characteristics and challenges associated with copper welding to conduct a full analysis of implementing this new welding process, including the kinds of equipment needed and locations within the existing manufacturing facility to locate this job.
EAFab owner Pedro Quiroga told the students that their work “really makes a difference in our company,” and he said that every year a recommendation from at least one of the presentations “makes a permanent change at our company.”
He encouraged the students to “keep doing what you’re doing. You are more than prepared to be successful.”
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to see photos from the presentations.