Student engineers launch designs

Capstone military

More than 25 undergraduate design teams and 100 poster presentations displayed year-end projects at the recent Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Design, showcasing the talent and commitment of NAU’s student engineers.

Among the many successes, four NAU mechanical engineering students, who enhanced the design of a missile launcher wiring harness as part of their year-end project, will have a portion of their design put into production at Raytheon Co., a defense and aerospace systems contractor and manufacturer.

Students Tom BurkeChase MattinglyJames Peterson and John Watkins improved on an original missile launcher designed by Raytheon, making its connectors and wiring harness more cost-efficient and easier to repair.

“It is exciting to work with Raytheon not only because we get to help the company, but also because we also get a chance to have an impact on the national level,” Burke said.

Another team, sponsored by the Schlage Security Device Division of Ingersoll Rand Corp., designed a Variable Installation Test Machine to test the installation quality of all Schlage’s major lock products.

Student team members John CampbellRichard (Max) BruchmanVincent Villalobos andJoshua Archambault designed a product that allows Schlage to test and increase the success of installing its products in various settings.

“This was a large undertaking from a group of novice engineers,” said M.R. Mitchell, a mechanical engineering adjunct professor. “They spent well in excess of 3,000 hours on their project. The Schlage group is so impressed with the team’s dedication that they have already committed funding for next year’s engineering program.”

Stan Lindstedt, a Regents’ Professor in biology, said the final engineering projects are just one example of students benefiting from NAU’s dedication to undergraduate research.

“Undergraduate research takes students out of the classroom and puts them in the field,” Lindstedt said.