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Dordt engineers earn awards

By Jane Ver Steeg

Two senior design projects completed by six Dordt College engineering students have received awards in the 2006 international competition sponsored by the James F. Lincoln Foundation.

A bronze award (among the top six projects) was presented to a “flat stacker” completed by Dave Kielstra from Calgary, Alberta; Andrew Kroeze from Orange City, Iowa; Greg Mac Leod from Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Jon Vander Vliet from Sheldon, Iowa. The team worked with a small fruit distributing company in the state of Washington, building a prototype that automates the transfer and rinsing of berry flats. They also designed a complete sorting and stacking system for their corporate sponsor, Sakuma Brothers Processing.

An award of merit (presented to about twenty-five projects) was given to the project completed by Alex Haas from Hutchinson, Minnesota; and Chad Talsma from Bentley, Alberta. This team project, “Designing a Cost effective Brushless DC Motor Controller” was proposed by their corporate sponsor, Groschopp Manufacturing in Sioux Center. Groschopp challenged the design team to develop a less expensive, less complicated motor controller for brushless DC motors. The team successfully designed such a motor, spending only a third of their budget allocation.

The Dordt College bronze award team was advised by Dr. Matthew Dressler, while the merit award team was advised by Dr. Douglas De Boer.

“This kind of national recognition speaks well for Dordt students,” commented Dr. Ethan Brue, chair of the engineering department. “National competitions give us some benchmarks to compare the work our students do to the work done at larger programs such as Stanford, University of Illinois, Lehigh University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, The Ohio State University, and others.” Projects submitted in the competition are judged by engineering professors from other institutions.

Dordt College is one of only a handful of Christian colleges offering a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) degree accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (ABET). Students pursuing this degree are able to choose a mechanical, electrical, civil-environmental, computer, or biomedical area of concentration. Links to senior design projects at Dordt College, including pictures and video.