Building Strong University-Industry Alliances in Manufacturing

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In today’s rapidly evolving manufacturing landscape, partnering with local universities offers numerous benefits. Marquardt’s Director of Operations, Christian Voelk, and Associate Professor Bastian Tenbergen from the State University of New York at Oswego recently demonstrated this through their collaboration in Cazenovia. Together, they leveraged university-industry alliances to engage senior undergraduate students in a meaningful manufacturing project.

Collaboration’s Impact

Their project focused on developing a digital ANDON Sheet, a crucial Lean manufacturing tool. This tool is quite similar to a car’s “check engine” light. This can be seen through alerts sent to operators and managers addressing issues like part shortages, equipment malfunctions, or safety concerns during production. 

Streamlining Operations

Swiftly halting production in response to these issues is vital in Lean manufacturing. This allows teams to collaborate, conduct real-time root cause analysis, and implement rapid solutions. Each resolved problem becomes part of a continuous improvement process, proactively addressing potential bottlenecks and major breakdowns, ultimately saving valuable company resources.

Student-Driven Innovation

This ambitious ANDON Sheet project was assigned to three skilled senior undergraduates: Sean Schukraft, Matthew Olmeda, and Ahmad Black. Their diverse skill sets—ranging from Software Engineering to Information Science—enabling them to tackle various project aspects. Sean designed the user-friendly ANDON Sheet interface. Matthew and Ahmad focused on data collection and analysis which was an integral part of their Fall 2022 Senior Capstone.

Real-World Learning

Sean Schukraft emphasized the significance of their work, stating, “I’m developing an interface for [Marquardt], streamlining data input for factory workers and saving engineers significant time.”

Matthew Olmeda echoed his sentiments, highlighting the invaluable hands-on experience gained through collaboration with Marquardt, a global industry leader. He noted, “We received hands-on experience and invaluable advice from a skilled mentor.”

Empowering Future Leaders

Collaborating with students injects fresh perspectives, fosters hands-on experience, and introduces innovative ideas into manufacturing. It imparts lessons in independent work and teamwork, showcasing the real-world impact of their contributions on employees, customers, and manufacturing facilities. Such partnerships accelerate students’ growth in a dynamic environment, where they witness tangible outcomes and receive immediate feedback.

Driving Continuous Improvement

Marquardt’s Process Engineer, Ben Schiros, emphasized the ANDON Sheet’s role in collecting data on downtime, throughput, and failures—a critical aspect of continuous improvement processes. Since project completion, Marquardt integrated the ANDON Sheet into daily operations, continuously refining it to meet company needs. As the students prepare to graduate in Spring 2023, they carry this invaluable experience into their careers, underscoring the importance of strong university-industry alliances in shaping manufacturing’s future.

By nurturing university-industry alliances in manufacturing, we pave the way for innovation, skill development, and a brighter future for manufacturing. To explore how your organization can benefit from such alliances, contact us today.

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Injection Molding for Manufacturers Marquardt Partners provides injection molding services for manufacturers in industries that include automotive, medical, aerospace, automotive, and defense. We produce 80%

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