A student team from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College took home top prize in the second annual PACK EXPO Student Design Competition. The contest challenged packaging students to use Packexpo.com and PACK EXPO International to find a conveying-related packaging line solution.
The winning team -- Tony Aubart, Chelsea Lambert, Steve Volkert, Jim Briese and Matt Woehrman of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College -- will share a scholarship of $4,000.
This year each school was asked to come up with a solution for a conveying system that needed to be changed so that the fictitious Uncle Charlie's Natural Flavors Tea Co. could be ready for production growth in the next 18 months. The contest guidelines were to come up with the simplest and most economical solution for this problem.
The challenge was three-fold: Put vision systems in. Fix the bottleneck between filler and overwrap machines. Build in an option to create a variety of flavors in the case packages.
Second-year WITC student Chelsea Lambert explained their "simple" solution: "We added three vision systems using the Cognex checker 272 with I/O box cable. We added Dorner 2300 series dust proof conveyors and the other conveyors throughout were quoted from Shuttleworth. We researched companies over the 1.5 month period and came up with our solution.
"Over a six month period our calculated ROI (return on investment) was 53.26%, meaning that in just about a year the investment would pay for itself," Lambert said. "We had a lot of fun with this competition and learned real life packaging issues."
The second-place team, from Purdue University Calumet, received a $2,000 scholarship and University of Florida's third place team shared a $1,000 scholarship.
Students from nine schools competed, and in the eyes of PMMI Vice President of Education and Workforce Development Maria Ferrante, the true "grand prize" was the experience each student gained.
"The PACK EXPO Student Design Competition takes learning beyond the classroom by giving students the opportunity to solve real world problems in a business environment," said Ferrante.
The teams researched their projects at Packexpo.com and on site in Chicago, and presented them to a panel of judges from the packaging industry: Art Sagy, Kraft; Paul Redwood, Church & Dwight; Doug Farrell, Redco Foods Inc.; and Loc To, Unilever.