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Summer SAVY Session 3, Day 3 – Industrial Engineering: Machines at Work

Posted by on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 3:  Industrial Engineers and their Families,

Today, like every day, we started our day in Morning Meeting. To conclude our meeting, we watched a video about Lillian Gilbreth, who is a Purdue alumna known as the “Mother of Engineering”. She pioneered the entire field of industrial engineering as one of the first women in engineering and one of the first people to transfer the Engineering Design Process to systems.
Next, we practiced our Engineering Design Process skills in a series of experiments. Our goal was to use simple machines to move a sack of potatoes at least 6 inches. We employed levers, pulleys, inclined planes, and wheels and axles. Students practiced measuring force in Newtons with a spring scale and calculated work in joules. Once we proved which machines were able to do the job (a feat as some of our machines had some technical difficulties that aspiring engineers had to problem solve 🙂), we calculated the work required for each machine to compare their ergonomics. We determined the wheel and axel was the most efficient simple machine for moving the potatoes; it only took 0.2 N of force and 1.3 J of work! 
After a long day of operating machinery, students studied other eminent industrial engineers like Lillian Gilbreth. After researching their engineer’s early life, educational background, accomplishments, and contributions to the field in groups, students sorted into different groups to write a conversation between their engineers about the field, their accomplishments, future plans, and ideas about systems.
Tonight you could ask your engineer:
  • Review: Who are some eminent industrial engineers? Why do we need industrial engineers? What kinds of things do they do? Tell me more about who you studied!
  • Think like an Industrial Engineer: Some of our machines required problem-solving to use. How could we improve these machines? What materials could you change?
  • Design: Think forward to the factory subsystem you will be designing. Based on your experiment today, how might you incorporate each simple machine? How will you know which machine is the most effective?