A labeling machine designed and built by three engineering students at the University of New Mexico will assist disabled workers at SupplyOne and Adelante to fulfill contracts for placing labels on drug testing bottles.
Jonah Cain, Morris Huang and Scott Rossol decided to join forces to design the label maker. The project was complex because it had to simply and reliably perform a specific function, and had to be robust enough for workers with a variety of disabilities to use easily. The machine had to peel individual labels from a printed roll, rotate the label 90 degrees and place it precisely on a plastic bottle.
The project was part of Problems/Honor Thesis courses they took under the direction of Tariq Khraisi, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering. Khraishi encouraged them to take on the project because it could help solve a difficult problem for the workers who were unable to place the labels on the bottles because their hands were not steady enough to place the labels precisely.
The project was designed to give the students a taste of real-world problem solving. They had to design a solution to a specific problem, test it with the workers who will actually use the label maker and build a machine that was sturdy enough to use every day.
There has been at least one other compensation for the project. The team has won $500 in the oral category at the 2012 UNM Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference. The team also won $500 competitively from the “Finance Assistance Program for University Students” sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The money was utilized to purchase materials and supplies for the constructed design.
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