Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A team of mechanical engineering graduate students from UNC Charlotte’s precision engineering program won the student challenge competition at the American Society for Precision Engineering’s (ASPE) 33rd annual conference in Las Vegas. A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finished second.

UNC Charlotte team members were Alexander Blum, Jacob Cole, Kumar Arumugam and John Borek. Their advisor was Joshua Tarbutton, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science in the Lee College of Engineering.

The ASPE Student Challenge is a multidisciplinary precision engineering project that draws students from mechatronics, optics, metrology, engineering and physics. The student challenge is held annually, and participants attend the ASPE conference for free. The UNC Charlotte team won $4,000 for its first-place victory.

For the 2018 challenge, teams had to take on an optical measurement test, designing and building a confocal-based measuring instrument to determine the thickness of glass plate specimens ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 mm thick (25-by-25 mm square). Individual teams and their instruments were judged in the areas of analysis, design, teamwork, presentation and measurement performance.

Photo, left to right, Tarbutton, Blum, Cole, Arumugam and Borek.