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MSOE Freshman-Life Update from Precision Plus Intern Amanda Mudlaff

Michael Reader

Amanda Mudlaff is a freshman at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Since 2014, she has served as a dedicated intern and an apprentice at Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Her work is impeccable and her enthusiasm is contagious. She’s also an applied student who has earned a scholarship from PPI, with the possibility of it being renewed for the next three years. She will be back at Precision Plus for a short-term winter break internship when school is off.

Precision Plus Intern Matt Dowell Places 5th at SkillsUSA Nationals

Michael Reader

Precision Plus intern Matt Dowell and his team placed 5th out of 22 teams at the National SkillsUSA Competition in Kansas City, MO.

Matt and his teammates Mikaela Coose and Cecily Fico earned the a trip to the national competition by taking 1st place in Wisconsin’s SkillsUSA Engineering Technology/Design Competition in Madison on April 29-30, from six teams competing in this category. Precision Plus congratulates Matt and his teammates!

Their product, called ecoTUBE,  is an innovative medical tube designed to dispense 100% of any salve or ointment. Watch a rendition of their project and some highlights from their trip to Kansas City.


The national competition spanned from Monday, June 23 through Saturday, June 28, 2014. In the Engineering Technology/Design category, teams of three students demonstrated their ability to design an innovative an engineering project and present those ideas along with a display and live model. During the presentation, students were judged on their performance as a professional team, presentation of their project to a panel of judges from the engineering field, their storyboard presentation model, and the overall effect of the presentation.

Matt and his teammates developed their project while taking the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) capstone course Engineering Design and Development (EDD) at Wilmot Union H.S. Their advisor for the SkillsUSA competition was George Troupis.

HISTORY OF THE PROJECT

Problem Origination: Team member Mikaela Coose’s dog suffers from dry-eye syndrome, which requires regular application of an ointment medication. The ointment comes in a tube, most similar to that of a toothpaste tube, but smaller in size. Because this medication is costly and a substantial amount remains in the tube after it is squeezed out, the team decided they would redesign the current not user-friendly squeezable tube design for these types of applications.

PROJECT DETAILS

Design Statement: Patients find it increasingly difficult to utilize the full value of expensive salve medicine due to the current structure of medical tubes.

Design Objective: Design and develop an innovative medical tube that allows patients to more adequately utilize the full value of costly salve medicine.

Target Market:

  • Elderly or Individuals with Arthritis – due to the limited force needed to squeeze the medication out compared to other containers
  • Handicapped or Disabled Individuals With Limited Motor Skills
  • Anyone Looking to Save Money – The product’s low waste results in cost savings

 Description of Product Overview (As Shown On The Video Above):
The design was rendered in Autodesk Inventor, and 3-D modeled using the same software.

  • The first segment shows ecoTUBE’s assembly sequence
    • The spring moves left into the far left component
    • The assembly moves from left to right, snapping the left most pieces together
    • The plunger gets screwed on
    • An O-ring is added to seal the assembly
    • The product is placed in the tube
    • The sub assembly from before gets snapped into the tube
    • The cap gets placed on it.
  • The second segment shows an working model of ecoTUBE
  • The third segment demonstrates the child lock on the bottom of it. Initially it just spins, but once pushed in, it twists the entire unit

Note: There is also a model that does not include the child lock, and is geared for over-the-counter products such as sunscreen, toothpaste, etc. The team included a child lock on the original design presented, as their target market was medical-type applications.

Personal Project Roles Of The Team Members:

Matthew Dowell – Headed up the CAD modeling and prototype building

Mikaela Coose – Presentation materials such as the PowerPoint and Storyboard

Cecily Fico – Much of the documentation such as the design brief and made the label

ABOUT THE TEAM:

This was not Wilmot’s first trip to Kansas City, as Mikaela Coose (past Senior) and Matt Dowell (past Junior), made their second trip along with new member Cecily Fico (past Sophomore) to the 50th SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Having placed 14th in last year’s competition in the Engineering Technology/Design category, Coose and Dowell learned what it would really take to bring their presentation to the next level.

With Fico on board, the Wilmot team devoted most of their free time throughout the school year to work on their ecoTUBE – coined for its economical and ecofriendly qualities – an innovative medical tube designed to dispense 100% of any salve, such as medicine gels, toothpaste or sunscreen lotion.

During the week of June 22 -27, 2014, Coose, Dowell, and Fico had the opportunity to demonstrate and explain their creative idea to each of the judges in personal interviews as well as to the public. They also took on a spontaneous team problem-solving problem, involving building a roller coaster for a marble out of provided materials. The team ended the competition week with a professional presentation of their product. Wilmot came very close to medaling at the Awards Night, but were completely thrilled to find out the team notably placed 5th in the Nation.

Although Coose will be moving on to study engineering at Olivet Nazarene University, Dowell and Fico have a promising future as they look forward to using the priceless experience they have gained to improve and eventually compete at the next SkillsUSA Conference in 2015. Dowell is looking to a future of becoming a mechanical engineer, and Fico desires to be a civil or architectural engineer.