UTDesign Team Takes Top Spot at ASME Competition

Mechanical engineering students Zain Shariff, Joey Nahlous, Bayron Murillo, Gerardo Ramirez and Luis Soria completed the first-place winning project for their senior capstone design course in the UTDesign program.

A UT Dallas mechanical engineering team earned first place at the ASME Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference Student Design Competition for the second year in a row.

Zain Shariff, Joey Nahlous, Gerardo Ramirez, Bayron Murillo and Luis Soria competed against some of the nation’s top engineering programs with a project they completed for their senior capstone design course in the UTDesign program. 

The project, sponsored by Essilor of America, focused on the development of a machine that measures how well a coating, such as an anti-reflective coating, adheres to an optical lens. The prototype performs an adhesion test that can obtain more consistent results and relieve operator fatigue from frequent testing currently done by hand.

“I think the team did an outstanding job on a very challenging project,” said Dr. Robert Hart, mechanical engineering clinical associate professor and capstone course instructor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. “The students worked hard from the beginning and delivered a machine that is ready to be used without any further modification. The award was fitting recognition for a truly outstanding capstone project.

“Essilor has challenged our students with a variety of real-world engineering projects, and the team’s solutions brought significant value to Essilor when they were completed,” Hart said.

The UT Dallas team built a prototype that could supplement or replace the work of operators who manually perform a test that involves applying adhesive tape to a lens, pressing it down to remove any trapped air bubbles and then rapidly pulling the tape upward to check how much coating residue is removed from the lens.

“There was no set standard to the process, so we used a high-speed camera to observe the operator’s movements in pressing down and pulling up,” Soria said. “For our prototype, we used pneumatics because we can control the speed by regulating the flow of air entering and leaving the actuators.”

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To sponsor a UTDesign team, contact Iram Hasan, director of corporate relations for the Jonsson School, at [email protected] or 972-883-3533.

Students had to develop a lens holder that could handle a variety of lenses, and a spatula-like smoothing tool that would apply constant pressure, no matter the curvature, diameter or thickness of the lens.

The team worked closely with Essilor mentor David Shirley on the project, with assistance from faculty advisor Dr. Terry Baughn, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering, the UTDesign staff and machine shop personnel. The students invested 20 to 30 hours a week on the project, and finished a month early so they had time to troubleshoot the machine.

“The competition was tough, but I think one of the advantages of our project is that it was complete, from start to finish,” Soria said.

Working on an industry prototype will boost their professional and graduate engineering careers, Murillo said.

“One of the things about UTDesign is that we get to work in a corporate environment and gain experience that I can show to employers. It’s great to have on a resume,” Murillo said.

Murillo is starting a master’s degree this fall at UT Dallas and will be a research assistant for Dr. Manuel Quevedo-Lopez, professor of materials science and engineering. Soria hopes to land a job with an aerospace engineering firm in the near future.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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