Lebanese American University


Engineering students put theoretical knowledge to practice

Hundreds of students display projects at the third annual Design and Manufacturing Day at LAU Byblos.

Engineering students configure their autonomous sorting machine on display at the third annual Design and Manufacturing Day at LAU Byblos.

Students display their solar thermal power plant, one of the main sources of attraction during the event.

From left: Dr. Barbar Akle, assistant professor at the Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering; Dr. George Nasr, professor and dean of the School of Engineering; Dr. Ramy Harik, assistant professor at the Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Department; and Dr. Pierrette Zouein, associate professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Harik grades the students.

Industrial engineering students Yara Nammour (left) and Krystel Salameh presented the results of their research on ergonomics inside LAU facilities.

Civil engineering student Ali Hachem with one of his teammates.

From left: Students Maya Berjawi, Jad Sankari, and Ziad Yacoub show off their autonomous sorting machine.

Ali Jaber, a mechanical engineering student, explains the concept of his team's design.

Click on any photo above to view all eight images.

Dozens of teams of over 350 engineering students from eight different classes displayed about 60 projects May 5 at LAU Byblos during the third annual Design and Manufacturing Day organized by LAU’s Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering.

Ranging from mine-sweeping robots to renewable energy devices, the projects were designed, built and tested by the students the last several weeks.

The students put their theoretical knowledge to practice while using analytical, numerical and experimental approaches to testing designs.

“We believe a good engineer is someone who uses all of these [methods],” says Dr. Ramy Harik, assistant professor at the department and one of the event’s organizers, along with assistant professors Dr. Jimmy Issa, Dr. Barbar Akle and Dr. Wassim Habchi.

The teams were almost exclusively comprised of industrial and mechanical engineering students, but also included a handful of other engineering students.

Some students teamed up with their peers from different classes to collaborate on projects that required knowledge of several specific fields.

“I think our professors should be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” says Maya Berjawi, an industrial engineering student who worked with three mechanical engineering students to build an autonomous material sorter that uses lights and sensors to distinguish metal, glass and plastic, then releases the materials accordingly.

Organizers revel in how the event challenges students to consider a number of constraints such as time, cost, and environmental and physical elements they will face in the real world when implementing projects.

“It gives the students hands-on experience and exposes them to the multidisciplinary aspects of engineering,” says Dr. Pierrette Zouein, chair of the department.

When there was a problem in a demonstration or design, Zouein, rather than just observing, pushed the students to think more critically about finding the right solution — a skill they will need to master as they make the transition from students to engineers.

Some projects were based entirely on research. Yara Nammour and her team spent time throughout the university’s facilities examining the ergonomics of instruments in offices, classrooms, the cafeteria and library, and pointed out the shortfalls and offered recommendations.

Students carefully explained the functions of their designs to Harik and Akle, who made rounds to each tent and filled out grading forms.

Since the Design and Manufacturing Day was first launched in 2008, it has grown to include more classes and categories. Next year, the event will be divided by class level, Harik says.

“The students are enthusiastic about it,” he says. “Although we are almost fully pledged, we hope to add two or three more classes next year.”


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