"Devils Backbone" team (from left): Lauren Schwartz, Paul Hayes, Micah Schumaker, Dylan Sackadorf

"Devils Backbone" team (from left): Lauren Schwartz, Paul Hayes, Micah Schumaker, Dylan Sackadorf
"Devils Backbone" team (from left): Lauren Schwartz, Paul Hayes, Micah Schumaker, and Dylan Sackadorf

(May 29, 2018) A senior design project team (Team 18) from the ISE department earned first place in the Scheduling category of the Andrew P. Sage Senior Design Capstone Competition at George Mason University on May 7, 2018. Recent ISE graduates Paul Hayes, Dylan Sackadorf, Micah Schumaker, and Lauren Schwartz presented their project, “Devils Backbone Production Efficiency,” to a group of judges from academia and industry at the competition, where a total of 28 project teams from six regional universities participated. The winners of the competition, including those from Team 18, were posted in the news “Mason Engineering department hosts regional capstone competition” on the website of Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University.

Two weeks prior to the competition, the team won the Innovation & Creativity Award at the 2018 VT ISE Senior Design Project Symposium. The abstract of the project can be found below.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company has an expanding craft beer market and there is an increasing demand for their products. Looking to increase throughput, we analyzed the current bottling and canning production system to identify process steps that could be improved to achieve optimal production capacity. The team found that the current process to document bottling and canning metrics hindered optimal production. The current data collection system utilizes paper production logs that are completed during the shift and then manually entered into a computer. The paper logs were inconsistently recorded and lacked information necessary to identify the root causes of machine downtime. We found that there is a need to have more consistent, accurate, and usable data to achieve target throughput levels.

The team remodeled the manual paper method of production logging with the creation of a digital application that will standardize production procedures and allow for easy storage of production data. Basing the design on the paper log format and feedback from operators and managers, the team developed an application that can more accurately track downtime causes. The app is intuitive and facilitates the collection of vital production metrics. The app connects to a backend Google system to store analyze and retrieve the data. The implementation of the digital data collection and analytics system will enable the creation of a preventive maintenance plan, eliminate excessive processing time, and ease historical log retrieval.