NCCC students collaborate with Built by Newport on custom air blow-off system

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NEWPORT — Students from the Mechatronics/STEM program at the North Country Career Center in Newport collaborated with local manufacturing company Built by Newport to design and create a custom air blow-off system.

The system is needed to clear sawdust and shavings from underneath the large Balestrini CNC machines used by Built by Newport for their custom products.

Instructor Hazen Converse put together a plan for the students to research, analyze, measure, and propose a solution to the problem. The students visited the site to gather measurements, create accurate 2D drawings, and discuss the specific issues with workers. They then began ordering various parts and nozzles to test and determine which ones would provide the best results based on the measurements.

Two students used an automated solenoid from the lab equipment to simulate the timing and programming, and a dual acting solenoid was ordered to control both sides of the CNC machine independently. The final product was a 40-inch long, ½-inch diameter black iron manifold with strategically placed tees and nozzles, controlled by the dual acting solenoid and programmed using PLC software.

The project provided a valuable real-world experience for the students, who worked hard on perfecting their part in the process. They spent time in the construction lab testing different nozzles, working on programming and timing of the PLC, and designing in AutoCAD software. After about a month and a half, the students put together a proposal with a cost analysis and material list of all the components used.

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Instructor Hazen Converse expressed pride in his students’ ability to apply skills learned in class to this real-world application.

Converse said, engineers are always taking ideas and making them better, writing reports on the data, and proposing solutions. This was a great engineering experience for all students as well as a hands on build project.

“We were able to save the company thousands of dollars from having this professionally designed and built and we provided the students a valuable experience they have to learn outside of the classroom”, said Converse.

Built by Newport plans to create several more of these systems based on the original design, with the ability to make small adjustments if needed.

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