Engineering a Better Mouse Trap -- or Chicken Plucker

December 20, 2012 | American Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering

Bike-powered chicken plucker The winning bike-powered chicken plucker -- "Tour de Feather"

The chicken plucker won.

An earlier blog post described "Design Day" at the University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering early this month. Marlin Steel was proud to be the exclusive corporate sponsor of the event because we have hired several graduates of the school for mechanical engineering jobs and because innovative design has been key to our company's success in wire baskets and sheet metal fabrication.

Marlin Steel President Drew Greenblatt discusses projects with students Marlin Steel President Drew Greenblatt discusses projects with students

For years, the senior projects of the school's Department of Mechanical Engineering were wholly an internal exercise, but a few years ago the school added a public display of them at the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building. Students, faculty and other visitors are invited to vote on which engineering solution they like best. The academic judges still rule when it comes to the project grades, but it was inspiring to see how the student ideas took flight and to be able to weigh in. The college just announced the "People's Choice" winners, and they were:

  1. First Place - Team Prezizion, Project: Tour de Feather (human-powered chicken plucker)
  2. Second Place - Team Kinetic, Project: Kinetic Electro Magnetic Power
  3. Third Place - Team No Tips Accepted, Projects: The Don't Lay Down

We haven't come across any jobs yet where we're ask to devise something from wire forms and mesh baskets to pluck a chicken, but the recent "Design Day" exercise seemed to us to prepare the students well for the types of challenges they would face at a company like ours: devising simple, efficient solutions to problems with economy and speed.