ATA sponsored a recent UCSD student capstone project to design a shock test machine as one of many collaborations with the university.
On Friday, June 5, four UCSD Mechanical Engineering seniors presented their design of a shock test machine to the engineering staff at ATA’s San Diego headquarters. Many aerospace, electromechanical, and consumer products may be subjected to mechanical shocks in their operating environments, such as shocks from impact, dropping, earthquakes, or explosion, and ATA’s customers often request assistance in qualifying their products for such shock environments by both analytical and experimental methods.
ATA has been sponsoring senior “capstone” design projects on an annual basis for UCSD’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department since 2001, developing relationships with students and faculty while giving students the opportunity to work on real-life engineering problems. ATA’s sponsorship includes monetary support for parts and materials as well as the time invested by engineering staff members to provide design requirements and review progress.
Over the years, ATA-sponsored capstone projects have ranged from a roller coaster inspection system to the quantification of various materials properties for surfboard design. For 2015, ATA provided the students with a set of general requirements for a machine to transmit controlled, transient shock pulses to typical customer test articles. In the space of 15 weeks across two academic quarters and on top of their already full course load, the students used their creative design skills along with computer-aided engineering software tools to design a machine that met the stated requirements and then fabricated a prototype machine and tested it to compare the measured shock pulses to the specified and analytically predicted pulses.
Student Project Manager Sam Jafarian talked about the experience, saying, “We enjoyed working with ATA in the design, analysis, prototyping, and testing of a shock test machine for use in their lab. The capstone senior design project for mechanical engineering students at UC San Diego is an excellent opportunity for serious future engineers to apply their university and extracurricular skills to a practical project working with real engineers, real deadlines, and real budgets. Our student team cannot thank ATA and the UC San Diego staff enough for their support; we were very pleased with the expertise available to us and the professionalism that accompanied it. We feel a large part of our success is due to that support that we took advantage of throughout the project.”
These projects are one part of ATA’s mission to act as a bridge between outstanding academic engineering universities such as the Jacobs School and the real-world challenges of customers striving to build better products in less time and at lower cost. Since ATA’s founding in 2000, the company has worked closely with UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering on a number of collaborations:
- Cooperative development, sponsorship, and/or teaching of a variety of academic courses including Computer-Aided Design, Principles of Mechanical Design, Digital Control Systems, Structural System Testing, and Model Correlation
- Serving on the Executive Board of the Corporate Affiliates Program and the Industrial Advisory Boards of both the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Structural Engineering departments
- Sponsoring a variety of student clubs and contests, including the concrete canoe competition, seismic and steel bridge design competitions, the AIAA Hybrid Rocket Team, the Seismic Outreach Program (for middle school students), and the Triton SAE racing team.
- Establishing an endowed scholarship fund at UCSD to support master’s-level engineering students interested in creative design and engineering problem-solving in honor of Chuck Hill, a highly respected inventor who worked with ATA for many years. ATA has committed to matching ATA Engineering employees’ contributions.
- Sponsoring student internships.
- Cooperative development of research programs in robotic systems, aircraft measurements systems, and other areas of mutual interest.