Fired Up: MEEM Honored for Extinguisher Innovations

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Michigan Tech's Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics' Capstone Design Program has received an Award of Excellence from Ansul Inc., of Marinette, Wis., a business unit of Tyco Safety Products.

“The collaboration between the MEEM students, faculty, staff and Ansul through the Capstone Design program has been exceptionally strong,” said Jay Thomas, the company’s director of research and development. “And the delivery of results exceeded our expectations of the students,” he added. “That reflects on Bill [Predebon, MEEM department chair] and his team, who have made Capstone Design a well-rounded experience for Tech and for industry.”

In particular, Ansul was impressed with the students’ improvements to its high-expansion foam generator. A super-sized fire extinguisher, the device is about five feet square and is used in aircraft hangers and similar sites. Essentially, the Capstone Design team figured out how to make it generate more foam, and the company is adopting their innovations.

“We’ve developed a really good working relationship with Ansul-Tyco,” said MEEM Associate Chair Donna Michalek. “They are excellent partners; they really engage the students.”

The award came “from out of the blue,” she said. “It was very much a surprise. They have given this to companies they work with, but never to a university.

“One of our goals is to make the experience relevant, not only for us, but for industry,” she added. “So this is very special.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.