Michigan Tech News

Fired Up: MEEM Honored for Extinguisher Innovations

Phone: 906-487-2354

By Marcia Goodrich


Last Modified 10:37 AM, July 9, 2009

May 18, 2007—

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 (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.