Student Projects

By Bill Hicks, UT CIS Solutions Consultant

Our Center works closely with the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee Knoxville to bring solutions to our clients’ problems. One of the ways that we do so is by helping to identify projects that senior undergraduate engineering students can solve as their Senior Design or Capstone Project. Senior Design projects:

  • Are Intensive and comprehensive
  • Require teamwork
  • Involve real-world problems, usually supplied by companies and entrepreneurs
  • Follow the Engineering principles and processes
  • Require integration and application of Engineering knowledge and tools
  • Involve interactions with users, clients, and other stakeholders with effective written and oral communication.

In most cases, these projects are two semesters long. They can span either Fall (August – December) then Spring (January – May) semesters or the opposite Spring then Fall Semesters. Students do not typically work on these projects over the summer.

UT CIS helps to support projects at both the Tickle College of Engineering level as well as at the individual Department level. College level projects are called Interdisciplinary Senior Design. Project teams produce a series of technical deliverables in parallel with learning a systems engineering-based development process and honing skills needed for professional practice. All projects deliver preliminary, system-level, and final design reports with associated presentations. Faculty subject matter experts will review the work of each team. Each team will demonstrate prototype systems in each semester. Projects will include consideration of finances, with an expectation of a supporting business case and potentially a business plan.

Videos of the 2020 – 2021 Interdisciplinary Senior Design projects are available at

One of these projects entitled “Light Tower Chain” was with Signal Power in Chattanooga. The project is aimed at bringing affordable and reliable internet service to rural America for daily use as well as outdoor concerts and disaster response situations. Doug Zukowski, President of Signal Power in Chattanooga had this to say about the project:

“George Aslinger and his team at the UT Center for Industrial Services have been an amazing resource for us and George’s work to team Signal Power with a Senior Design Project at the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Tickle College of Engineering may change our company in ways that we never imagined. We had a technology challenge that we looked to adapt to and advance, but lacked the internal engineering capability to see it through. Working with UT gave us not only a fresh set of ideas, but gave us the ability to bring this technology to market.”

UT CIS also provided support to several projects within the Industrial & Systems Engineering Department. Each team ultimately produces a working prototype or system design that is tested and refined to meet the project objectives.

Posters of the 2020 - 2021 projects are available at:

One of the projects was with Keurig Dr Pepper and sought to improve production yield and cost per cup of dark roast high fill weight coffee pods in long fluted filters (LFF) by determining what processes, practices and equipment are needed to achieve a 10% reduction in scrap/rework.

If you are interested in a Senior Design project at your facility during the 2021-2022 Academic year, please let me know.

Tags Manufacturing