Sunday, May 26, 2024

Collaboration Between Louisiana Tech University and LA NPDT Fosters Engineering Entrepreneurs

by BIZ Magazine

Louisiana Tech University’s Dr. Henry Cardenas is spearheading an initiative that not only transforms engineering students into skilled professionals but also provides valuable solutions for industries. Through a groundbreaking senior design projects program, Dr. Cardenas is paving the way for students to gain real-world experience while offering tangible benefits to private companies. This collaboration between academia and industry is not only enriching the educational experience but also driving economic growth in Louisiana.

The senior design projects program, housed within Louisiana Tech University’s Mechanical Engineering Department, allows students to engage directly with private companies on projects spanning nine months. Under Dr. Cardenas’s guidance, students tackle real engineering challenges, delivering solutions that have tangible applications in the industry. Notably, these projects are privately sponsored, contributing over $15 million annually in economic benefits to participating companies.

In a recent conversation with Onega Ulanova from LA New Product Development Team (LA NPDT), Dr. Cardenas highlighted the significance of this partnership in shaping the future of engineering. He emphasized how senior design projects provide students with invaluable experience, teaching them essential skills in problem-solving, communication, and project management.

“Senior design projects are crucial for transforming students into skilled engineers because they allow students to provide real engineering output to real people in the real world,” said Dr. Cardenas. “They take on work they have to compete with real-world implications, and deliver solutions that our company partners will put into practice.”

Dr. Cardenas elaborated on the mutual benefits of the program for students and industry. For students, these projects offer a bridge between theoretical knowledge and practical application, enhancing their employability. For companies, the program serves as a talent pipeline, providing access to skilled graduates who are already familiar with their projects and operations.

“The program provides an excellent pipeline for the discovery, trial, and recruitment of new engineers,” Dr. Cardenas explained. “Companies like to work with us to keep their toe in the water, as it were, of the stream of talent we have flowing by.”

One notable project involves a collaboration between Louisiana Tech University, LA NPDT, and AEP to develop a solution for fatigue cracking using electroplating. This innovative approach, initiated by LA NPDT’s co-founder Konstantin Dolgan, aims to prevent failures in power plant boiler tube systems.

“We effectively use the best capabilities of each to benefit everyone,” Dr. Cardenas said. “We are aiming to develop a brush plating wand, which is a bristled wand that delivers an ionic current into the surface of the aviation parts, to keep cracks from growing into problems.”

To continue this groundbreaking research and expand industry partnerships, Dr. Cardenas invites interested companies to submit project ideas.

“The way we see it, this is the best possible outcome of public-private partnerships between academia, industry, and the state,” Dr. Cardenas emphasized. “We are excited to work with interested individuals, companies, and groups to build solutions for the world, together.”

For companies interested in participating or submitting project ideas, Dr. Cardenas can be contacted directly at [email protected] or (318) 257-4600. To join the electroplating consortium and collaborate with Louisiana Tech University, LA NPDT, and AEP, please reach out to Dr. Cardenas or LA NPDT at [email protected].

The partnership between Louisiana Tech University and LA NPDT exemplifies the transformative potential of industry-academic collaborations in driving innovation, economic development, and educational excellence. Through initiatives like the senior design projects program, Louisiana is poised to lead the way in engineering education and entrepreneurship.

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