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Tech Students in Frontenac Get Assembly Line Experience with PSU Designed Product


The push for STEM trained students put Frontenac freshman on an assembly line today.

Students in the foundations of technology class at Frontenac high school became the work crew for the Pittsburg State University Manufacturing Enterprise class.

It started with pieces of wood, with  holes being drilled,  and then boxes assembled. Down the line elements of the final product were attached.  
Hannah Eckstein operated a hot glue gun for the handle of what would become a picnic caddy. The wooden tote included  a metal plate allowing it to be attached to tables with screws.

Hannah said a quick lesson learned was,  "That this is a tough job that should  be respected. Factory work should be respected cause they're  putting in tons of  work. We're students putting in tons of work for something simple, just imagine what they’re doing."

Miller Coleman another Frontenac freshman said, "I’ve learned that being in an assembly line isn’t necessarily easy but it’s an effective way to make things almost perfect every time."

The mass production effort had roots at PSU where engineering and technology education majors designed the product and the process.

Mark Welle, is a PSU graduate student going into manufacturing. He said, "You have to think, problem solve, critical thinking, actually figure it out by doing it. We laid out  the whole assembly line and tried to figure out where it was going to flow seamlessly and  kind of observe now and realize it would have been better if we would have  had  just more space here. Or if we had another operation, that would have made this flow a lot better. Just analyzing it like that.”  

Welle and one of the instructors  said one of the biggest lessons is learning the hard way what works and what doesn't.

Keith Aikin, who teaches the Frontenac technology class said, “They will discover some of  those we call bottlenecks where stuff kind of jumbles up. They see this part of the assembly  lines working too fast and we've got a stockpile of stuff.  And like right  now they’re having to change out two drill bits to make the screws go in easier.”

Hannah Eckstein noticed it. “We're actually at a hold up right now cause we actually have tons already made. We were going through pretty fast, faster than everyone else.”
The first  caddy off the line was  a proud moment for the PSU tech students. Some of whom will go on to teach tech  in high school.  And  this is a  chance to see how teens learn. And also to inspire them to consider STEM fields.

Gracyn Bolinger wants to be in construction, "Just the idea of building whatever you want  to. Whatever you can imagine."
And Hannah who took the class to go on to graphic design is now considering product design.

Each high school line worker will get a picnic caddy. About one hundred were produced at the school today. The remaining picnic caddies will be sold at PSU as part of the tech students marketing and business plan.

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