Project in Industry

Project in Industry is an opportunity for our students to demonstrate their Industrial Engineering skills in a real world setting. Our clients are local organizations looking for innovative solutions to challenging problems. 

Starting in late August, the Project in Industry site will be accessible to those who have registered for the course. Potential projects will be posted on this site at least one week prior to classes. (This site also serves as the official communication site for current students once classes have started.)

The projects are carried out as a demonstration of the capability of the teams to act as Professional Engineers. Teams should be aware of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers Guidelines, particularly those on Ethics, Professional Practice, and the Environment.

Highlights for interested clients

  • Projects start in early September and must be completed by early April.
  • Students normally work in teams of three to four.
  • Students review all potential projects and identify their preferences - so projects are usually matched up well with student interest.  The program manager makes the final assignments.
  • The client identifies the problem to be studied - our students then determine the scope of the project (and their deliverables) in consultation with the client.
  • Students have no scheduled classes on Wednesdays, so they can be on site all day (although occasionally they may opt to work here in our labs if appropriate).
  • We sometimes receive more projects than we have student teams, so unfortunately there is no guarantee that a submitted project will be undertaken.
  • Clients must pay students' travel expenses and a $60 fee for printing and copying.  There is no charge for students' or faculty time, nor for the use of our facilities for project work.

Summary of Typical Projects

Patrick Kelly, Michael Gorham

Company: Air Nova
Title: The Flight Switch Assist Application For Aircraft Routing

Executive Summary
Air Nova is the Air Canada regional partner for the Atlantic Canada region. As the hub for Air Nova's operations, Halifax is the base at which all regular maintenance is done. Even under the normal operating conditions, flight rescheduling occurs due to difficulties such as mechanical problems, bad weather, or unforeseen schedule changes. This causes Air Nova aircraft to be redirected onto Halifax destined routes on a fairly regular, but unpredictable, basis. Compensating for these changes in scheduling and ensuring that maintenance schedules are followed is the responsibility of the Planning and Technical Records department. Currently, aircraft scheduling problems are evaluated and options are formulated using a trial and error approach by experienced personnel. When this is done, maintenance constraints must be recalculated manually to see if the option is feasible. As well, alterations to the aircraft routing sheet must be done manually. These tasks have become very time consuming as Air Nova has grown to its current size. The challenge that this project addressed was how to automate these routine tasks, while working within the formats and framework that currently exist at Air Nova. To solve this problem, the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet package was used.

This improved the system by doing the following:

  • allowing present schedule formats to be used.
  • automating all routine calculations.
  • automating all cutting and pasting functions.
  • allowing new schedule to be imported for data in other departments.
  • highlighting infeasible options when they occur.

These improvements will allow the user to significantly reduce the time spent on this functions. As well, it makes presentation of the routing schedule more appealing and eliminates monotonous calculations.

Monique Delorey, Alan Grossert

Company: Metropolitan Authority
Title: Office Layout Design for the Metropolitan Authority 

Executive Summary

This report a proposed new office layout for the Halifax Area Metropolitan Authority. The Authority is currently preparing for major changes as municipal amalgamation is being implemented, but as the basic components of its service will remain unchanged with a new government in place, a study of its office space was determined to be in order. The overall objectives of the project are to develop alternative office layouts which will:

  • achieve increased levels of efficiency and productivity of the workers in the office
  • reduce the amount of traffic flow within the office
  • create a more pleasant work environment
  • incorporate in the alternate layouts different amounts of capital expenditure requirements, as the Authority was unable to predict the amount of money available for this project.
  • allow for changes and expansion in the future, as it is somewhat uncertain what demands will be placed upon this space in the future.

The project involves the collection of data describing details of the existing layout and personnel, the traffic volumes throughout the office, the use of facilities and the needs of specific individuals. In addition, such factors as the possibility of adding or removing people to or from the floor, the use of existing furniture, the use of other off-site spaces, and all issues relating to environmental concerns such as noise, heating, lighting and ventilation were researched. Two alternative layouts were developed, based on analyses incorporating the basic techniques of Facilities Design, Workplace Layout and Ergonomics. In addition, several computer-based analysis tools were used where appropriate. These two options were presented to the Authority as viable solutions which met the objectives outlined above.

Farzan Ally, Jeffrey Hayes

Company: IMP Group Limited, Aerospace Division
Title: Manpower Forecasting Models

Executive Summary
The mandate of this report was to investigate and develop a model for predicting the labour requirements at the IMP Group Limited Aerospace Division for the following fiscal year. This investigation included the following programs: - Sea King and Aurora aircraft programs for: mechanical trade avionics trade paint shop - Heltas: mechanical trade avionics trade - Arcturus: mechanical trade avionics trade - Manufacturing and Component Repair: all departments The models for the Sea King and Aurora aircraft programs were developed using actual manpower requirements of past aircraft projects. A spreadsheet environment was used to organize the data into weekly requirements. These weekly requirements were inserted into a calendar and converted into project weeks. The average, standard deviation, maximum value and minimum value were calculated for each program. These statistics became the basis for the individual aircraft model. Using the information in the Workload Forecasts, a master spreadsheet was constructed indicating the requirements over the entire fiscal year. The predicted mechanical requirements are fairly level over the first three quarters of the year with a decline starting in November. The predicted avionics requirements are relatively constant for the first three quarters, with a sharp decrease in November. The load on the paint shop is very periodic but the average level is constant. The paint shop should notice a peak approximately every ten weeks. Data were obtained for the previous two fiscal years for all the manufacturing and component repair departments. The data were organized by week and graphs plotted of earned and actual hours. Predicting the profile of the workload was not possible since long term scheduling information was unavailable, however, an average workload level forecast was made for the next fiscal year based on the previous one. Recommendations:

Aircraft Programs

  1. Review the schedule for the last quarter of the fiscal year, as it appears that there is a sharp decline in the overall workload.
  2. When the work content of a program changes or when the schedule changes the model should be altered.
  3. Monitor the performance of the predictions carefully over the year to validate the method and models developed in this report.

Manufacturing and Component Repair

  1. The method developed for graphing the hours for each department should be continued in the future. This may prove to be useful in estimating the effects of future special projects on the departments concerned.
  2. The model developed can be expanded in detail given scheduling forecasts.

James Bonnell, Toby Field

Company: Camp Hill Medical Centre
Title: Feasibility of a Centralized Transportation Department for the Camp Hill Medical Centre

Executive Summary
The Camp Hill Medical Centre provides medical and medical related services from two locations in the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This type of organization, with services being provided from two separate locations, will cease to exist in the spring of 1996 when the new Halifax Infirmary Hospital, currently under construction, opens for operation. This project discusses how material, which includes patients, food, linen, etc., presently moves through the Camp Hill Medical Centre and how it will move when the new Halifax Infirmary opens. The feasibility study on consolidating all the transportation department is presented in this report. Management Engineering is considering implementing a centralized transportation department to service the movement of material throughout the hospital. This centralized transportation department will be formed from an existing department known as Porter/Escort Services. After talking to each department involved, and Management Engineering, it was decided that a computer simulation would be an effective method for determining the staffing requirements, and associated costs of such a department. The computer simulation model was built using the SLAM II simulation language. Quantitative data including the number of items transported, time to transport, and by whom it will be transported, was collected from each of the departments involved in the transportation of materials. The simulation model provided a means of testing what the optimal number of servers required to meet the transportation demands of the hospital. The results taken from the simulation model show that a centralized transportation department would save thousands of dollars every year. Therefore the recommendation of this report is to begin implementing this type of transportation system and have it ready for the opening of the new Halifax Infirmary.


Want to be added to the Project in Industry mailing list?

Send us an email with your name and contact information. We will send out an information package around the end of June/early July.  No commitment required. If you have an idea for a project and wish to discuss it, please feel free to contact the program manager.

Program Manager
Sandra MacAulay Thompson, P.Eng.