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Coon Rapids High School engineering students help create solutions for local business

(CRHS students sharing more about their new device with Aggressive Hydraulics representatives12/22/2023) Earlier this school year, seniors enrolled in the engineering program at Coon Rapids High School - Center for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (CRHS) toured Aggressive Hydraulics in East Bethel to learn about their engineering and manufacturing process. 

While on tour, students were assigned a mini capstone project to design a device/tool that Aggressive Hydraulics could use in the welding process of building custom hydraulics, an actual problem within their current manufacturing process. 

On Dec. 22, students presented their creations and their process from design conception to completion. Representatives from Aggressive Hydraulics were in attendance to learn more about the concepts, looking for ideas to take back to the drawing board for potential solutions. View photos of students presenting their work

“It was a great interaction and we appreciate the students' enthusiasm, interest, and desire to complete the project successfully,” said Tony Casassa, engineering manager at Aggressive Hydraulics. “I think it's great that students are learning at a young age some of the fundamentals of engineering and the decision-making processes, and I hope it is useful for all of them in considering careers in the field.”

Each of the five groups created a unique device for Aggressive Hydraulics to consider and presented their prototypes.

Marcus Grignon, a senior at CRHS, appreciated the opportunity to get a real-life look into what it means to work in the engineering field and get hands-on experience in creating something from scratch. 

“We were mostly trying to meet the demands they (Aggressive Hydraulics) set for us,” Grignon said about the project. “It needed to be relatively easy to make and at a reasonable cost. It had to do the job, be practical and meet industry tolerance which is five thousandths of an inch.”

Grignon and his peers used that standard in their decision-making process to create a simplistic tool that meets that criteria. 

“I think that is why a lot of our ideas ended up being similar with little tweaks and changes between each group,” Grigon said. 

Aggressive Hydraulics welds ports on cylinders and needs a fixture to hold the part onto cylinders which are made in high quantities within the company. Students were tasked with developing a device to make this process more efficient. 

“We have had some solutions and they worked, but they didn’t work great and we were looking for something durable and reliable,” Casassa said. “We had our mindset on what needed to be done to secure the fixture, and the students thought outside of the box a bit and created some things that we hadn’t tried.”

Aggressive Hydraulics will now take the drawings of the student projects as they consider new options for the development of a new tool or device to improve efficiencies in their engineering process.

Students in the engineering program at CRHS experience Project Lead the Way curriculum which empowers students to step into the varied roles engineers play in our society, discover new career paths and possibilities, and develop engineering knowledge and skills.

The CRHS specialty program offers pathways for students in engineering, biomedical engineering and biomedical sciences. Learn more about the Center for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering at CRHS.