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 The Competitive Assessment Laboratory

In today’s quickly changing and increasingly competitive market place, it is imperative
that manufacturers keep abreast of the technological advances and design innovations
incorporated into competing product lines. The term competitive assessment (i.e.
benchmarking) has been coined by manufacturers to describe the process of ethically
acquiring, inspecting, analyzing, instrumenting and testing the product lines of other
manufacturers. In the Competitive Assessment Laboratory at Rowan University,
multidisciplinary teams of freshman engineering students from each of the four
engineering departments perform each of the above tasks on a consumer appliance. In
addition to introducing students to the science and art of design, the Competitive
Assessment Laboratory allows multidisciplinary teams of faculty to assess the constantly
evolving initial conditions under which the typical engineering student enters his or her
course of study. The Competitive Assessment Laboratory contains 5 consumer appliance
test stations featuring PC-based data acquisition systems capable of measuring
thermocouple and voltage/current signals. Each station is also equipped with mechanical
measurement equipment and portable materials testing equipment.

 Rowan University
                                       Who we are...

 The comprehensive state university of Southern New Jersey.
 Located in Glassboro, NJ. Founded in 1923.
 University renamed in honor of Henry Rowan after $100 million
  gift in 1992 to create the College of Engineering.
 Rowan University consists of six colleges
   Fine and Performing Arts
   Liberal Arts and Sciences

The Engineering Clinic
                      An 8-Semester Design Sequence

 Freshman Clinic I: Engineering
  Measurements                        Guitar FX Pedal

 Freshman Clinic II: NSF
  Competitive Assessment
  Laboratory                          Hybrid Rocket Motor

 Sophomore Clinic I: Total
  Quality Management
 Sophomore Clinic II:
 Junior Clinics: Multidisciplinary
  Design Project (semester)
 Senior Clinics: Multidisciplinary
  Design Project (year)
                                              NASA mG Combustion
Freshman Clinic II
          NSF Competitive Assessment Laboratory

Competitive Assessment (i.e. benchmarking):
ethically acquiring, inspecting, analyzing, instrumenting, testing and
evaluating the product lines of other manufacturers.

         Industry Example            Rowan Engineering Example
 The Competitive Assessment Laboratory

 Introduce freshmen to the science and art of design by evaluating the
  work of practicing designers,
 Introduce students to unifying engineering science principles using
  the consumer appliance as a test bed
 Enable students to determine how tradeoffs among:
    scientific principles,       safety requirements,
    material properties,         government regulations,
    manufacturing techniques,  environmental considerations,
    aesthetics and ergonomics,  and intellectual property rights
 impact product design.
 Allow freshman students to actively participate in a meaningful
  design effort by instrumenting and evaluating the performance of a
  consumer appliance and consider design improvements.
 Experimental Facility
 The Competitive Assessment Laboratory
The Competitive Assessment Laboratory is equipped with 5 consumer appliance test
stations. Each station is equipped with the following:

 Dell Optiplex GX1 PC, with flat panel monitor

 HP34970A Data Acquisition/Switch Unit
        20 thermocouple channels

        12 analog voltage channels

        4 digital I/O channels

 Valhalla 2100 Digital Power Analyzer

 2 HP33120A Function/Arbitrary Waveform Generators

 HP54645D Mixed Signal Oscilloscope

 Keithley 2000 Multimeter

 HP3631A Power Suppy (0-6 V, 5 A; 0-25 V, 1 A

 Hand tools, inspection equipment, instrumentation, soldering station, etc.

Each PC is configured with LabView, HPVee, Office 2000, etc. and all HP instrumentation
is linked with the computer via HPIB interface.
 The Competitive Assessment Laboratory

 Freshman Engineering Clinic II is a 16-week, 2-credit course consisting of a
  1.5-hour lecture and 3.0-hour laboratory.

 The course consists of a semester long project that introduces design to
  freshmen engineering students through disassembly, inspection, materials
  testing, technical assessment and testing of a consumer appliance.

 In conjunction with the semester long project, lectures are given and
  laboratory experiences are performed to provide students with the rudiments
  of engineering science and introduce students to the realities of engineering

 The course is divided into 4 to 6 sections with at total enrollment of 100 to 120

 Low cost consumer appliances are chosen as vehicles for competitive
  assessment, with each section focusing on a given type of appliance.

 Multidisciplinary teams of 4 to 5 students are given an appliance of a given
  model and make to study in detail for the entire semester.
 Products Evaluated
 The Competitive Assessment Laboratory

To date, the following products have been consumer products have
been inspected, analyzed, instrumented, tested and evaluated in
the Competitive Assessment Laboratory:

      Coffee Maker

      Hair Dryer

      Electric Toothbrush

      Bread Maker

      Portable Water Filter

      Remote Control Car

      Beer Home Brewing Process
Competitive Assessment Lab
                                                                                        Coffee Maker Benchmarking

                                                      Example project: students instrumented a Betty Crocker
                                                      Series II coffee maker with 16 thermocouples, a power
                                                      transducer and a turbine flow meter to measure:
                                                       power consumption,
                                                       energy losses, and             Instantaneous Efficiency
                                                       thermal efficiency.    1.000

                                                                                                                                                                  mCp T7  T1 
                          Instantaneous Power Consumption                                                             0.750                                          
                                       [Watts]                                                                                                                         W




     400                                                                                                              0.000
                                                                                                                              0   100   200   300     400   500   600   700
                                                                                                                                              Tim e [sec]


                                            Tim e [sec]
Competitive Assessment Lab
                    Electric Toothbrush Benchmarking
  Product Component       Principles         Activities
  Power supply            AC power           Examine sine wave
                                             RMS, Peak values
  Potted power supply     Safety             Dielectric strength
  Charger source          Transformer        Step-down ratios
                          Coil               Inductance (permeability vs. turns)
  Receiver supply         Coil, rectifier    Coupling
                                             RMS-to-DC conversion
  Battery                 Ni-Cd cells        Energy storage density
  2-minute timer          Digital systems    Oscillator
                                             Counter (binary)
  Motor                   DC Motor           Model, torque, speed, current
  Mechanism               Rotary/ Crankshaft Connecting rod motion
  Gear Train              Speed reduction    Gear/Torque relationships
Competitive Assessment Lab
                                        Hair Dryer Benchmarking

Students examined the following characteristics of
each hair dryer:
 • Material properties,
 • Sound level,
 • Air velocity profile and mass flow rate,
 • Air temperature field, and
 • Thermal efficiency.
In general, the students found that in a typical
consumer hair dryer:
 • sound levels are dangerously high                                    120

 • thermal efficiency is surprisingly low.                              115


                                                     Sound Level [dB]

                          mh fg                                         100

                           W                                            95

                                                                         90       High Setting
                                                                                  Low Setting
                                                                         85       "Cool Shot" Setting

                                                                              0            2            4       6   8
                                                                                       Distance from nozzle (in.)
The Competitive Assessment Laboratory

 The project described in this poster was made
 possible by an NSF ILI Grant (DUE98-50563)
 along with matching funds from the College of
 Engineering at Rowan University.

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