Engineering Professional Development
Thyristor-controlled series capacitors, which regulate power flow on 500 kilovolt transmission lines, were the subject of a recent joint project of EPD staff and researchers from Cepel Laboratory in Brazil. (44K JPG)
EPD seminars lead to increased productivity
Two years ago, Engineering Professional Development offered three 3-day design-for-manufacturing seminars for approximately 100 employees of Microelectronics Modules. As a result, the Wisconsin company joined the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) and has continued to benefit from student-powered studies. Associate Faculty Associate Franklin J. Rath, who has worked closely with these projects, says the studies have helped the firm shorten lead times, produce better set-ups, and improve the quality of its products. "We are helping them apply both theory and techniques discussed in the original seminars," he explains. Currently, the CQRM is conducting its third six-month project with Microelectronics Modules.
U.S., Brazil team up for power system study
Due to financial and environmental restrictions, power system engineers in both Brazil and the U.S. face similar challenges to increasing the transmission capability of existing networks in lieu of proposing new transmission corridors. Systems in these countries are currently operated at close to their transfer limits. Addressing this subject, researchers from UW-Madison and Brazil's Cepel Laboratory recently completed a 2-1/2-year joint study led by Professor Willis F. Long, with participation from Electrical and Computer Engineering Professors Fernando L. Alvarado and Christopher L. DeMarco. Specifically, the study addressed how Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) could be used most effectively. Long said the delegations complemented each other well, with the UW-Madison team providing more theoretical input and the Cepel researchers focusing on how to implement the plans.
Students attend classes at a distance
Four employees of S.C. Johnson and Son took Assistant Faculty Associate Bruce D. Kieffer's 10-week "Fundamentals of Project Management" course this spring without ever leaving their company's Racine, Wis., facility. A professor from UW-Platteville also participated in the class while remaining on her southwestern Wisconsin campus. Rather than driving to Madison each week, these students were linked to a classroom in Engineering Hall via audio and video hook-ups. Additionally, they used the Internet to access homework assignments and exams, and e-mail to return completed work. "These methods of learning are particularly beneficial to practicing engineers who want to improve their skills but can't afford to take the time off from work to travel to campus each week," notes Kieffer.
Center hosts worldwide disaster conference
Today, more than 40 million people have been displaced by natural and manmade disasters, and many of them are forced to reside in "emergency settlements." Addressing the needs of this large group, the first International Emergency Settlement Conference was held in Madison April 15-20, 1996, with support from The Ford Foundation and the United Nations Development Program. Hosted by the University of Wisconsin - Disaster Management Center (UW-DMC), with contributions from 49 countries, the gathering was an integral part of the ongoing Emergency Settlement Project. UW-DMC Director Donald R. Schramm says the conference provided a forum for discussing and developing ways to improve international humanitarian assistance. Specifically, participants identified the needs of populations in emergencies, how to successfully manage assistance measures, and how to link these efforts to the long-term development of the affected communities.
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1996 Annual Report Contents