University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering Annual Report 2003
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Engineering Professional Development

Benjamin Jordan and Balu Ananthanarayanan

Illuminating designs make for safer roads, darker skies and brighter stars

When Assistant Faculty Associate Benjamin Jordan (left) flipped the switch on his course "Effective Roadway Lighting," lighting professionals from throughout the U.S. saw the light. The course was first held in Wisconsin and later offered to the industry in Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania and delivered on-site to large agencies including the Los Angeles Department of Public Works and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Through the course, Jordan brings a wide range of designers, consultants and engineers up to speed on the latest ANSI standards in illuminating everything from highways and interchanges to streetscapes and parking lots.

"Poor lighting design can make road hazards disappear," Jordan says. "Hazards are visible when illuminated or in silhouette, but in between there is a transition where objects literally disappear to the driver's eye. Glare can also make hazards difficult to see, especially for older drivers."

Course participants learn how to design lighting systems that are aesthetically pleasing in the daytime and improve safety and visibility on the roadway in a way that minimizes light trespass and sky glow at night. By illuminating only what needs be seen and eliminating unwanted light and glare, designers can save energy and preserve the view of the stars for both recreation and science.

More than 300 roadway lighting professionals representing local, county, tribal, state and federal governments as well as design consultants, electric utilities and manufacturers have taken the course in the last three years.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has provided valuable assistance through Electrical Section Chief Balu Ananthanarayanan (right). Ananthanarayanan is an instructor and has provided sample lamps and fixtures for use in instruction. Several WisDOT employees have attended the course to stay up to date on current standards and technology for roadway lighting.

On-site learning brings consistency to project management

Working with organizations to adapt their engineering workflow to changed environments is the focus of EPD Program Director Bruce Kieffer's customer-focused on-site training programs. Producing a quality product efficiently involves sophisticated engineering systems and processes as well as project management practices that take a consistent approach to a wide variety of issues, from scheduling and workflow to risk analysis and troubleshooting. So when organizations such as General Mills, the U.S. Air Force, A. J. Antunes & Co., the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, and Monsanto Chemical decided to align and integrate their project management approaches with consensus standards and practices, Kieffer took the classroom to them.

On-site learning has allowed Kieffer to work collaboratively with these diverse organizations to identify their needs and tailor a curriculum to train the engineering workforce both economically and conveniently. EPD's existing course capability in project management made this tailoring process both responsive and standards-based. Aligning organizational project management strategies with the latest approaches not only improves efficiency but also allows organizations to continue to develop employees trained in the latest project management methods.

Course finds efficiency by degree

If you keep your refrigerator full, the thermal mass will hold the cold and it will use less energy. But when the refrigerator is the size of a warehouse, that simple tip becomes a huge issue in managing a complex system. No two industrial refrigeration systems are the same.

So when large food processors like Tropicana Products Inc. or Wells Dairy Inc. want to find greater efficiency, Associate Professor Doug Reindl and his team visit the site and meet the plant staff to see not only how the refrigeration system is configured but also how it is managed.

"Industrial refrigeration plants are always changing products or increasing or decreasing production and all of those factors confound the monthly utility bill," says Reindl. "When costs go up, it's difficult to tell whether it's because of prices, product or operation. A lot of details can get lost in the day-to-day operation of these systems, so we help them evaluate whether various changes help improve efficiency."

Safety is also a big concern in industrial refrigeration. Cooling and freezing massive quantities of product require moving and storing vast amounts of ammonia. Regulations governing ammonia use require companies to conduct routine safety inspections. Reindl and his staff help teams of employees conduct in-depth evaluations of refrigeration systems and operation plans in order to help identify methods of improving safety.


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Copyright 2003 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Date last modified: Friday, 03-Oct-2003 12:56:00 CDT
Date created: 03-Oct-2003