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ET Foundation Announces Student Winners of the 2015 Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition

(June 2, 2015; Wauconda, Illinois) -- The ET Foundation, the educational and technology research organization founded by the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), has recognized 10 students for their outstanding entries in the 2015 Aluminum Extrusion Student Design Competition. Nearly 60 entries were received from schools and universities across North America.

The ET Foundation awarded $8,500 in scholarships to recognize the winning designs-featuring extruded aluminum components-developed by students studying industrial design, engineering and other related fields. The competition was sponsored exclusively by Bonnell Aluminum, headquartered in Newnan, Georgia.

The designs were judged by aluminum extrusion industry professionals, including David Asher, Process Optimization Manager at Bonnell Aluminum in Newnan, Georgia; Todd Boyer, Director of Sales and Marketing at Mid-States Aluminum Corp. in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; and Dr. Joseph Benedyk, Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Engineering Research Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois and Editor for Light Metal Age magazine.

A team of students from the senior course, Engineering Design - Product Realization, in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Alabama - Huntsville, won First Place with a $3,000 scholarship award for their "Mobile Experiment Display Station". The students included Sydney Steele, John Helms, Joshua Piner, Brandon Ferguson, Austin Avery, and Thomas Brian McCoy, all seniors majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Anh Hoang, a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering.

The team was tasked with the design, modeling, analysis, fabrication and testing plans of a mobile experiment cart to be delivered to a Huntsville, Alabama children's science center. "The cart was fabricated using 80/20® extruded aluminum in order to achieve a lightweight and high-strength final product," wrote the students in their entry submission. The team of students, focusing on a number of different areas from Finite Element Analysis (FEA), research, design, cost analysis, and fabrication, researched various materials and determined early in the design process that extruded aluminum was the optimal material. The use of extruded aluminum was critical in order to design a safe, light weight and high strength product," explained their faculty advisor and instructor, Christina Carmen, Ph.D.

The judges found the overall approach to the design to be what put it over the top and won the students the First Place Prize. "It's certainly 'manufacturable' with a well-laid-out plan from start to finish," commented David Asher.

"Although this is an engineered design and not a particularly unique product, the design review that the students performed is exactly how a product would need to be evaluated for manufacturing in the business world," said Todd Boyer.

"They engineered it and designed it to perfection," noted Joe Benedyk.

David Marchese, a graduate Industrial Design student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, won Second Place with a $2,000 scholarship award for his "ScintilLITE" extruded aluminum light fixture housing for parking garages. The fixture, which houses a bright LED light to illuminate the structure, is placed in such a way that vehicles in the parking garage are provided a visual cue as to the direction and flow of traffic utilizing red and green LED lights. "While the driver is in the correct lane going in the proper direction, he/she will see a strip of green glowing from the bottom of the [garage structure] trusses that have the ScintilLITE light fixture. On the reverse side of the truss attached to its vertical surface is where the main body of the fixture resides along with the red rope light... indicating that they are going the wrong way," explained Marchese.

The fixture includes a main lighting element secured to the extrusion, allowing for the light to be projected at a downward angle to illuminate the parking garage.

"This lighting fixture seems to be intended for existing structures to brighten up dingy parking garages," commented Boyer.

"The clever design makes it versatile with the ability to specify varying lengths," suggested Asher.

Justin Schupbach, a junior studying industrial design at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, won Third Place with a $1,000 scholarship award for his "Inspiration Corner" hanging system.

"The inspiration for this device is to hang pictures...that can be placed in corners to use up the negative spaces," explained Schupbach. The student explained that the system could be used in galleries, lobbies, "or wherever these merged walls can be found."

"I can see this being used at trade shows as well," said Boyer. "There is a market for this clever concept somewhere."

Dominic Atibil, a junior studying Industrial Design at Purdue University, won the Sustainable Design Award with a $2,500 scholarship award. "The Solar-Tent is designed to be a single person solar powered enclosure [that] provides effective shelter for displaced people, hikers/campers or the homeless," explained Dominic Atibil, a junior studying industrial design at Purdue University. "It is also a perfect sleeping solution for music festivals and other multi-day outdoor gatherings."

The tent was designed with aluminum extrusion because of their corrosion resistance for outdoor use, and the manufacturing process minimized the number of parts required, according to the student. LED lights in the Solar-Tent are powered by solar panels on top of the tent that charge during the day and "the electricity is stored in batteries that can be used to also charge via USB output and 9-volt power output," noted the student. Incorporated insulating material keeps inhabitants protected from the cold while the waterproof polyester fabric keeps them dry.

Competition judge David Asher chose this design as the winner of the Bonnell Sustainable Design Award because it met important societal concerns. "The tent is a way to help accommodate displaced and homeless people with temporary shelter," said Asher. "The Solar-Tent can go high end or low end and reminds me of those sleeping pods in Japanese airports," said Asher

Temporary shelter is a subject of particular interest for competition judge Todd Boyer. "This design really caught my attention," said Boyer. "I can see this Solar-Tent being used in situations where temporary shelter is needed and it is a design that we would find useful in our cities with homeless populations."

To view the winning entries from the 2015 International Aluminum Extrusion Student Design Competition, as well as the winning entries from past student and professional Design Competitions, visit

The ET Foundation will be inviting entries from both students and professionals for the 2016 International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition. Judging will take place in time to display winning entries at the aluminum extrusion industry's most respected educational event the Eleventh International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar-ET '16, scheduled for May 2-6, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Look for the Call for Entries for the 2016 Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition to be available in fall 2015. Visit for more information on ET '16 and visit for information as it becomes available regarding details for the 2016 Design Competition.

About the ET Foundation
The Extrusion Technology for Aluminum Profiles Foundation (ET Foundation) was established for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes to develop, promote, provide, and fund education and research related to aluminum extrusion processes and technologies. Through programs such as the International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition and the International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar and Exposition, the ET Foundation works to advance the knowledge and use of extruded aluminum profiles among academics, design and engineering professionals, as well as expand the expertise of aluminum extrusion industry professionals. For more information, contact the ET Foundation at 1000 N. Rand Road, Suite 214, Wauconda, Illinois 60084, USA, Visit the website at

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For more information please contact:

Nancy Molenda
Communications Manager
ET Foundation/AEC