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IPRO Team led by INTM Instructor Wins Business Innovation Award

IIT Fall '15 IPRO Business Innovation Winners

IIT Interprofessional Projects (IPROs) are required "hands-on" courses, that enagage every IIT student in solving a real business, social, or technology problem.   Many projects are sponsored by companies and organizations seeking student input regarding their specific challenges.  INTM faculty oversee several IPRO projects which directly relate to their expertise in industry.  At the end of every semester, IIT hosts an IPRO Day in which interdisciplinary student teams present their projects to volunteer judges from various sectors in industry and education, and the best project teams receive awards.  The IPRO program gives awards for Technological, Social, and Business Innovation.

The winner of the Fall 2015 Business Innovation Award was IPRO 497-2140, Developing Insights into IIT Electrical & Utility Vault Design, Water Leakage and Corrosion to Improve Energy Efficiency and Reduce Cost, facilitated by INTM Adjunct Professor, Dr. Dan Tomal.  This project involved conducting an energy/utility investigation and analysis of select IIT utility vaults to identify areas of energy inefficiency, issues with design, and causes of corrosion that lead to high energy consumption and ongoing maintenance costs.  The work centered on several different types of vaults: (1) steam or district heating vaults; (2) chilled water or cooling distribution vaults; (3) electrical cable vaults; (4) electrical switchgear vaults; and (5) telecommunication vaults.  IPRO sponsors, Consumers Power & Light, and the IIT Office of Campus Energy & Sustainability (OCES), guided the team in analyzing possible causes of problems such as levels of liquid infiltration, pipe and insulation deterioration, cable faults, and electrical component corrosion and failure. The students then presented creative, environmentally conscious and economically viable solutions to improve system and maintenance inefficiencies and reduce both maintenance and energy costs.

This project was selected for its thorough documentation of the root causes of the problems in the IIT utility vaults, and its proposed application of different engineering and economic solutions.  This IPRO was open to students from INTM as well as other IIT disciplines including Architectural Engineering, Business, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Information Technology & Management, Materials Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

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