In the fall semester, three SUNY Oswego students collaborated with Marquardt Switches in Cazenovia on a variety of projects supporting the company's efficiency and their own problem-solving skills.

Software engineering major Sean Schukraft and information science majors Ahmad Black and Matthew Olmeda -- then all seniors working on their capstone projects -- appreciated the opportunity, made possible by computer science faculty member Bastian Tenbergen. It's an example of the university working with generous industry partners.

"So at the beginning of the semester I was still deciding what I wanted to do my capstone on and then Professor Bastian came to us and asked if anyone was interested and he said there's a company called Marquardt and they're looking for an interface," Schukraft recalled. "I said, well that sounds cool."

"When I looked them up and realized how big it was and how much human interaction and things that I can get outside of a normal project from it, I had to do it," Olmeda said.

"It was too good to pass up," Black explained. "It was a chance to really work with an actual company and get some well real-life experience in this field. And it's very interesting to say the least. It's been a great experience."

"Marquardt has been the easiest partner to work with so far in my 12 years of doing projects like this," Tenbergen noted.

"So I'm developing an interface for them and it's based on the web and basically it's going to allow factory workers to input data much faster and it's gonna save a lot of time process for the engineers," Schukraft said.

Black and Olmeda teamed up for a data-driven project that examined efficiency from a different angle.

"Essentially what we do is we take in the data that is gathered from operators and floor workers and we take in that data and then we turn it into comparable graphs," Black said.

"So that way when they look at it it's not just a bunch of numbers, they can just see a graph and say, oh we have a 50 percent downtime or something like that," Olmeda said. (Such a long downtime would not be expected.)

"So essentially we're just cutting out a lot of that middle ground and just doing all the calculations," Black said.

"As soon as you have that external partner and an appropriately scoped project, the value for the students and for the partner goes up dramatically," Tenbergen said. "It's a lot more effort, but it's invaluable to do."

"A lot of hands-on experience that I would've never got otherwise," Olmeda said. "And just a lot of advice from a really good teacher."

"It was very interesting to get essentially told this is great, try this," Black said. "This is nice, but can you make it more like this? I'm just really fitting a product of someone's preferences and creating a more interesting thing that's more tailored to the customer in question."

"So at SUNY Oswego we have a very very significant and very long history of successful projects where we move things directly into the industry such that our partners can immediately benefit from this," Tenbergen said.

Marquardt provides high-quality, innovative switching products to the global automotive, power tool and appliance switch markets. The company is customer-focused, quality-minded and driven to excellence by outstanding employees.