March 2018 ABeNotes

ABE Gives Back - March 2018

ABE participated in three more opportunities to help our neighbors through Food Finders Food Bank - once on February 16 (1:00 - 3:00 pm), again on Monday, February 19 (5:00 - 7:00 pm), and finally on Friday, March 9 (1:00 - 3:00 pm). Between the first two, we sorted and repacked over 10,000 pounds of meat! The meat that we sorted was in homes, and possibly on tables, within 2 weeks. Thank you Paul Lengemann, Grant Ricke, Yvonne Hardebeck, Katie Maish, Nikki Zimmerman, and Carol Weaver.


The Monday evening event was staffed almost exclusively by grad students and they represented us well. First they sorted and labeled about 25 cases of tuna - our pantry is not equipped to handle fresh seafood, but is more than happy to pass it along to pantries that are. Then they moved to frozen meat and the staff had to get a second supply out because they worked so fast! Using the Food Bank's calculations, the 2,669 pounds of meat would provide 2,224 meals. We were joined by a group from the Episcopal Student Association from the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Thank you Natalie Chin, Svenja Horn., Jinsha Li, Simon Ma, Sushant Mehan, Diana and Antonio Ramirez, Josept Revuelta (and his friend), Malithi Wickramathilaka, and Carol Weaver.


The March 9 work session saw participation by a group of 10, including Jeremy Garst, Olivia Murch, and Grant Ricke from the undergrad ranks; Paul Lengemann brought a friend (thanks, Harry!) along to represent the grad students; Larry Theller, our newest retiree, represented them well; and Katie Maish, Nikki Zimmerman, and Carol Weaver completed the group from the staff. Stacy Winter, a friend of Carol's, just comes out of the goodness of her heart. We sorted, labeled, and repackaged over 7,200 pounds of meat. Using the FFFB formula, that represents 6,000 meals.

We have been helping them gear up for the College of Agriculture Food Drive and will be transitioning to the first Friday of every quarter (April 6, July 6, October 5) for the rest of 2018. Please contact Carol if you are interested in helping out.

ABEGSA presents Meet the Dean

AgrAbility News - March 2018

The National AgrAbility Project had a display at the 2018 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky on February 14-17, 2018.  The display included AgrAbility brochures, AgrAbility publications, health and safety brochures, a Life Essentials John Deere tractor and lift, and an Action Track Stander power wheelchair.  AgrAbility staff, consultants, and volunteers staffed the display and answered questions from attendees from across the nation. 

The Indiana AgrAbility Project had a display at the 2018 Horticulture Congress at the Mariott East Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana on February 13-15, 2018.  The display included Indiana AgrAbility brochures, News Note newsletters, AgrAbility Harvest newsletters, Seedstock reprints, Gaining Ground reprints, beginning farmer and veteran farmer information, and examples of assistive technology for the garden and fruit/vegetable growers.

Indiana AgrAbility staffed a display at the 2nd Annual FED: Food Expo and Discussion in Hobart, Indiana at the County Line Orchard and Convention Hall.  The display included Indiana AgrAbility brochures, News Note newsletters, AgrAbility Harvest newsletters, Seedstock reprints, Gaining Ground reprints, beginning farmer and veteran farmer information, and examples of assistive technology for the garden and small farms.


Author: Stan Harlow
Event Date: February 12, 2018

Tuesday 13-Feb-2018, as I was leaving work, I heard the honking of Sandhill cranes flying somewhere in the sky.  Looking up, I saw about a dozen birds circling lazily around, honking as if to decide what to do next.  The temperature was above freezing, so they flew north.  While I watched, looking straight up, an airplane flew into my vision for an instant, blotting out all the birds from wing-tip to wing-tip.  Just as suddenly, the plane passed and the birds were still circling about, honking.  The building where I work stands in the approach path to the Purdue airport.  The birds flew into the approach at a height of about 1500 feet.  The landing air plane was around 600 feet high.  Instead of a terrible disaster from my perspective, the outcome was uneventful.  Your view of life depends on where you stand.

Purdue Student Soybean Innovation Competition Awards Ceremony

Purdue Student Soybean Innovation Competition Award Ceremony
March 21, 2018
Indianapolis Marriott North

3645 River Crossing Parkway
Indianapolis, IN  46240

Register online

Staff News - March 2018

Larry Theller retired from Purdue and ABE on Wednesday, February 28. Some of his grad students had a cake made to celebrate the occasion. Happy retirement, Larry! Who is that young man with Larry in the bottom-left pic?

Undergraduate News - March 2018

Seniors Complete Technical Design Review

On February 26th, the ABE senior class of Machine Systems Engineers, Environmental & Natural Resources Engineers, and Agricultural Systems Management students presented their capstone project designs to a panel of alumni, industry practitioners, faculty, staff, and graduate students.  These diverse reviewers get the students to reflect extensively upon their work and consider multiple aspects of how their project might impact users and society.  This gateway presentation concludes the ideation phase of the students’ projects.  Over the next five weeks, they will complete their prototypes, perform extensive evaluations, and finalize their recommendations for the specific projects.  Final presentations for the year will occur on April 19th at 1:30 in ABE.  Course instructors, Drs. Margaret Gitau, John Lumkes, and Bob Stwalley, ask that you please consider joining us for this historic final capstone event in old ABE!

Luke Price discusses his apparatus to collect 360Video data from operating agricultural equipment..


Caitlin Nelligan and Zifan Zhu explain their entry for the Indiana Soybean Contest.

Treg Beer, Andrew Bowling, and Paul Thieme present their entry for this year’s AgBot autonomous farm vehicle contest.

Bryce Kleiman, Chenxi Li, and Jinxia Yao preparing to present their work on the utilization of machine-collected data for existing mobile agricultural vehicle computer networks.


We were delighted to have a number of our alumni and industry friends back to evaluate their project designs. Thank you to: Kameryn Wright, Carol Stwalley, Daniel Skelton, Luke Schmit, Steve Reidel, Trevor Overstreet, Larry Loehr, Chuck Hinkle, Dale Gick, Suzie Delay,  Rebecca Crowl, Mike Cox, Kassie Coverdale, Louis Cassens, Jeff Cannaday, Bill Campbell, and John Brubaker, Several graduate students helped as well. Thank you Gabe Wilfong, Johann Vera, Femeena Pandara Valappil, Ronald Smith, Lawrence Sekaluvu, Diana Ramirez, Garret Pignotti, Marisol Pantoja, Sushant Mehan, James Marschand, Amanda Locker, Alex Johnson, Sneha Jha, Zackariah Horn, Sarah Daly, Grace Baldwin, and Mohamed Aboelnour,

Professors Field, Tormoehlen, and Saraswat also attended. Thanks to all!

ABE Special Project Team Completes the First Major Project in the Bechtel Innovation Design Center

A current team of seven undergraduate engineering students, under the direction of Dr. Robert Stwalley and ABE graduate student Tyler Field, has undertaken the challenge associated with the increased use and size of unmanned drones in all aspects of engineering and agriculture. The project team modified a 1/5-scale version of a radial, 9-cylinder, 4-stroke, internal combustion engine for use in larger payload drone applications to develop improved power output, as well as have simpler manufacturability.  The engine has been designed to run on a dynamometer and allow a comparison of the actual results to the theoretical power output from the original design. The team is currently manufacturing the modified design engine in the newly opened Bechtel Innovation Design Center, where they have access to CNC mills and lathes, as well as 5-axis machining capabilities.  Multiple undergraduate students utilize the Bechtel Center for project work, but Dr. Stwalley’s team consisted of several students already working there.  This ‘head-start’ allowed the group to complete the crankcase for the engine as the first major student-machined piece finished in the new center. The crankcase, assembled with some other engine components is shown below (left), along with the beginning of the machining of the master connecting rod for the engine.  The fall 2017 team consisted of:  Jacob Carson, Jake Piekarski, Daniel Schillizzi, and Clark Tow.  The spring 2018 team is:  Jared Borg, Jonathan Bruce, Jacob Carson, Joseph Gervasio, Jake Piekarski, Jarod Throckmorton, and Joshua Walker.


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