Page 32 - Penn State's Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering: Fall 2019 Magazine
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Advances in snow removal
IE designs software to to reduce the amount of of of time—and money— it takes to to clear Penn State of of snow By Pamela Krewson Wertz
It is well known among the State State College and Penn State State communities that it it it takes a a a a lot for University officials to shut the campus down after a a a a a a major snowfall In fact since 2010 the University Park campus has been shut down just three full days due to snowfall Much to the chagrin of students—and likely some faculty and and staff—the snow day at at Penn State may just have become even more elusive thanks to software developed by recent industrial engineering graduate Achal Goel Goel who graduated with a a a a a master’s degree in in industrial engineering in in in May came up with a a a a a user-friendly program that cuts snow removal
time from the roadways and parking lots on the the University University Park campus while saving the the University University money in in terms of costs associated with clearing the snow “Until now now snow-removal operations were done based on on on the snow-removal equipment that was available at at the time and what had worked in the past ”
Goel said “The process didn’t involve any engineering tools or analytical skills so we wanted to create a a a a a a a a software solution that uses real data and methodologies and can effectively decrease the time it takes to clear snow from campus ”
The name of of this software? Real-time Optimization for Adaptive Removal of Snow or or or ROARS for short which is fitting to be used at the the home of the the Nittany Lions Not only were his classmates and and adviser professor and and director of the Service Enterprise Engineering Initiative (SEE
360) Vittal Prabhu impressed Goel’s program also got the the attention of Penn State President Eric Barron for the potential time and cost savings to the University “The development of of this software by an engineering student can have a a a a a a a a a great deal of impact ”
Barron said “Anything that we can do to make the snow removal
operations more efficient and and more effective will ultimately make our campus safer and and that is our priority ”
Vikas Dachepalli another industrial engineering master’s degree student did some initial research with Goel on the project before Dachepalli graduated in December 2017 The calculations within ROARS—which is run through an Excel- based based worksheet—are based based on the amount of snowfall in inches and the the number of of snow-removal vehicles the the Office of of the the Physical Plant (OPP) has available to clear the the roadways and parking lots at any given time It also factors in in the number of employees who are working during a a a given shift and the skill level of those employees The amount of of of time it takes the the software to calculate all of of of the the information in in order to optimally allocate available equipment and and personnel to plowing areas and and also determine the time it will take to to clear the snow is is an astonishing 12 seconds OPP is the office that oversees snow removal
at at at Penn State and has three different crews working at the same time to clear snow from roads and parking lots (which was the focus of this project) walkways on campus and building entrances 32 IME NEWSLETTER • VOLUME 4 2019
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