Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology Society Visits WestPack and Tours SpaceX

Cal Poly Industrial Technology Society Visits SpaceX

Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology Society, a club that helps connect students with the industry community, recently traveled to Southern California to visit the Advanced Manufacturing Expo/WestPack and tour SpaceX. During this trip, students were able to see the newest technologies being used in the industry and connect with companies and professionals.

First on their trip, Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology Society visited the Advanced Manufacturing Expo/WestPack, a convention that hosts over 20,000 engineers, executives and suppliers to present the latest cutting-edge technology in design and manufacturing. Throughout the expo, students explored a wide variety of industries, including supply chain software, medical component manufacturing and packaging equipment, and established connections with leading industry professionals and companies. They also had the opportunity to view demonstrations of new and innovative technologies, such as medical grade 3D printing.

After the convention, students visited SpaceX and were given a tour of the mission control center and production facility. On the first part of the tour, students explored SpaceX’s headquarters and saw an actual pod that had been to space, as well as the first rocket to perform a vertical takeoff and landing. Next, students were given a special viewing of the production facilities where rockets are built, tested, and inspected. Here, students were able to see rocket engines, octopod final assembly, composite layup, and more. At the end of the tour, students had the opportunity to network with SpaceX recruiters to gain an inside perspective of working at SpaceX and to learn more about their available positions.

Cal Poly Teams Take Place Second in Flexible Packaging Design Competition

Two teams of Cal Poly students tied for second place in a national packaging challenge held by the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). Students competing in the competition submitted flexible, plastic packaging desigFlexible Packaging Competition Entry 1ns for products aimed at satisfying consumer demands for convenient and easy-to-use packaging.

Chris Childers, Ben Harris, Samantha Kin, Kellie Meyer and Huyen Nguyen comprised the first interdisciplinary team of Cal Poly students, designing a chicken breast strainer for the competition. Their product featured a vacuum package that allows for the drainage of excess chicken juice from the package without speaking bacteria. The package material itself was made of barrier polymers with an easy-to-use straining element, allowing the product to be used with either frozen or defrosted chicken. Aside from the flexible package itself, the students also developed an innovative flexographic printing solution that allowed the full label to be printed with only one pass through the printer.

Flexible Packaging Competition Entry 2The second interdisciplinary team of Cal Poly students, including Cole Cressman, Victoria Hanna, Tyler Harwood and Carrie Sauer, created a design called Precise Rice, a complete meal system that allows customers to prepare, consume and store a single serving of rice in one container. The package itself has a high heat deflection barrier and properties with low water absorption, which allow for the product to have extended storage and a long shelf life.

The students participated in the competition as a part of the IT 341 class taught by Professor Ajay Kathruia. Each team will review a $500 reward for their second place victory in the competition. For more information on the competition, visit the competition’s press release.

IT 407 Projects On Sale

Industrial technology and packaging students in the Orfalea College of Business are selling unique gifts just in time for the holidays.

Cal Poly’s industrial technology and packaging capstone course, IT 407: Applied Business Operations, empowers teams of students to explore the full spectrum of product design, manufacturing and sales. Across a 10-week course, students must invent a unique product, prototype their design, invest in raw materials, standardize manufacturing, produce 80 to 100 units, market the product, and sell all units.

Grill n’ Chill
The Grill n’ Chill is an outdoor bbq caddie that includes food storage space, a cutting board, a spice rack, a bottle opener and beverage holder in one convenient tray that will assist you when grilling your food. Learn more and purchase at

Hitch Hider
The Hitch Hider is hide-a-key that is locked to your trailer hitch with a combination locking pin that fits most all standard sized hitches at 2″x2″. The design plate features aesthetic options, including the Cal Poly logo! Learn more and purchase at

Tee Mate
The Tee Mate is the premier golf tee, ball marker, divot tool, and scoring pencil organizer made from aluminum. Never start a game of golf without enough tees again! Learn more and purchase at

Uncapped is a new take on the traditional bottle opener with a few innovative tweaks using high quality stainless steel and African Mahogany. Powerful magnets have been embedded into the wood to catch falling caps and allows the device to be mounted onto a variety of surfaces such as your fridge.

Cal Poly Students Win Paperboard Packaging Alliance Student Design Challenge

A team of Cal Poly students took first place at the Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) Student Design Challenge. Cal Poly’s team won the competition after presenting its design to a panel of industry experts at PACKEXPO, held Sept. 28-30 in Las Vegas.

PPA challenged university teams from across the U.S. and Canada to create limited-edition, innovative toy packaging that could also be reused as an interactive structure with the toy. Cal Poly’s winning team came first out of 53 entries with a Star Wars light saber toy that extended and collapsed from the handle. The team also carefully considered price point, the target audience and efficient material usage in their marketing plan for the product.

The team included four students from Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business: business administration majors Alyssa Harben (Auburn) and Griffin Meinken (Windsor), economics major Michael Udinski (Pleasanton), and industrial technology major Austin Turner (Atherton). The team was awarded $5,000 in cash, along with a $5,000 gift to Cal Poly’s Packaging Program to improve student labs.

Cal Poly students developed their projects as part of an IT 408: Paper and Paperboard Packaging course taught by Javier de la Fuente, an assistant professor of packaging.

“This is the first time Cal Poly has taken the top spot in this challenge, facing very stiff competition,” de la Fuente said. “These projects really show the synergy between marketing and packaging, and I’m incredibly proud of all of our projects.”

Another team of Cal Poly students earned an honorable mention in the competition for their packaging design for a Lego Movie board game. The team included industrial technology majors Catlin Khamashta (Jackson) and Jonathan Molnar (San Diego), business administration majors Josephina Ma (Carson), Jennifer Block (La Jolla) and Trevor Smith (Orange), and art and design major Doug Huynh (San Jose).

Winners were chosen by a team of paperboard packaging industry professionals who rated submissions based on their response to the competition scenario, innovative structural and graphic design, functionality, and quality of the finished product.

For more information about the PPA Student Design Challenge, visit

Pictured: Griffin Meinken, Michael Udinski, Professor Javier de la Fuente, Alyssa Harben and Austin Turner at the PPA Student Design Challenge.

Cal Poly Student Teams Place High at National Packaging Design Competition

Ameristart Award Winning Designs

(Clockwise from top left) Contact Solution and Lens Case; Ergonomic Pill Bottle; EZ Pour Funnel; No Mess-Scara

Four Cal Poly student teams placed high in the recent Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) AmeriStar Packaging Awards Competition.

The teams developed consumer packaging designs for health, beauty, pharmaceutical and other products through the Orfalea College of Business Packaging Fundamentals courses.

A Cal Poly team earned second place in the student competition for its design of an all-in-one contact lens case and solution bottle. The product was designed by business administration majors Kevin Chiu of Fremont, Rachel King of Granite Bay, Elaine Cohen of San Luis Obispo, and Rachel Berman of San Diego. In the design, the contact lens case sits directly above the bottle of solution, and a one-way straw delivers the solution to the lenses by simply squeezing the bottle.

Cal Poly students Mariah Barnum, a business administration major from Loomis; Tyler Beaty, a business administration major from San Diego; Arek Boloyan, an industrial technology major from El Cerrito; Scott Burbach, a business administration major from Mission Viejo; and Kathryn Cassidy, a graphic communications major from Santa Clarita, won third place for their redesign of a pill bottle that is both childproof and ergonomically designed for those with arthritis. By requiring palm strength to open, the bottle reduces stress on the wrist joint.

Two other teams from Cal Poly earned honorable mentions. Taylor Crump, a journalism major from Elk Grove, Rachel Day, a graphic communications major from Bonsall (San Diego County), Galen Dresser, a business administration major from San Luis Obispo, Sean Gorman, an industrial technology major from Atascadero, and Jonathan Han, an industrial technology major from Napa, developed the No-Mess-Scara, a flexible mascara bottle and wand that prevents clumps. Business students Aline Schmitz of Carlsbad, Jordan Sligh of Atascadero, Stephen Smail of Copperopolis (Calaveras County), Devadasi Stuart of San Luis Obispo, and Blake Tillery of McMinnville, Ore., also earned honorable mention for the EZ Pour Funnel, a sleeve-style plastic funnel built into the packaging of a standard motor oil bottle.

Cal Poly packaging Professors Javier de la Fuente and Koushik Saha advised the student teams throughout the year on their projects.