MECH ENG 4142B - Design Project Part B

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

The aim of the project is to provide solutions to engineering problems related to industry or to school research, with a primary emphasis on engineering design. Students will be taught and learn through self directed research the engineering issues of personnel and resource management, project and business management, risk management and the legal aspects pertaining to engineering businesses. The course will cover the principles of quality management and continual improvement, including: Justification for quality management and continual improvement, Overview of quality management system types, TQM, Lean Systems and The Six-Sigma Process, Advanced Product Quality Planning, Design Failure Mode Effect Analysis (DFMEA), Process Failure Mode Effect Analysis (PFMEA), Design Verification Plan and Report (DVP&R) and Case Studies.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 4142B
    Course Design Project Part B
    Coordinating Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 9
    Contact Up to 48 hours lectures, 20 hours individual supervision, 180 hours project
    Course Description The aim of the project is to provide solutions to engineering problems related to industry or to school research, with a primary emphasis on engineering design. Students will be taught and learn through self directed research the engineering issues of personnel and resource management, project and business management, risk management and the legal aspects pertaining to engineering businesses. The course will cover the principles of quality management and continual improvement, including: Justification for quality management and continual improvement, Overview of quality management system types, TQM, Lean Systems and The Six-Sigma Process, Advanced Product Quality Planning, Design Failure Mode Effect Analysis (DFMEA), Process Failure Mode Effect Analysis (PFMEA), Design Verification Plan and Report (DVP&R) and Case Studies.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr William Robertson

    EMPP Coordinator: Reza Ghomaschi
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the course, students should have sufficient knowledge to:

    1 Application of engineering management concepts to real world projects
    2 Evaluate incomplete, ambiguous, conflicting and contradictory information and logically devise project outcomes
    3 Analyse and differentiate project constraints and opportunities and determine solution approaches which minimise risk
    4 Demonstrate an ability to 'see the bigger picture' (systems thinking) and articulate appropriate solutions in situations of uncertainty
    5 Demonstrate an ability to work in small teams and deliver robust deliverables within a time and resource constrained environment
    6 Students will be introduced to new tools, technologies and techniques related to real world project engineering
    7 Demonstrate an ability to interpret and distinguish between relevant information and uncertainty
    8 Students will be expected to work productively ('get the job done') and cohesively ('achieve consensus') in small groups in a timely ('efficient and self organising') manner
    9 Demonstrate an understanding of the wider risks and opportunities ('systems thinking') related to professional engineering
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3,4
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 7
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 8
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 9
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Managing in excess of 250 students, 200 potential projects and 25 supervisors is time consuming and logistically difficult. Consequently a custom web-based database was developed. Staff can enter project information using an online proforma, and manage students who wish to undertake the project. Students can view project information, what special skills might be needed, and who is currently selected for the project. The database also serves as a repository for electronic copies of the theses (final reports) and posters (presented at MechExpo) for the benefit of future students. For more information on the database, please see:

    It is essential that the information on this database remains up to date as it is used as a feed to populate the booklets for the seminar and MechExpo.

    Recommended Resources

    The following book contains useful advice on planning and carrying out a student project:

    • The Management of a Student Research Project, Howard, K. & Sharp, J.A. (1983), Aldershot: Gower. (Copies are available in the School Library and in the Barr Smith Library.)

    The following electronic resources will also be available for download through MyUni.

    Online Learning

    Students will be provided access to the lecture notes, recordings of lectures, assignments and reference material from MyUni.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Teaching Method

    Weekly meeting with supervisors, preparation of oral and written presentations. Workshops throughout the year to assist in the management of the project and its deliverables.


    The supervisor's role is to provide advice and guidance, and to ensure that the project proceeds in a fruitful direction. You should not expect your supervisor to do your thinking for you, or to tell you exactly what to do. You are expected to generate your own ideas, to seek out information for yourself, and to make your own decisions about what to do and how to do it. You should make arrangements with your supervisor for WEEKLY CONSULTATIONS at which progress may be reported, discussed and assessed. All workshop drawings must be countersigned by your supervisor before submission to the workshop.


    Students will be expected to weekly workshops and lectures in order to be able to complete the required EMPP coursework within their own (extra curricula) time.

    Students will complete EMPP assignments within their final year project groups with most assignments contributing directly to their FYP deliverables. Students, in their FYP groups, will act out integrated project team roles for each assignment so that they can relate the lessons of the course to real-world applications and examples.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Time Management

    Design and research always take longer than you first imagine. It cannot be rushed, so don't leave it all until the week before the submission deadlines. What you get out of the project will be directly related to the effort you put into it. Each of you is expected to put in a minimum of 360 (45hrs/point by 8 point subject) effective hours on the project, that’s over a day/week including mid-semester breaks; the proportions of time and effort spent on other parts of the course should reflect their relative importance.

    Clearly you will need to manage your time efficiently - and will have to learn to juggle several activities simultaneously. Do not use projects as an excuse for not getting on with some other parts of the course. If there are serious clashes see your supervisor as soon as possible.

    Procedure for Projects with External Clients
    1. Meet with client in week one to discuss the project, view the plant/facilities and meet and get to know your contact person.
    2. Think about the problem and refine the task specification with the client's and supervisor's help. The specification is extremely important as it clarifies and quantifies what has to be achieved and within what boundaries. Also draw up a schedule of the activities for the project, with deadlines.
    3. When you have a clear understanding of the problem use literature search and lateral thinking to formulate a number of possible solutions. Evaluate each solution in terms of pros and cons, remembering function, cost, ease of manufacture, reliability, safety and the environment. These solutions form part of the preliminary report and you will present them, with your recommendations, to the client.
    4. After discussion with client and supervisor, one or two solutions are then chosen for more detailed analysis and testing during the remainder of the project. Regular consultations should be arranged with the client.

    In sponsored projects the supply of any hardware is the client's responsibility.


    Students will be challenged to complete the EMPP assignments within the real world constraints of completing final year subjects and their FYP. Effort equivalent to a 3 point subject loading will be expected of students to complete EMPP assignments to at least a pass standard.

    To ensure the workload between groups and students working on individual projects is balanced the assignments are structured appropriately. Students concerned with work overload, particularly those working on individual projects, are encouraged to seek clarification from the EMPP coordinator earlier rather than later if they feel that any assignment is likely to cause an issue.

    Learning Activities Summary

    Final Year Project Workshops

    There will be a series of workshops organised throughout the year to assist the students in managing their project and meeting the deliverables. Topics of the workshops include:

    • Project expectations and organisation
    • Reference search and literature review tutorial (organised by the Library)
    • OH&S and Risk Assessments
    • Intellectual Property and Good Practice Workbooks
    • Project planning including, creating a Gantt chart as well as strategic decisions and resulting consequences in project development
    • Design and technical drawing for manufacture
    • Report writing
    • Seminar presentation
    • Organisation of exhibition
    • Poster presentation
    Literature Search

    An essential part of the Preliminary Report is a critical survey of existing published material relating to your project investigation. This involves locating, reading and analysing the relevant material.

    To help you locate such material a Literature Search Tutorial will be arranged with the Engineering Course Librarian, Barr Smith Library, at a time and date to be advised. You will be required to assemble at the Barr Smith Library Information Desk at the appointed time.

    When writing your reports you need to use a standard and consistent referencing system. You can use the SA Uni guide "Referencing using the Harvard system (author-date system)" which is available online at:


    EMPP will be taught as a series of intensive workshops (Semester One and Two) on Project Management and Risk Management, and a series of lectures in Semester Two.

    The Project Management and Risk Management intensives will cover:

    • Project Management and Risk Management, with a focus on Project Charter preparation
    • Problem solving
    • Progress reports
    • Skills for change management
    • Benefit management
    • Communication with impact
    • Project Completion Report
    • Post Implementation Review

    The Semester Two lectures will cover:

    • Financial Accounting
    • Business for Engineers
    • Marketing for Engineers
    • Human Resource Management
    • Ethics
    • Law for Engineers

    Students will be expected to conduct self-paced assignment work equivalent to a maximum of approximately 4 hours for every 1 hour lecture.

    Students, at their discretion, may also need to undertake additional activities including independent research, or by seeking clarification of assignment issues and deliverables via communications with the EMPP course coordinator or lecturers.

    Specific Course Requirements
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    The assessment is split 67% to the Project and 33% to EMPP.

    Project assessment is comprised of written, oral and visual forms of communication. This is comprised of:

    Preliminary Report 25
    Public Seminar 25
    MechExpo 25
    Final Report 80
    Student performance 15
    Project Outcomes 30
    Subtotal 200

    EMPP is assessed entirely through coursework composed of project-related deliverables plus independent assignments. The EMPP marks constitute 1/3 of the final Design Project course marks. The assessable items are listed below:

    Project Charter and Management Plan 20
    Progress Reports 1 to 4 10
    Project Completion Report and Post-Implementation Review 20
    Law Assignment 10
    Accounting Assignment 10
    Human Resources Assignment 10
    Business and Ethics Assignment 10
    Workbooks Assessment 7.5
    Library workshop attendance 2.5
    Subtotal 100

    All assessment, with the exception of the Preliminary Report (a predominantly formative assessment), Student Achievements and the Workbooks, are assessed by at least two staff members. The Final Report (typical of a traditional honours thesis) and Project Outcomes are assessed by the supervisor and another academic staff member not related to the project. If the two staff cannot agree on a mark, then this goes to a third staff member to moderate.

    Assessment of the Public Seminar is undertaken by a panel of at least 4 staff members. It is conducted like a conference, spanning three days in two parallel sessions. 

    The assessment of MechExpo (the project exhibition) is conducted by both academics and external judges. The external judges consist of practicing engineers, patent attorneys, managers and entrepreneurs. Each project would be typically assessed by at least 8 assessors. The assessment if the external judges and academics are similar to within 10%. MechExpo is characterised by intense and enthusiastic competition for the prizes for excellence that are sponsored by local industry.

    Note 1:

    The deadlines will be strictly enforced with the appropriate penalties.

    Note 2:

    All written reports must be handed in both in hard copy to the School Office and electronically via Turnitin. The written documents will incur a 5% penalty for each day late.

    Note 3:

    Other deadlines will result in a penalty of 1% if late. No exceptions will be made under any circumstances. Deductions will be made against Student Achievements. If the deadline for submission of the abstract is missed, then your abstract will not appear in the book of abstracts.

    Note 4:

    At least TWO COPIES of the Final Report must be submitted (one copy for each supervisor and second copy for the School). These only need to be in black and white unless the supervisor recommends otherwise. For the Preliminary Report, only a single copy needs to be submitted unless otherwise requested by supervisor(s) or sponsor.

    Note 5:

    Technical drawings must be supplied to the mechanical workshop before the end of week 11 in order to provide adequate time for construction. Drawing submission must be preceded by a preliminary design review and critical design review phases.

    Note 6:

    In an attempt to encourage a focus on quality, rather than quantity, a word limit has been set in place for all reports. The number of pages allowed is as follows:

    • Preliminary report: 4000*(n+1) pages, where n is the number of students in the group.
    • Final report: 5000*(n+1) pages, where n is the number of students in the group.

    The page limit does not include frontmatter including title page, acknowledgements, table of content, and so on, nor does it include backmatter including references, appendices, etc.

    Self and Peer Assessment

    In groups of more than two students, self and peer assessment is used to redistribute the marks according the effort and outcomes achieved by individuals. For more information please see the discussion in the appendix as well as the Self and Peer Assessment Form. These forms should be used on all group assessed components except the seminar presentations and the exhibition.

    Assessment Quality Assurance

    The traditional model of an honours project in Engineering in Australia is for students to work as individuals on a research-based project, and the main assessment is the final thesis. This differs a considerably from the model employed in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, where the final thesis, although still the largest individual assessment, only accounts for 40% of the final mark awarded for the course. In addition, group projects are actively encouraged and research-based projects typically only account for 20% of projects, with the majority being of the form of design, build, test and evaluate. Despite the significant differences in assessed deliverables, in 2009 the School was involved in a program to benchmark the quality of the assessment of the final theses. This involved exchanging ten theses, representing each decile from the annual cohort, with an engineering school at another Group of Eight (sandstone) university that employed a traditional research based assessment. The theses were then assessed based on supplied marking criteria. Moderated marks were on average within 2% of the mark awarded by the source institution.

    Assessment Related Requirements

    Lecture and tutorial attendance is compulsory. While formal records of attendance will not be captured (professional behaviour equates to trust) there will be hints and tips related to the assignments that will only be available during the lectures / tutorials.

    Students will need to cope with incomplete and conflicting information and to make judgements which demonstrate professional, ethical and logical behaviours. The time constraints of this course, compared to actually working as a graduate engineer in a multi-disciplinary role, limit the amount of detailed deliverables students can deliver. Quality of deliverables is far more important than quantity. 'Less is more'.

    Students will primarily be assessed on their ability to think and act professionally and to demonstrate initiative as reflected in the quality of their deliverables. Students are advised to approach this course as if it was an extended job interview. Don't hesitate to ask questions. ('In a learning environment there are no wrong questions')

    Students are also required to provide an assessment of the contribution of their own and their group members’ contribution to each assignment. This peer review may be used to alter group marks to reflect a greater or lesser contribution by an individual to an assignment. Further information will be provided as each assignment is issued.

    Assessment Detail

    Listed below are some of the factors which will be considered in the assessment

    1. Report Presentation

    1.1. Organisation and structure
    1.2. Layout
    1.3. Clarity
    1.4. Completeness
    1.5. English expression; grammar; punctuation
    1.6. Drawings, diagrams and graphs
    1.7. Errors and proof reading 
    1.8. Reference format 
    1.9. Workbook

    2. Approach to Project

    2.1. Systematic approach
    2.2. Information search
    2.3. Identification of problem
    2.4. Quantification of problem
    2.5. Attitude to supervision
    2.6. Attendance at the Level IV project workshops

    3. Design Approach (where applicable)

    3.1. Literature survey
    3.2. Innovation  
    3.3. Detail design
    3.4. Design synthesis

    4. Research Approach (where applicable)

    4.1. Literature survey
    4.2. Theoretical basis
    4.3. Experiment design
    4.4. Experimental technique

    5. Deductive Ability

    5.1. Interpretation of results
    5.2. Correlation with theory
    5.3. Conclusions
    5.4. Significance and validity of findings
    5.5. Suggestions for future work

    6. Exhibition

    6.1. Brochure
    6.2. Quality of stand
    6.3. Clarity of information on stand
    6.4. Clarity of verbal explanations

    7. Seminar

    7.1. Presentation of seminar
    7.2. Content of presentation
    7.3. Discussion



    At least TWO COPIES of the Final Report must be submitted (one copy for each supervisor and second copy for the School). These only need to be in colour unless the supervisor recommends otherwise.


    All assessment requiring electronic submission must be submitted to both the Turnitin and ICC links provided under the Electronic Submission sidebar link on MyUni. For group reports, only one team member is required to perform the submission.


    Assessment for the Project Management portion on EMPP, comprising of the Project Charter, Progress Reports and the Project Completion Report are to be submitted electronically.

    Assignments for the other EMPP components are to be submitted as assignments in paper based format, in the EMPP marked drop box in the School of Mechanical Engineering, with an appropriate coversheet. Printed submissions are to be formatted in a professional manner. As a minimum assignments are to be on A4 size paper stapled top left with a standard coversheet. Formatting of documents shall be biased to enhance readability and no special binding is required. All assignments are to include the publishing date and either the group number and name, for group assignments, or the student name and student ID in the header of each page. The page number and page count is to be included in the footer of each page. This requirement will be discussed further as each assignment is issued. The hard copies will be marked and handed back with a marking rubric sheet which explains the breakdown of marks and summarises the markers comments. Copies of the marking rubric sheets will be available on MyUni as each assignment is issued.

    Late submissions will incur a 10% penalty per day. Students may request an extension to any EMPP assignment provided reasonable notice is provided to the EMPP coordinator via email correspondence. Substantial leniency is provided to students who can demonstrate professional behaviour expected of a graduate engineer. Leaving things to the last minute or forgetfullness are not considered professional behaviour.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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