Niner Engineers Tackle Deep Seated Challenge

Categories: General News

Building car carriers will be more efficient thanks to the hard work of a team of Niner Engineers. As part of their senior design project, the seniors worked with Charlotte-based Fontaine Modification over the last year to develop a device that will improve efficiency when removing seats from Freightliner MD 114SD and M2 trucks as they are converted for use as car carriers.

The  Senior Design Program brings together students and industrial partners to tackle real-world engineering projects over the students’ final two semesters. Each design group works to develop a solution and manufacture a prototype device aimed at factory deployment.

“Fontaine has participated in the Senior Design Program for several years, and it is always so interesting to see what the students come up with,” says Tyler Thomas, Fontaine Modification mechatronics engineer and one of the team advisors. “They approach challenges with a fresh perspective. This year’s team did a great job developing an effective design for us, and we’re looking forward to getting it into production.”

The team of seniors, Hank Doan, Grayson Ledford, Dorian Pallas, Alex Phan and Benjamin Rizza, developed and prototyped a device that quickly and easily removes seats from truck cabs after the truck roofs have been removed. The device then places the seats on the trucks’ frame rails while additional work is performed to prepare the vehicles for use as auto carriers. Using the device will make the seat-removal process more ergonomic and efficient for Fontaine Modification workers.

Now that the project is complete, Fontaine has taken the team’s final prototype and design documentation in-house to optimize it, and then will produce the equipment for use across its facilities that perform the car carrier modification.

Adapted from the original article in American Journal of Transportation.

Two seniors demonstrate device that quickly and easily removes seats from truck cabs after the truck roofs have been removed
Two seniors demonstrate device that quickly and easily removes seats from truck cabs after the truck roofs have been removed
Poster for Senior Design Project, Design of a Heavy-Duty Seat Transportation Seat Removal System