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RIT Industrial Engineering Students Develop Solutions for ArcWorks

May 16, 2024
The students developed multiple proposals for the integrated manufacturer operated by The Arc of Monroe

ROCHESTER, NY - ArcWorks, a world class contract manufacturer operated by The Arc of Monroe, prides itself on quality customer satisfaction and on-time delivery. The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at RIT strives to give its students real world experience.

Bring the two together, and you’ve got a winning combination.

This past semester, ArcWorks welcomed three RIT student-led projects related to industrial and systems engineering to improve processes at the facility. The three projects – capstone, time studies/standards, and facilities planning – were used to develop solutions and proposals for ArcWorks that they might be incorporated into the facility in future. After the semester-long project, they presented the findings to the ArcWorks team.

ArcWorks is an integrated facility that provides job opportunities for people with and without disabilities. It supports customers across Monroe County and throughout the United States with various services like medical and pharmaceutical laboratory and sterilization services, electromechanical assembly, low to high volume kitting in cleanroom and non-cleanroom, machine packaging and hand packaging and order fulfillment.

The three projects were supervised by Adjunct Jennifer Englert, from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering who oversaw Engineering Capstone; Lecturer Anthony DiVasta from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; and Volunteer/Retired Engineer John Kaemmerlen.

The students are positioning themselves to be industrial engineers, change agents, and organizational leaders. According to RIT, an industrial engineering degree “provides students with the skills to optimize, design, and manage the operational and manufacturing processes by which goods are made and distributed, and services are provided efficiently.”

DiVasta said the staff at ArcWorks needed help in several different areas. “Looking at a facilities/layout perspective, we wanted to figure out how to improve flow and make any recommendations for the assembly process,” he said.

The students toured ArcWorks, came back for measurements and then created the lab activity to work on for the semester. They spent the entire semester working on elements of the project including strategic point of view, understanding the personnel, and then presenting solutions with all that in mind.

“It’s really beneficial for the students to have an actual client,” said DiVasta. “Their thought process was different. There’s more professionalism and more ownership to deliver a project to a real customer. This isn’t a scenario coming out of a textbook or just for a grade. This will really impact real people’s lives, so it has more significance and meaning to the students.”

Kaemmerlen said working with people with IDD wasn’t new to most of his students, and that they adapted easily.

“The students had an understanding that they needed to be flexible and accommodating,” he said. “It’s great for students to have these experiences. Probably many of them never envision a manufacturing facility like this – that people can do this. It’s a learning experience.”

He said he hopes this partnership continues, and the fact that ArcWorks signed up for three different experiences says a lot. “I think that was incredible,” he said. "They welcomed in students working on their capstone, time studies/standards, and facilities planning.”

“We enjoyed having them here,” said Mike Catalano, who oversees ArcWorks and is vice president of business operations at The Arc. “They brought a wealth of knowledge; it’s a win for both sides.”

“It is impressive what the students were able to pull just in the short time here,” said Rob Wallner, manager of planning/warehouse and logistics. “Just the variations and ideas they had for the production floor and warehouse were an awesome resource. Having a fresh set of eyes is invaluable for us. The bits and pieces we can pull from each presentation is going to improve production and moving material around.”

Manufacturing Engineer Manager Lucas Relkin agrees. “Everyone from RIT was awesome to work with,” he said. “With only one engineer at ArcWorks, we don’t always have the time to step back to view it from above. Having new ideas to run with was one of the most helpful pieces.”


About The Arc of Monroe
The Arc of Monroe has been working passionately for nearly 70 years to enhance the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc shines a light on the abilities of the people it supports – over 1,500 people in 40 locations throughout Monroe County. As an organization with over 800 employees, The Arc is committed to supporting the local economy by being a partner and collaborator that aids in the economic development of the Monroe County community. Learn more at


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