Coming up with a great idea is one thing, but patenting it is another. In 2018, Chris Grove ’05 and a coworker, Mike McDonald, patented an idea they developed at Volvo Construction Equipment in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. The vibration isolation idea is designed for use with Volvo’s vibratory soil and asphalt compactors. It reduces vibration that travels from the drum to the rest of the machine.
“I’m excited about the patent because it’s a long process. Volvo has to figure out if it’s worth pursuing a patent, and then there’s another long process to actually get the patent,” Grove said.
As a design engineer on the large soil compaction design team, Grove’s responsibilities include generating CAD models and drawings for new designs, offering design input for coworkers, running tests on prototype machines and troubleshooting.
“Our computer systems sometimes give us errors, and it can become a challenge to maintain motivation in the face of this,” he said. “Oftentimes, all of the tests, checks and discussions slow even the simplest of changes down and so I really cherish the times when I get to see one of my designs make it into production.”
Grove credits the engineering program at Messiah for providing him with a solid foundation for his career. One person who was instrumental in his academic pursuit is Associate Professor of Engineering Timothy Van Dyke.
“His classes were quite challenging, but he was able to present difficult material in a way that made sense,” Grove said. “I was always amazed how he was able to quickly clarify someone’s confusion in a way that made sense to them based on how they asked a question.”
His advice for future engineering students? Get as much hands-on experience as possible.
“If you have the tools and facilities, doing your own work on your car or any other piece of equipment gives invaluable knowledge,” Grove said. “I find that most engineers that I know have the strong urge to take everything apart just to see how it works.”
— Leanne Tan ’21