Field Trip: CMC Rescue

Last Friday, the Providence Engineering Academy was given the opportunity to visit CMC Rescue in Goleta. CMC Rescue designs, tests, manufactures, and assembles a wide range of safety and climbing gear, such carabiners, pulleys, harnesses and rope. The class was warmly received by Tyler Mayer, their Engineering Manager, along with several other members of the engineering team.

The Providence Engineering Academy meets with Tyler (far left) in the
conference room; Eva (far right) looks over the latest CMC pulley design

After being introduced in the conference room, and letting the students look over some new products, Tyler and the team brought the students backstage into the testing area. Safety glasses on!

The CMC team had arranged for a live materials tensile test, giving our students a chance to see some real design work in action. A bright red 1/2″ rope was wrapped securely around two ends of a testing rig, and a hydraulic ram was used to stretch it to the breaking point. To make it more exciting, the students were asked to guess how far the rope would stretch before breaking, and mark it on the machine. They also wrote down how much tensile load they thought it would take.

Students watch the rope being pulled to breaking–note the acrylic shield between
the students and the test specimen!

We’re proud to say that Jake in 11th Grade won in both categories, with a ridiculously long length marked off and a tensile load guess of 2,500 lb (more than 11,000 newtons, for us international types). The actual tensile breaking load was around 3,800 lb, which is the weight of a small car! Isabelle, also in 11th Grade, was a close second in the load category at 2,222 lb, so Jake and Isabelle were rewarded with their very own heavy-duty CMC Rescue carabiner—with their name engraved on it by the CMC laser cutter!

The class watches as the rope stretches well past anybody’s estimation!
Aaron and Eva watch as the laser cutter works its electromagnetic magic

From there, the class took a walk through the rest of the testing and manufacturing facility. CMC has constructed an impressive indoor “playground”, welded together out of shipping containers, that allows them to simulate rescue scenarios (escaping out of a burning building, for example). The students peeked inside to see the network of tunnels and a fake grain hopper. Unfortunately, no volunteer equipment testing was enacted!

Tyler shows the class the indoor equipment testing facility

After passing through the in-house sewing manufacturing zone, the students arrived back in the conference room, and were given the chance to put a new pulley design to the test. A broad steel beam ran the width of the conference room, and Aaron (10th Grade) and Eva (9th Grade) were placed into a typical safety harness, and then hoisted up by their classmates. The mechanical advantage of a compound pulley system was made apparent, multiplying force dramatically.

Eva hoists Aaron off the floor; her force is multiplied by a factor of four, but she
has to pull the rope four times as far

As a final test—not to mention a shameless photo opportunity—the class lifted Mr. Meadth up as well. We’re glad to report that the equipment worked as designed!

Mr. Meadth gets a lift!

All good things must come to an end, and this field trip was no exception. Tyler generously gave each student a smaller carabiner as a parting gift, and the students paused for a final photo. We’re hopeful that we might once again take a walk through the company facility someday, and in the meantime, the students are energized for the practical design process. Thanks, CMC Rescue!

(All photos by Tys vanZeyl)
6740 Cortona Dr, Goleta, CA 93117, USA

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