Honda-OSU Capstone Program Breaks New Records

Honda’s long relationship with The Ohio State University has provided more than a recruiting pool.

The Honda-Ohio State Capstone Program that gives Honda a chance to find strong talent also helps improve operations. For the seniors in the program, they get real world experience and one step closer to graduation.

After breaking records in 2017, the capstone program has grown again to now 23 Honda projects this academic year, involving over 100 students. Shubho Bhattacharya, associate chief engineer, Honda North America (HNA) said the program has drawn interest from both within Honda and at OSU, allowing it to grow.

“These capstone projects help solve real-world problems that Honda is facing,” said Eric Hanson, Honda of America Manufacturing (HAM) associate chief advisor. “You get fresh eyes from very smart students looking at our chronic problems from a different viewpoint.”

Students work in teams of three to six on the capstone projects and many students this year came from different engineering fields, as well as business and science. The lion’s share of students did projects at Honda of America Manufacturing, but there were also capstone projects at Honda R&D Americas, Honda Engineering North America and Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America.

“This program gives Honda an opportunity to solve problems and make improvements, utilizing students’ knowledge and creativity,” Bhattacharya said. “It also helps the professional development of these students, who become part of the talent pipeline for potential career opportunities at Honda.”

Getting a new pair of eyes on an issue is impactful and Honda has used many ideas that have come through the capstone program. In fact, a group of Mechanical Engineering students last year analyzed an assembly process for the Acura NSX to find ergonomic improvements, and their design is being implemented at the Performance Manufacturing Center.

“All the projects to date have been impactful in various ways,” Bhattacharya said. “Last year, a group of Industrial Engineering students studied lubricant use in our stamping process and proved through their analysis that a proposed change could indeed be made, reducing our environmental footprint and saving money. That change was implemented by the plant.”

And students aren’t the only ones taking lessons from the capstone program. “I have learned that today’s students bring in an extensive skillset,” Hanson said. “This partnership with the university is a win-win for both sides. The students get the opportunity to apply their book knowledge to real-world problems and then potentially make their case for a full-time position after graduation. Honda gets these challenging problems solved and creates relationships with candidates for future employment opportunities.”

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