UWM: College of Engineering opens a campus portal for business partners

MILWAUKEE – The College of Engineering & Applied Science (CEAS) at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) has opened the Institute for Industrial Innovation at the Kenwood campus, which will serve as its portal for industry, medical and university researchers, and economic development agencies to engage easily with CEAS faculty and students.

“The Institute is the point of entry on campus for any kind of partnership industry is looking for, from student projects to rapid prototyping,” says CEAS Dean Michael Lovell. “It’s a way to help us be responsive to their needs.”

The goals of the Institute for Industrial Innovation are three-fold, Lovell says: to dramatically increase the college’s research links with business and industry; give students a role in real-world applications of engineering using state-of-the-art technology as part of the curriculum, and foster economic growth and development in Southeastern Wisconsin through tech transfer and industry assistance.

Modeled on success

CEAS has invested in new equipment for the Institute in the areas of rapid prototyping, rapid manufacturing and computer-aided engineering capabilities that offer businesses the ability to investigate projects without committing a lot of company resources, says Mike Krauski, director of corporate relations for CEAS.

Such collaborative efforts are beneficial for all parties because they expand links with other institutions, such as the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), and create potential for more federal funding.

Modeled after a similar program at the University of Pittsburgh, where Lovell previously taught, the Institute, located on the first floor of the Engineering and Mathematical Sciences building, is a one-stop shop for:

* Fee-for-service work;

* Undergraduate student projects;

* Graduate student research projects; and

* Specialized educational programs for industry.

During a four-year period, the industry liaison program at the University of Pittsburgh completed more than 500 fee-for-service projects with nearly 100 different companies. Clients reported 226 new or re-engineered products and 263 jobs created in that time.

Powered by students

Finally, the Institute will give both undergraduate and graduate students unique opportunities to design products commissioned by industries in Southeastern Wisconsin and then display the finished work.

Since students will often be involved, partnerships spawned at the Institute will give industry access to potential new employees who are already trained in industry-specific technologies.

Lovell himself is teaching the first course in “product realization” this semester. Enrolled are eight industrial design students from the Peck School of the Arts, along with 24 engineering students from different disciplines at CEAS to form a pool of specialties.

Seven different potential products from six companies will be included in the first group of projects that students will tackle. Companies participating in the product realization course are GE Healthcare (two products); ReGENco LLC; Badger Meter, Inc.; Eaton Corporation; Briggs & Stratton; and TAPCO, Traffic and Parking Control Co., Inc.

“This is one way we are embedding industry projects into the curriculum so that undergraduate students can work on them as part of their studies,” Lovell says.

Product Realization Sponsored Projects Fall 2009

GE Healthcare Test equipment for high-g load of X-ray tube component

GE Healthcare Mass-property measurement device

ReGENco LLC Generator rotor coil service tool

Badger Meter, Inc. Electronic valve for automatic control of water service

Eaton Corporation Low-cost ground fault relay

Briggs & Stratton Low-cost electric dipstick

TAPCO Solar, internally illuminated street signs

UWM Great Lakes WATER Institute Low-cost underwater pressure housing for a servo (robotics part)

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(CONTACT: Michael Lovell at UWM, 414-229-4126, [email protected].)