Timken Foundation gift to make The University of Akron a national research center for precision manufacturing needs
Manufacturing companies across the nation will soon have access to state-of-the-art resources and vital expertise to assist them in developing new and innovative finishing technologies thanks to a generous $3 million gift to The University of Akron (UA) from the Timken Foundation of Canton.
In April, UA officially launched The Center for Precision Manufacturing, a research center for UA faculty and students to develop advanced methods for process technologies such as grinding, hard machining and superfinishing that are the backbone of many manufacturing companies today. The Center, now named The Timken Foundation Center for Precision Manufacturing, will benefit industry by improving manufacturing processes through research, while providing a learning environment for engineering students ready to enter the workforce.
The Center, which has been operating since April as a research lab of several faculty members, will be housed on East Mill Street in the facility that served the Akron Polymer Training Center. The Timken Foundation’s gift will provide funds for upgrades to the building including the roof, foundation, HVAC system and façade. The 15,800-square-foot space will include an open bay area, classrooms, offices, and modern engineering and manufacturing equipment.
The Timken Foundation Center for Precision Manufacturing at UA will be housed on East Mill Street in the facility that served the Akron Polymer Training Center. The Timken Foundation’s $3 million gift will provide funds for upgrades to the building including the roof, foundation, HVAC system and façade, depicted in the artist rendering of the facility.
“Ohio is a hotbed for American industry, with companies that are constantly looking for better methods to develop the products and processes needed in a technology-driven economy,” says Ward J. Timken, president of the Timken Foundation. “This Center represents an important new asset to develop talent and conduct more advanced manufacturing research, both of which will keep the industrial sector on the cutting edge.”
“The Timken Foundation Center for Precision Manufacturing will create a platform for UA to work with industry to research ways for companies to benefit from innovation in precision manufacturing technologies,” says Dr. Ajay Mahajan, associate dean for research and industrial engagement for UA’s College of Engineering and Polymer Science. “Thanks to the Timken Foundation’s financial support, we can provide a single space for research and student education, while contributing to workforce development for the manufacturing industry.”
Beyond providing more capacity to work with other companies for their manufacturing needs, the Center will also put an emphasis on “Industry 4.0,” which includes such components as robotics, automation and smart sensors; digital manufacturing and machine connectivity; and overall improvement in operational equipment effectiveness (OEE).
Experiential learning for students
In addition to benefiting the manufacturing industry, the Center will enhance the skills of undergraduate and graduate students in UA’s College of Engineering and Polymer Science, who will participate in research as part of projects undertaken by the Center. Employees of industry partners will be able to use the Center as a tool for their own training and Visiting Scientist Agreements will enable industry employees to work directly in the Center’s labs.
“Manufacturing isn’t going anywhere, and we are seeing an increase in companies who want to hire our graduates or work with our researchers to design ways to improve products and processes,” says Dr. Craig Menzemer, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Polymer Science.
Dr. Siamak Farhad
Sixteen faculty members have already been identified to work in the Center and Dr. Siamak Farhad, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is serving as interim director. Companies interested in working with the Center should contact Farhad at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Center’s new location is anticipated to be open by fall 2023.
“The Timken Foundation of Canton is a valued partner of The University of Akron,” says UA President Gary L. Miller. “The Timken Foundation Center for Precision Manufacturing represents the Foundation’s latest example of visionary excellence and its direct advancement of the University’s We Rise Together capital campaign is deeply appreciated. Through this naming, the Foundation assists UA not only via the enhanced instructional delivery the center will provide but by Timken Foundation’s generous leadership example for our students. Together, we rise to the occasion through collaborative partnerships such as this, which assist this institution in keeping our promises to students and community.”
The Center has also received support from the State of Ohio. In August, UA was awarded $148,169.34 from the Department of Higher Education’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program. The funds will be used to purchase a unique grinding machine for the Center that is unlike any other used at similar facilities on university campuses in the United States.
Media contact: Alex Knisely, 330-972-6477 or email@example.com.