UWM unveils new industrial institute

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s College of Engineering and Applied Science will unveil its new Institute for Industrial Innovation (I3) at 4 p.m. today.

The I3 is housed in about 2,800 square feet of space in the college’s main building at 3200 N. Cramer St., on Milwaukee’s east side. It currently houses two rapid prototyping machines.

The center has also ordered a new plastic injection machine that will be installed this fall, said Michael Lovell, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The I3 can also draw upon UWM’s other facilities inside the engineering building, including an electron microscope, machine shop, electronics lab and structural lab.

The facility is designed to allow manufacturing companies in the Milwaukee area an opportunity to interface with UWM’s engineering students, Lovell said. Now that the facility is open, companies can submit projects for:

  • An idea, process or topic with which a company is having difficulty.
  • Teams of students, with faculty guidance, will examine the matter and create recommendations.
  • Faculty consulting, in which a faculty member is asked to look at a company’s operations, solve a problem or help create a new process.
  • Full research projects, for which graduate and doctorate students are hired.

"Our goal is to be the easiest engineering college in the U.S. to work with for industry," Lovell told BizTimes. "We have the base here. We want to partner with the area’s strength (in manufacturing)."

Eight companies are sponsoring research projects that are underway in the I3 facility, Lovell said. They include: GE Healthcare, TAPCO, Badger Meter Inc., Briggs & Stratton, Eaton, and ReGENCo.

The I3 has already created specialized training programs for companies such as GE Healthcare and Johnson Controls.

The I3 facility being unveiled this afternoon is the first phase of the project. Lovell and other UWM officials hope to open a, which will require a multi-level addition to the south side of the engineering building on UWM’s campus. The expanded facility, which is expected to cost about $4 million, will feature additional equipment, lab space and classrooms.

A third phase will be constructed when UWM builds its new engineering campus in Wauwatosa on the Milwaukee County Grounds.

Lovell has recently applied for federal stimulus grants, which could allow UWM to construct its I3 facility at the County Grounds.

“I have gotten some positive feedback (from federal officials),” he said. “The master plan is evolving for the (Wauwatosa) campus, and if we receive the grant money, it would have top happen fast.”

For more information about the I3, visit –  http://www4.uwm.edu/ceas/ai3/pressrelease.pdf.


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