posted on Nov. 15: New Manufacturing Research Institute takes shape


[img_inline align=”right” src=””]Work on the $3.14-million addition to the John Hodgins Engineering building is progressing on schedule.

If construction continues as planned, the home of the new McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) should see its first heavy- duty machines by the end of December.

Reinforcement bars for the concrete floor are in place and the electrical conduit is being installed. Steel framing construction continues on the penthouse, an area on the roof used to house ventilation equipment.

The 10,000 sq.-ft.(900 sq. metres)addition, which spans three floors, will be “jam-packed with machines,” said Stephen Veldhuis, of the MMRI's metal-cutting group.

The metal-cutting facility will feature 13 machines, 11 of which are new, an industrial-sized service entrance area and overhead cranes to allow industrial components to be moved in and out.

The polymer processing group is located in renovated space within the existing engineering building. It also features many new pieces of equipment and there is a 1,500-ton metal-forming press that will be installed in a renovated area that now houses the engineering Faculty machine shop.

“There will be very few industrial companies that will have as much or as high a quality of equipment as we have coming in here,” said Veldhuis. “Most companies will drool over what we have.”

Veldhuis said one of the aims of the institute is to foster ties with industry by providing a research work environment that is top-notch.
“We've tried to make every effort to prepare to work with industry and facilitate our interaction,” he said.

“Industry does not always have the time or advanced analysis tools on the factory floor and that's why we are promoting the development of such capability in our facility.”

Research will focus on machining, polymer processing, metal forming, computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing and robotics.

The institute expects to enhance partnerships with industries such as the automotive sector, aerospace firms, mould and die companies and the power generation industry.

Some of the machinery to be housed in the new institute is so large, one-metre thick concrete pads have been created to give the machines the necessary stability. The large metal-forming press requires a three-metre-thick slab of concrete to ensure it operates properly.

The third floor area of the institute will include a conference room, a classroom, a super computer centre and mixed-use office space. It will be connected to the machine shop area by a stairwell.

The institute is being funded by the University, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund and Industry.