posted on Nov. 23: A mover’s headache: how to install a giant machine


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”Mukesh Jain in front of press “]It's taken almost a week to move a 74,250-kilogram giant into the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute.

Physical plant employees, security, machinery movers — teams of people have been working on moving a new automotive sheet metal forming press into the back end of the John Hodgins Engineering building.

The mammoth press has been lying on its side outside the engineering building as movers determine how to ease it through a hole in the wall, tilt it into a standing position, while at the same time positioning it into a 3.6-metre deep pit. Hydraulic lifts and conveyer belts are being used.

And yes, it takes a few engineers to figure this out.

The $1.6 million press, funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, comes from a company north of Toronto.

Mukesh Jain, of the MMRI, said major automotive companies like the Ford Motor Co. would have this type of press in their manufacturing operations, but the McMaster model will be used as a highly refined research tool.

“This one is unique,” said Jain, who left Alcan's Kingston operation three months ago to join McMaster. “This is well instrumented and well controlled.”

Jain said the McMaster operation would be one of the largest among universities in Canada.

The press takes a flat sheet of metal and stamps it into a component, with the capacity to punch metal at a force of 900-tonnes.

“The research will be working with material suppliers and automotive companies to try and understand the different types of metal forming processes.”

Jain said researchers will study topics such as how new materials and lubricants behave in the metal forming process.

Once the press is ensconced in its new home, it will take a few more months to set up the instrumentation before researchers can begin conducting research using the machine.

The new press is the newest piece of equipment to be housed in the 15,000 sq. ft. MMRI facility, which houses 13 industrial machines and a robot. The institute is designed to meet the sophisticated research and development needs of leading manufacturers.

MOVING DAYS: MMRI researcher Mukesh Jain stands in front of the new sheet metal forming press being installed in the institute.

Photo by Shelly Easton