Tony Schmitz, Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science
The mission of the Machine Tool Research Center is to serve the discrete part manufacturing community. The overall focus is improving the practicing engineer’s ability to produce accurate components in a timely manner; this has important ramifications for both the private and defense sectors. Our approach is to perform fundamental research in support of this goal, while taking care to consider the practical implementation of our research efforts. Through this combined agenda, students from the high school to graduate levels are trained to have strong analytical/numerical modeling capabilities coupled with fundamental experimental techniques and data analysis skills.
While the historical focus of manufacturing research has been at the macro-scale, recent technological innovations have led to new research activities at both the micro- and nano-scales. This multi-scale manufacturing approach mirrors the current climate within the manufacturing industry which demands expertise at all length scales. We also recognize that manufacturing in the 21st
century requires knowledge in many areas, including structural dynamics, optics and photonics, precision design, heat transfer, uncertainty analysis, and metrology (the science of measurement), in order to develop process models and improve efficiency. An important example is the increased use of high-speed machining to produce discrete components in the aerospace, automotive, and biomedical industries from the micrometer to meter scales. This remains a cornerstone of our research efforts.