WMU News

New lab helps engineering students put theory into practice

Oct. 3, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A new Western Michigan University laboratory that will help bridge the gap between theory and practice in the area of motion control will be formally dedicated during a ceremony set for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7.

The Parker Motion and Control Laboratory is located in room F107 of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences building on the University's Parkview Campus. The interdisciplinary lab is the result of a partnership between WMU and Parker Hannifin Corp. Parker donated $100,000 to establish the lab, which will be used to expose undergraduate students to the technologies of motion control, including pneumatic, hydraulic, and motor-driven control systems. Some common applications of motion control include manufacturing, aircraft, amusement park rides and animation for the motion picture industry.

According to Dr. James Kamman, director of the laboratory and associate professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering, it is difficult to explain to students how mathematical models relate to real systems, how control theory is applied to real systems and how control system concepts are implemented. In the laboratory setting, students will have the opportunity to experiment with control systems to learn the limitations of each technology. Faculty and students from the departments of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering will benefit from the new hands-on facility.

Kamman says the new lab will allow WMU to produce graduates who are not only familiar with motion control technologies but also will have an understanding of the right technology for the right application. This understanding will give graduates a leg up on other job seekers who have only been introduced to the theory of motion control.

Media Advisory: A formal dedication of the Parker Motion and Control Laboratory is set for 11 a.m. in the new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences building on WMU's Parkview Campus. Representatives of Parker Hannifin Corp. will be on hand along with WMU engineering administrators and faculty members to answer questions about the lab's capabilities. To arrange or confirm coverage, contact Cathy Smith at (269) 276-3247.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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