The recent award of a $7.3 million contract to UMR to develop new manufacturing methods for the aerospace industry is "a prime example of how government, industry and universities can work together to foster economic development," says UMR Chancellor Gary Thomas.
Through the efforts of UMR researchers, U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and researchers at Boeing and the U.S. Air Force, UMR was recently awarded the $7.3 million federal contract. It is the largest federal contract ever received by the university and will establish the Center for Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies on the campus.
"The creation of this Center for Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies is a prime example of how universities can work together with government and industry to develop new knowledge and new technologies," says Thomas. "We’re particularly proud to be collaborating with Boeing, one of Missouri’s largest employers and one of the largest employers of UMR graduates. Together, UMR, Boeing and the Air Force will develop, evaluate and demonstrate new technologies that will improve the aerospace industry and have a tremendous impact on the economy of Missouri and the nation.
"Without Sen. Bond’s assistance, this award would not have been possible," Thomas adds. "This is another example of his leadership in assisting UMR to improve its already significant reputation. His help in bringing industry, government and university researchers together to improve aircraft manufacture will benefit every Missourian."
"It is critical to our national security that our aerospace industry remains the most innovative in the world," says Bond, who as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee secured the project funds in the fiscal year 2004 Defense Appropriations bill. "The new Center for Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies will help us find new and better ways to build planes. Also, it is programs like this that ensure the University of Missouri-Rolla will continue to be a magnet for top-notch students."
Through the center, UMR researchers will work with Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to develop new methods for manufacturing aircraft components as well as to promote new training and education programs for the aerospace industry.
The new center will be housed in UMR’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department and will facilitate research and development in advanced simulation, high-speed machining, abrasive slurry cutting, rapid prototyping, laser materials processing, friction stir processing, non-chrome coating, non-destructive evaluation, composites manufacturing and electronic materials processing. The project will involve 29 faculty from various disciplines and roughly 50 graduate students, says Dr. Ming Leu, the Keith and Pat Bailey Missouri Distinguished Professor in Integrated Product Development. Leu will direct the new center.