Oct. 3 , 2006

Scientists, automakers join forces to revolutionize and green the car industry

Hamilton, ON - Senior executives and researchers from the major automakers and associated industries will meet at McMaster University on Thursday to work toward making parts more durable, and cars more fuel-efficient and kinder to the environment.


The symposium will be held in conjunction with the opening of the Light Metal Casting Research Centre at McMaster University. The ribbon-cutting will begin at 11 a.m. in the John Hodgins Engineering Building, Room 101; the symposium itself will take place at the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (Room 1309). Details of speakers and seminars are available at http://lmcrc.mcmaster.ca


“This Centre is critical to Canada’s leadership in automotive manufacturing,” said David Braley, president, Orlick Industries, a leading automotive parts manufacturer in Ontario.  “Companies like ours, which make parts that are used around the world, need the absolute newest research and expertise, and this is where we’ll get it. The Centre will quite literally revolutionize new materials, design capabilities and manufacturing processes, and in doing so it will ramp up competitiveness, and make cars cleaner and greener.”


The Light Metal Casting Research Centre is already working with industry and government to advance automotive casting research for engines and body panels, and to develop a skilled workforce for the automotive casting sector. Among the project partners are Orlick Industries, General Motors, Burlington Technologies, Alcan International, and Magna Powertrain.


“For the last 80 years, the car industry has been using the same recipe to make cars; it’s time to find better ingredients,” said Sumanth Shankar, who holds the Braley-Orlick Chair in Advanced Manufacturing at McMaster University, and is also associate professor of mechanical engineering and founding director of the Centre. Shankar has tested 20 different recipes in his “kitchen”, the Centre’s ultra-modern foundry at McMaster University. “It takes a long time, and a lot of development but we’re closing in on an amazing new material.”


The Centre will be part of the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI), one of the largest university manufacturing research institutes in Canada. MMRI was established in May 2000 to pursue research in polymer processing and design, machining systems, metal forming, micro-manufacturing, robotics and manufacturing automation, and thermal processing.


Thursday’s symposium will feature internationally renowned scientists who will discuss current research in technology and training. In addition to Shankar, speakers include Diran Apelian, Metal Processing Institute, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (United States); Weidong Huang, Northwestern Polytechnic University (Xi’an, China); Lars Arnberg, Norwegian University of Science & Technology (Trondsheim, Norway); Mark Gallerneault, Novelis Global Technology Centre (formerly Alcan Research & Development Centre, Kingston, Ont.) ; and Daryoush Emadi, CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory (Ottawa).


McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 120,000 in 128 countries.