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OU partnership with Chrysler leads to innovative engineering program

Friday, June 3, 2011
OU partnership with Chrysler leads to innovative engineering program
An exciting new program is taking shape in Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science. The Chrysler Learning and Innovation Center for Sheet Metal Forming (CLIC-FORM) is an academic center comprised of industry experts, university faculty, scholars and students. The center was established through a $110,000 grant from Chrysler Corporation.

Launched in January, the center consists of seven OU faculty members who teach a variety of courses including, Mechanics of Sheet Metal Forming, Lubrication, Friction and Wear, Optical Inspection and Analysis, Materials Properties, Quality Control and Reliability, and Manufacturing Systems.

With a focus on underclassmen, the program offers paid internships at companies such as Chrysler Corporation, Schuler Corporation and U.S. Steel Corporation. Additionally, participants take part in regularly scheduled workshops throughout the academic year, resulting in publication opportunities and enhanced job prospects following graduation. 

"Chrysler wants to connect with our students at an early stage in their curriculum," CLIC-FORM Director Lorenzo Smith explained, adding that participants are selected from various engineering backgrounds with the goal of producing "work-ready" graduates.

OU student Caleb Barr has gained valuable experience through CLIC-FORM, working alongside industry professionals on real-world projects that utilize complex machinery.

"I am involved with the Aluminum Sheet Metal Skid-line Project, testing new aluminum sheet metals from Ford, GM, and Chrysler using OU's own stretch-bend-draw machine in order to develop a better understanding of phenomena that occur during the stamping process." said Barr, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. "I had weekly meetings with senior project engineers from those companies."

Barr added that the experience gave him a wealth of practical knowledge about engineering and business practices. "I learned how to present meaningful data, guide a project, work on a team, answer to multiple superiors, meet industry deadlines and improvise when things don't go as planned.”

"Although I am open-minded about how I will apply my degree upon graduation, the auto industry is presenting itself already. I would also like to incorporate my Japanese minor and perhaps travel to Japan as part of my job."

Along with its community-centered vision, CLIC-FORM hopes to expand its outreach by partnering with companies around the globe. "We want to be a center where companies can obtain a world-class education in sheet metal forming technology," Dr. Smith said. 

The center is currently hosting a group of engineers from China as part of a two-month sheet metal forming course. Revenue received from the course will help provide further infrastructure upgrades and administrative support. 
 
For more information on the Chrysler Learning and Innovation Center for Sheet Metal Forming at Oakland University, contact Dr. Smith at L8smith@oakland.edu.