U of G Engineering Partners With Linamar in New Course

August 21, 2008 - News Release

Rainwater harvesting, solar walls and a computerized tracking system are some of the new projects that will be implemented at a Linamar Corporation plant thanks to University of Guelph engineering students.

U of G's School of Engineering has teamed up with the local auto manufacturer to create a program that gives students the opportunity to tackle real industry issues as part of a third-year course.

"This has huge benefits for the students because they are able to work on real-world problems in a realistic environment with time constraints, financial constraints and resource constraints," said engineering professor Medhat Moussa, who helped co-ordinate the program.

"Having this hands-on experience is especially valuable when it comes to design. Design is an area you can't just lecture about. You need to learn by doing it."

A trial of the unique partnership was successfully completed during the winter semester with some 80 students participating, and there are plans to continue and expand the program this fall.

Linamar engineers gave students a list of current problems facing the company. Student groups then chose a problem and were expected to come up with a design solution. To help in developing their design, students had the opportunity to tour the company's Camtac plant, work with equipment prototypes and have ongoing communication with engineering manager Mike Minogue through a specially designed website.

One of the problems students took on was to design a rainwater harvesting system for the Camtac plant. The plant uses large amounts of water to cool the equipment, so the students were asked to develop a system that could store rainwater, filter it and integrate it to be used in replacement of municipal water.

Other projects included repairing the plant's vision system camera used to track parts flowing through the plant, developing overhead fixtures to help workers manoeuvre heavier parts along the assembly line without injuring themselves, and finding ways of incorporating solar energy into the plant.

The top proposed solutions were submitted to the company, and plans are already in place to implement a number of them, said Minogue.

"This program is mutually beneficial to the University of Guelph and to Linamar," he said. "We get to access the exceptional resources at the University, and the students get the practical experience of working in an industrial environment."

Prof. Medhat Moussa
School of Engineering
519-824-4120, Ext. 53425

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1