Saturday, December 24, 2005

Innovation III: No exciting SC auto news?

The State newspaper reports, "S.C. auto industry plods along in 2005: No exciting announcements, but no serious setbacks, either."

Huh? No exciting automotive news in South Carolina? How about this?

The credibility of Clemson-ICAR grows as the Society of Automotive Engineers will become a campus partner of Clemson-ICAR. "SAE President for 2005, J. E. “Ted” Robertson, P. E., said, 'Clemson-ICAR and the South Carolina Upstate region are critical and exciting players in the automotive industry. The investment of BMW and other automotive leaders in the region, and specifically in Clemson-ICAR, tells us we are joining another winning team. SAE is committed to servicing the industry. The association with Clemson University in our professional development and education programs will bring additional value.'"

Clemson ICAR is able to attract a preeminent scholar with Thomas Kurfess as its first endowed chair. "Clemson University has named Thomas R. Kurfess, Ph.D... [as] the BMW Manufacturing Chair and... as director of the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center. Kurfess earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, completing his doctorate in 1989, and was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University prior to joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 1994. His research focuses on manufacturing and on automation and mechatronics with emphasis in system dynamics, control, metrology, precision system design and CAD/CAM/CAE (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing/Computer Aided Engineering.)

Clemson builds its infrastructure to support world-class scholarship which will attract top-flight students when it receives $26.6 million for the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center. "No educational facility in the United States has all this equipment under one roof, and most of the small-scale automotive suppliers do not have access to this type of equipment," said Chris Przirembel, Clemson’s vice president of research and economic development. "Students conversant with this technology will be invaluable to the industry."

Success breeds success. Timken Joins Clemson ICAR. "Becoming part of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research is a fantastic opportunity for our company and our customers. Clemson-ICAR provides unparalleled access to world-class automotive research, educators and partners," said Jacqui Dedo, [Timken] Automotive Group president. "Co-locating our product and process engineering for powertrain products at Clemson-ICAR will strengthen our technical team, enhancing the products and services we can offer our customers."

World-class knowledge clusters are supposed to attract firms interested in tapping into that knowledge. Well Bingo! Timken is old friend to Tom Kurfess, who will "continue a long-time research relationship. He came to Clemson from Georgia Tech, where he worked closely with the Timken research and development team in Norcross, Ga., and in Canton, Ohio. But his relationship with Timken goes back even further. He met his wife at Timken in 1984, when both were working as student interns during their undergraduate days at MIT.

I don't know about you, but I think all that is pretty darn exciting.

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