MIPS Program, Maryland Companies Award Funds to ME Faculty To Develop Technology-Based Products

Three faculty members from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at College Park were recipients of joint funds awarded from The University of Maryland’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program (MIPS). A February 21 press release from MIPS announced a total award of $3.2 million in funding to Maryland faculty for research projects to help 17 companies in Maryland develop technology-based products. Nearly $700K of that amount was awarded to ME faculty MIPS projects, detailed below.

Total funding includes $1.1 million from MIPS and $2.1 million from Maryland companies. Funding goes exclusively towards the university research. Maryland faculty and students conduct the projects in close coordination with company personnel. Funding rounds occur twice yearly.

ME-related projects include 3D inspection of automobile and aerospace parts, integration of advanced materials and structures into industrial molds, and noise control for industrial fans. Past MIPS recipients from the department include Elisabeth Smela’s work with medical microvalves, Don DeVoe’s development of a portable lab-on-a-chip system, and Henry Haslach’s project creating a mobility assistance system for children with neurological disorders.

MIPS provides funding--matched by participating companies—for university-based research projects that help companies develop technology-based products. Companies with operations in Maryland are eligible, as are faculty from any of the University System of Maryland's 13 institutions. Projects must deal with innovative technological or scientific concepts and have direct commercial applications. MIPS contributes up to $100,000 for each project year; projects can be funded for one or two years. There is no limit on company project contributions. All funds go towards the university research. Reported company matching funds include both cash and in-kind contributions, such as salaries and wages, materials and equipment, travel and other expenses budgeted for projects.

MIPS is a program of the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH), whose mission is to enable technology commercialization, strengthen companies, and catalyze new ventures in Maryland.

Participating companies involved with the Department and brief descriptions of their products include:

Company: Automated Precision, Inc. (Rockville)

Project: Develop algorithms and prototype software to perform 3D inspection of automobile and aerospace parts. The new system could enable 100 percent inspection, as well as reducing both its time and cost.

Total Project Budget: $126,437

Partner Institution: University of Maryland, College Park

Principal Investigators: Dr. Kam Lau, President; Dr. Satyandra K. Gupta, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Systems Research

Company: Rampf Molds Industries, Inc. (Hagerstown)

Project: Integrate advanced materials and structures technologies under development at the University of Maryland into molds manufactured by Rampf. These molds are sold to customers that manufacture concrete products, such as Pavestone. The new technologies will extend the life cycle of the molds, and possibly reduce their weight—and subsequent setup times.

Total Project Budget: $275,251

Partner Institution: University of Maryland, College Park

Principal Investigators: Doug Clark, Purchasing Manager; Dr. Hugh A. Bruck, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Company: Warner Air, LLC (Randallstown)

Project: Developing an active noise control (ANC) system that can be used with Warner’s axial fans. The project will include developing an adjustable controller to optimize noise cancellation for a specific installation.

Total Project Budget: $104,103

Partner Institution: University of Maryland, College Park

Principal Investigators: Michael Warner, Managing Member; Dr. Amir M. Baz, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Published February 15, 2005