AU developing vehicle manufacturing research alliance for univ - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

AU developing vehicle manufacturing research alliance for universities and automakers

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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

The auto manufacturing industry continues to boom in the Southeast, especially in East Alabama where companies are relocating and expanding.

Auburn University's Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is working with educational and industry partners to establish a research center focused on advanced vehicle manufacturing.

Tom Devall, Director of Automotive Manufacturer Initiatives at AU, explains, "Since 2010, since we've had the downturn in the automotive market, these manufactures are quite constrained on resources. So many of these issues they just don't have the time to get to, we can work on and solve problems for them."

The core research would include manufacturing systems analysis, line production, safety and ergonomics, and advanced manufacturing processes.

The program has received letters of support from more than 40 automotive and industry-related companies, such as KIA, Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes.

"We can add value, great value in many cases. Sometimes the cost membership in the consortium can bring easily a ten-fold return year after year. We can look at their operations and opportunities for employment," explains Devall.

A committee of Auburn engineering faculty is working with colleagues from Tennessee Tech University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville to develop the center. They are also talking with other Southern research institutions and transportation-related companies as possible participants.

"We are currently approved for a grant from the National Science Foundation. If they join that consortium we want to offer them a menu of capabilities that wouldn't be restricted to a certain university," explains Devall, "So the idea is, join the consortium, look at the capabilities in relation to research across a wide range of universities and ensure we can help you solve your problem."

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