The UPRM Model Factory integrates modern equipment, materials, and people into a manufacturing system. Its mode of operation is through interdisciplinary working teams from several engineering and business disciplines. This is a coordinated effort between Industrial, Electrical & Computer, and Mechanical Engineering. The goals of these laboratory facilities are to provide the following:
- Basic training to students through course labs and project initiatives
- Practice based experiences dealing with all aspects of an actual manufacturing system.
- A space where local manufacturing industry issues can be studied.
- A place where modern production technology and techniques can be studied as they are applied in an integrated manufacturing system.
- The opportunity to assist local manufacturers in the development of their production system.
- Incubator facilities where products and process can be developed or improved.
- Serve as a meeting place where people from several disciplines can meet and learn to work in teams, and get an appreciation for the technical aspects of the other’s area of knowledge.
Currently, this laboratory houses a for-profit manufacturing activity and provides students with an exemplary manufacturing experience inside the university. The factory hosts a surface mount technology (SMT) printed circuit assembly (PCA) line and a three-axes CNC milling machine in which production and prototype runs are performed.
As for-profit initiatives are defined, students receive pay for their involvement, similar to a COOP experience. These students are then ideal candidates for course projects and summer and COOP internship in related endeavors. Such young but experienced graduates are then positioned to initiate new business ventures or play lead roles in interested recruiters. Various companies (notably Hewlett Packard, Fuji America and FeatureCam) have contributed to this initiative, which has been active for over ten years.