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 several Engineering Departments. The goals of this laboratory facility are to provide the following:
- 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 of the technical aspects of the other’s area of knowledge.
Currently, this laboratory houses a for-profit manufacturing activity and provides students from various engineering disciplines with an exemplary manufacturing experience inside the university. The factory houses a printed circuit assembly line for surface mount components in which production and prototype runs are performed for customers in the electronics sector. Prior to working in the manufacturing line, students receive pay and credit for their involvement, similar to a COOP experience. These students are then the ideal candidates to participate in course projects and summer and COOP internship in sector companies. The electronics manufacturing sector will nourish from these young but experienced graduates. Part of the charter of the Model Factory is to share process breakthroughs with partners of the electronics sector. Close to ten companies have contributed to this initiative, with special mention of Hewlett Packard and Solectron Corporation.