RIT and Okuma Corporation to Enhance Engineering Education and Local Manufacturing

The enhanced Brinkman Laboratory will support students and business




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A new university-industry collaboration will assist students in receiving real-world training and experience while helping industry improve technology development and enhance competitiveness. The Earl W. Brinkman Machine Tools and Manufacturing Laboratory is partnering with Okuma Corporation to house and demonstrate state-of-the-art equipment in the lab’s recently opened facility in the new addition of the James E. Gleason building.

The machines will be used to train RIT engineering students, enhancing educational objectives in the areas of industrial design, manufacturing process improvement and product development. The facility will also be used by industrial engineering researchers to assist in improving the performance and quality of machine tool production, while also serving as a demonstration venue for the lab’s industrial partners.

Okuma Corp., one of the world’s largest machine tool manufacturers, has consigned a substantial amount of state-of-the-art equipment for use in the lab and sees the partnership as an extension of its product development, outreach and marketing efforts.

“Through this partnership, Okuma can prototype and test new technology and utilize the services of RIT’s experienced engineers, which will provide us with valuable information on how to make our products better,” notes Kirk Kitagawa, chief executive officer of Okuma America Corp. “In addition, we can market the machine tool industry and broaden understanding of our products and processes to customers, the community and, most importantly, our next generation of engineers.”

The current partnership developed, in part, due to the Brinkman Lab’s affiliation with Morris TriState, the Okuma distributor for New York, New Jersey and part of Pennsylvania. Morris worked to enlist the participation of additional companies, assisted in the set up of the new equipment and will use the facility to showcase its services to potential customers as well as promote the lab’s capabilities.

“This effort is really a win-win for everyone involved,” adds Michael Tierney, president of Morris TriState. “We were able to assist the Brinkman Lab and RIT in enhancing their educational and research efforts while also utilizing their premier facility to better market Morris’s products.”

The Brinkman Lab, which is part of RIT’s department of industrial and systems engineering, was founded in 1996 thanks to the generosity of Robert Brinkman and the Brinkman Family Foundation. The facility is named in honor of Brinkman’s father, Earl, a pioneer in the machine tool industry and long time chief engineer and president of the Rochester-based Davenport Machine.

“Since its inception, the Brinkman Lab has been dedicated to providing first-class engineering instruction while also promoting the continued advancement of machine tool manufacturing,” notes lab director John Bonzo. “This new partnership will assist us in greatly expanding that mission and I would like to thank all of our industry partners for their assistance and commitment to RIT.”