NYAB, Bendix establish lab at RIT

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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New York Air Brake LLC and Knorr-Bremse Group sister company Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, working in conjunction with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), have created the Knorr-Bremse North America Mechatronics Laboratory at RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering in Rochester, N.Y. The laboratory will open this fall and serve both RIT students and engineers from Bendix and New York Air Brake.

Bendix and NYAB, members of the Knorr-Bremse Group (a global manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles) “enjoy a long-standing relationship with RIT and helped develop its Mechatronics Engineering Certificate Program, which allows engineers in the mechanical and engineering disciplines to become stronger contributors to multi-disciplinary design teams,” the companies said in a joint statement. “Mechatronics is the intersection of electrical and mechanical engineering and is a critical component in advancing many commercial vehicle and rail safety technologies.”

The nearly 1,000-square-foot Mechatronics laboratory is located adjacent to the main lobby in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering building on the RIT campus. Inside are five equipment stations that use fully functional Bendix and NYAB technology to provide hands-on experience covering key aspects of the Mechatronics curriculum, such as vibration, pneumatic controls, and valve control software. The stations and lab work are designed to expose participants to a full range of Mechatronics equipment and situations, from pure mechanics to pure electronics.

In addition to opportunities for challenging co-op assignments at Bendix and NYAB facilities across North America, the organizations have in place a selective Engineering Development Program (EDP) “to ensure their engineers remain at the forefront of technology development,” the companies said. “Aimed at new engineering graduates with undergraduate or advanced degrees, the EDP program—a potent blend of practical experience, career mentoring, and more—enables the participants to make an immediate contribution while fostering their professional development and advancement. Bendix and NYAB also incorporate a rigorous Technical Skills Enhancement (TSE) program available to their engineering corps, which features RIT’s Mechatronics curriculum as a part of the diverse training offerings. Employees seeking Mechatronics certification in these programs complete most of their coursework and lab simulation work on line, then visit the KBNA Mechatronics Laboratory for an immersion week to put their learning to the test in a practical environment.”

The lab will similarly serve RIT’s mechanical and electrical engineering students pursuing certification in mechatronics. Bendix and NYAB are working with RIT to develop elective mechanical and electrical engineering courses that can also make use of the laboratory resources. The KBNA Mechatronics Laboratory is expected to open in October for RIT students, and the first round of Knorr-Bremse North America employees will make use of the facility in January 2015. Bendix and NYAB are also working with RIT to build a curriculum in supply chain management skills within the institute’s industrial and systems engineering program.

“We are proud of the ongoing collaboration and the robust exchange of ideas between Bendix, New York Air Brake, and the faculty and administration at RIT,” said NYAB Vice President Engineering Bill Kleftis. “That dialogue led to the concept and the curriculum, as well as the equipment design for this laboratory.”

“Cross-competence and collaboration are absolutely crucial to our teams’ work at Bendix, and at NYAB as well,” said Bendix Vice President Engineering and R&D Richard Beyer. “Mechatronics projects require that approach, and we know that RIT also places a high value on cross-disciplinary work between its electrical and mechanical engineering programs. This laboratory emphasizes the importance of that philosophy in a valuable, real-world setting.”

“Incorporating Knorr-Bremse-inspired real-world learning experiences for mechanical and electrical engineering students will allow RIT to continue producing world class engineers that make a world of difference to their employers and communities,” said RIT Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Edward Hensel.

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