New Partnership with DMG MORI Offers Education in Cutting-Edge Manufacturing



By Casey Moffitt
DMG Mori machine 1280x850

A new partnership between Illinois Institute of Technology and DMG MORI is bringing the latest in digital manufacturing to Illinois Tech’s campus.

DMG MORI is lending a DMU-50 5-axis CNC machine, as well as an additive manufacturing machine, to Illinois Tech, allowing students to gain new experience in cutting-edge manufacturing and 3D printing.

“We all read about the skills shortage in manufacturing. I think this is just the beginning of creating potential partnerships with a number of companies seeking to employ graduates who have learned what these technologies can create,” says William Maurer, industry professor of industrial technology and management at Illinois Tech. “What is exciting is providing students the opportunity to learn and utilize the most advanced manufacturing technology on the planet.”

Students are using the 5-axis CNC machine to create machined parts with increasing geometric complexities. The cutting tool not only moves in three directions—up and down, side to side, and forward and backward—but also rotates the parts in two directions.

It also can be linked to a computer-integrated manufacturing platform and connected to internet of things software for complete transparency and diagnostic status reports. 

“This creates a unique environment for manufacturing where complex parts and operations can be machined with speed, efficiency, and accuracy,” says Nick Villani, an Illinois Tech adjunct industry professor of industrial technology and management. “This is truly the machine of the future and the perfect tool for modern-day manufacturing and production.”

Villani says students can use the 5-axis CNC machine at any point during the prototyping, part making, and production phases of the manufacturing process, as well as for inspection to maintain, tighten, and improve quality control practices. It has the ability to manufacture everything from microscopic medical equipment to complex aerospace components. 

Sammy Tin, Finkl Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Illinois Tech, says the 3D printing additive machine allows faculty in the university's Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering to conduct research in metal materials science and offers new research opportunities for students.

“Now we’re better equipped to get our students into the industry,” Tin says. “This is cutting-edge equipment in digital manufacturing and gives us the capability to develop new technology related to manufacturing.”

The 3D laser, powder-backed printer has the ability to produce complex geometries that enable the production of metal parts and products. Tin says it has been used on campus to produce aerospace-grade titanium parts.

The machine is being used for graduate-level research and also is being incorporated into the undergraduate curriculum.

Juan Lopez (AE 2nd Year) says the 5-axis CNC machine is an integral part of his coursework. After a seminar class, he takes the information he has learned and sees it come to life when using the machine.

“This is an incredible opportunity, as it bridges the gap between theory and application that is oftentimes unavailable to students in technology management and in engineering,” Lopez says. “It has enabled us to learn processes that are only found in top development groups among the largest companies. It allows us to manufacture parts to the highest standards, taking approaches in part design for our project that would otherwise be unthinkable, as it would be impossible to do [this work] with traditional manufacturing methods, or cost prohibitive if sourced outside.”

Lopez says he is using the technology to develop parts for a sports car designed by fellow students in a student group that he founded, Advanced Automotive Development.

“We are very pleased with what we have learned in the class, and look forward to acquiring more experience with the machine and producing even more parts for this very exciting project,” he says.

Amanda Sathiaraj (M.S. MMAE 2nd Year) says she finds herself working on the 5-axis CNC machine each week, learning to load and unload tools, call a tool, teach a tool to the machine, call programs, and use programs to mill, drill, and engrave parts.

“I work in a company that manufactures parts, and working on the 5-axis CNC mill machine in school has given me a better understanding of the process and operations involved,” Sathiaraj says. “From learning about measuring tools and quality control to making 3D designs and writing G-code, this class has truly enriched my knowledge on the topics and has helped me perform better at work too. I am able to apply what I learn in class at my workplace every day.”

Photo: An Illinois Tech student works on a machine that was lent to the university by DMG MORI.