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An Effective Partnership Between University And Industry: Fulfilling Academic And Corporate Engineering Goals

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Design for Manufacture and Industry

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.181.1 - 11.181.13



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Paper Authors

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William Semke University of North Dakota

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Richard Schultz University of North Dakota

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James Albrecht Imation Corp.

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Jason Moses Imation Corp.

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Peter Ridl Imation Corp.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Effective Partnership Between University and Industry: Fulfilling Academic and Corporate Engineering Goals

ABSTRACT A multidisciplinary team of students and faculty from the School of Engineering & Mines at the University of North Dakota (UND) have partnered with Imation Corporation to conduct research on precision engineering projects. The cooperation between these groups has established a successful, unique, effective, and synergistic program that would not be possible without the contributions of each partner. The projects have been ongoing for four years and continue to evolve. The lessons learned from this experience are presented to share insights learned on developing long-term professional relationships between university and industry partners. Topics include the choice of appropriate projects, the use of capstone design courses, the contributions of graduate students, opportunities for internal and external funding, management strategies, and dealing with intellectual property ownership issues.

Thus far, the collaborative projects have dealt with the winding of digital tape media. These tape packs are used in many storage settings where high capacity and secure storage are essential. To meet the ever-increasing storage needs of the computer industry, the tape storage devices must be constantly improved, and innovations must be incorporated into the design and manufacturing processes. Digital tape storage is one key market for Imation, and as the sole U.S.-based manufacturer of digital storage media, digital tape manufacturing brings many engineering design challenges. The nature of these challenges and their possible solutions are exactly what students should encounter within capstone design courses and graduate projects in order to receive a “real-world” research and development experience.

To date, five senior-level capstone design student teams and one graduate student have been involved with the projects. The choice of appropriate projects is the most important component to an effective industry/university partnership. It must meet the educational needs of the course while simultaneously being of significant interest to the industrial partner. In most cases, it is appropriate that the project is a high-risk, high-reward project that is not time critical to the company, since meeting strict schedule commitments is very difficult in the academic environment. At the University of North Dakota, the project must have a significant design component, and a prototype must be designed, analyzed, built, tested, and used for its intended purpose. This R&D effort has also been instrumental in establishing a relationship from which to build internal and external funding opportunities for students and faculty. All partners have had active roles in advising the students and managing the projects. Weekly teleconferences along with periodic site visits to each facility for design reviews have worked well. The final critical issue discussed in this paper involves establishing ownership rights on the intellectual property that is jointly developed.

Semke, W., & Schultz, R., & Albrecht, J., & Moses, J., & Ridl, P. (2006, June), An Effective Partnership Between University And Industry: Fulfilling Academic And Corporate Engineering Goals Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--555

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