MILL: Manufacturing Innovation Learning Laboratory
MILL: Manufacturing Innovation Learning Laboratory

MILL: Manufacturing Innovation Learning Laboratory

Invest in the MILL

Lab and Related Undergraduate Courses are Focused on Educating the Next Generation of Manufacturing Innovators

Focused on educating the next generation of manufacturing leaders and pioneers, MILL builds upon the many successes of its predecessor, the award-winning Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory (AML).

“Advanced manufacturing is accelerating the translation of American innovations in science and technology into new products and processes, and helping create jobs across all technology sectors. The Manufacturing Innovation and Learning Laboratory positions Rensselaer and its graduates to make significant contributions at the leading edge of this dynamic field.,” said Shekhar Garde, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering.

Located in the George M. Low Center for Industrial Innovation, MILL is a forward-looking manufacturing learning environment. Leveraging the instructor expertise and industry-grade equipment in MILL, sophomores and seniors taking Introduction to Engineering Design, the new Manufacturing Processes and Systems I and II, and senior capstone design courses can practice and master manufacturing processes. In these classes, students undergo the same design, process engineering, technical documentation, and rapid prototyping used in industrial research and development teams.

Looking forward, MILL will be an important foundation for infusing micromanufacturing, nanomanufactuing, and other advanced manufacturing technologies into the Rensselaer undergraduate engineering curriculum and graduate student experience. Additionally, MILL will enable new course work and advanced study on robotics systems development, manufacturing systems simulation, and emerging machining technologies. The Rensselaer School of Engineering expects to establish new undergraduate and graduate courses focused on these areas.

“Not just anyone can get a job at a leading high-tech manufacturing company. To succeed, thrive, and become a leader at these companies, you need to know the ins and outs of how to make stuff quickly, smartly, and competitively. This is precisely what Rensselaer teaches undergraduate students in the MILL,” said Sam Chiappone, manager of fabrication and prototyping in the Rensselaer School of Engineering.

MILL is or has been sponsored by several industrial partners including Allendale Machinery-Haas Factory Outlet, AngioDynamics/Navilyst Medical, Chief Executives Network for Manufacturing of the Capital Region, Inc., CTM, Lodolce Machine Company, RBD Bearings, Inc., SABIC, Sandvik, Sikorsky, Simmons Machine Took Corporation, Snap-on, Sonoco, and Silicone Specialty Products.

MILL’s predecessor, the AML, was established in 1980. For the past few years, several student teams using the AML and taking the related course, Advanced Manufacturing Lab, have won or placed high in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Student Design and Manufacturing Competition held at the ASME annual conference. Rensselaer students won top prize at the competition in 2011, 2010, and 2009.

This year, graduating seniors who studied in the AML over the past two semesters have already secured manufacturing-related jobs at Apple, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, RBC Bearings, and many other top-tier employers. The evolution of AML into MILL stands to make Rensselaer students even more prepared and more attractive to leading international manufacturing and technology companies.

MILL is an important cornerstone of the overall advanced manufacturing enterprise at Rensselaer. Leading the university’s advanced manufacturing research program is the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS). CATS is a New York state designated Center for Advanced Technology and receives annual funding of nearly $1 million from the Empire State Development (ESD) Division for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). Since 1988, CATS has worked with partner companies to leverage the knowledge and expertise of Rensselaer faculty and students toward solving real-world advanced manufacturing challenges.