Southwire Partners with Auburn University Mechanical Engineering Program

Sep 13, 2016

As part of our initiative to contribute to a sustainable workforce, we have fostered relationships with several local universities. Furthermore, our partnership with Auburn University provides a facility for undergraduate students, graduate students, doctoral candidates, and professors to learn and develop innovative manufacturing processes.

About the Program

Recently, Will Kent and Myron Deese from our Machine Services Group (MSG) met with Dr. Lewis Peyton, Director of the Design and Manufacturing Lab at the University of Auburn. The lab is accessible to students in the Mechanical Engineering program.

As part of the Mechanical Engineering program, students have access to the following labs:

  • Instruction Lab – Undergraduate Students
  • Prototyping Center – Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Teams
  • Research Lab – Graduate Students, Doctoral Candidates, and Professors

The Design and Manufacturing Lab teaches the basics of machine-tool technology theory, and application, as well as provides hands-on experience to students.  This lab also performs cutting edge manufacturing process development such as friction stir welding and metallic 3-D printing using materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, and titanium.

In fact, our very own Matthew McGinness, Co-Op in Corporate Engineering & General Services, is currently enrolled in the mechanical engineering program.  McGinness says, “My experience and involvement with the partnership between Southwire and Auburn Mechanical Engineering department has been an eye opening insight towards progressive growth on both accounts. The cooperative education program has been fun and challenging.  This opportunity has added to both my practicing and educational engineering abilities. These steps will make better employees and engineers.”

All mechanical engineering seniors are required to take 2 semesters of senior design.  This involves the students being split into groups where they are assigned a specific, real-world project.  These projects are sponsored by organizations who partner with the university.  Students are required to develop the solution to the problem during the first senior design semester.  During the second semester the students are required to prototype the solution if possible and perform any testing.

Southwire MSG and Product Development

MSG’s role in product development is a combination of concept generation, prototype production, concept refinement, and manufacturing process support.  The team is composed of machinist, fabricators, and other employees with extensive manufacturing knowledge and experience.  They partner with the various engineering and product development teams throughout Southwire to accelerate growth.

The Future of the Mechanical Engineering Program

Southwire will continue partnering with the Mechanical Engineering program at Auburn University to develop the next generation of product development processes as well as workforce-ready engineers.

Will Kent, operations manager at Southwire Machine Services Group, says this, “Partnering with a recognized research and applications focused institution like Auburn University will allow us to be on the leading edge of technology and advanced manufacturing processes.  This partnership will stimulate substantial growth to not only our product development capabilities, but also our manufacturing support capacities.”

We look forward to fostering growth and innovation in the next generation of mechanical engineers.