University of Pittsburgh
November 27, 2001

New Pitt Center to Assist Metalworking Companies

Contact:  412-624-4147

Great Lakes Manufacturers To Get Help with Selection, Management, Development and Disposal of Metalworking Fluids

PITTSBURGH—Metalworking companies in the Great Lakes area have a new partner—the Center for Metal Fluids (CMF) at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering—that will work with them to reduce maintenance costs, increase employee productivity, and have a positive impact on both the environment and the quality of finished products.

Pitt will work with World-Class Industrial Network, LLC (WIN), to establish the center, which will help metalworking firms select, manage, develop, and dispose of metalworking fluids. The partnership will bring together the best practices and technologies available on a national level. WIN will help in the strategic planning, marketing, and promotion of the new center.

"Metalworking firms are often unaware of the significant impact these fluids have on costs, health, productivity, product quality, and the environment," said Bopaya Bidanda, Ernest E. Roth Professor and chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering at Pitt.

"Most firms do not have the tracking systems or skilled personnel to effectively evaluate benefits and measure the impacts resulting from improved handling methods and technologies," Bidanda added.

According to Bidanda, these problems are particularly acute among small and medium-sized metalworking firms employing 500 people or less, especially in the Great Lakes region, where some of the major machining centers in the United States are located.

The goal of the CMF is to become a center of excellence for best practices in the use and management of metalworking fluids. In addition, Pitt's School of Engineering will provide a cadre of faculty who have addressed environmentally benign engineering, as well as laboratories such as the Manufacturing Assistance Center, which can provide a "test bed" site for new techniques.

"Having such a center in southwestern Pennsylvania is important to the region, because it will attract researchers and professionals on the cutting edge of best knowledge practices, new technologies, and practical applications, all of which can only serve to improve the competitive position of the region's manufacturing core," Bidanda said.