Visteon Prototype Center bridges gap between design and product

The Impact, Fall 2003

Photos: The College's new Visteon Prototype Center allows students to test their design ideas buy producing actual prototypes.

Step one - Student creates complex design on computer

Step two - Student generates 3-D physical object using prototyping equipment.

Step three - Student compares finished object to original design



The College’s new rapid prototyping system allows students to test their design ideas by producing actual prototypes that they can hold and examine. This system is the first component of the Visteon Prototype Center supported by a a three-year, $500,000 commitment from Visteon Corporation.

“This center will allow the faculty to teach engineering design in an entirely different and better way,” says E&S Assistant Professor Nassif Rayess. “No longer will students have to use their imagination to bridge the gap between abstract design and physical realization.”

Rayess explains that the proximity of the classroom to the state-of-the-art prototyping facility allows students to create complex designs on their computers, then generate 3-D physical objects with accuracy and ease using the prototyping equipment.

“This is done as easily as printing a picture, the difference being that a hard physical object that can be touched and felt becomes available,” he continues. “Numerically controlled machining centers will allow students to build objects with very sophisticated shapes, removing obstacles to their imagination and ingenuity.”

Students from freshman to doctoral candidates will have access to the design-build facilities to transfer their ideas into reality, emulating a workplace setting. The physical facilities for the Visteon Prototype Center will be constructed by next spring when the installation of extensive manufacturing resources will begin.