The Grace College Engineering Department recently purchased a Haas Mini-Mill, commonly known as a computer numerical control (CNC) machine. The purchase was made with the help of an anonymous donor and a matching gift from DePuy Synthes Johnson & Johnson. The mechanical engineering program at Grace has seen steady growth for the past few years and boasts record enrollment for the 2020-21 school year.
Department of Engineering Chair Dr. Fred Wentorf plans to use the technology to enhance students’ learning and familiarize them with machinery commonly used in the industry.
“From day one, we designed this program to ultimately prepare students for a career. Our students will be competitive in the application process because they’ll have a high level of competence with machinery used on manufacturing floors,” said Wentorf. “The CNC will help our students step into their future positions with confidence.”
CNC machines are responsible for producing a majority of the world’s goods. They use computer programming to control tools, such as a lathe or mill, which cut raw materials to exact specifications. CNC machines automate complex engineering processes that could take hours to complete by hand.
Grace College junior mechanical engineering student, Natalie Gerber, recently tested the new machine for the first time. “I cannot wait to get ample practice and experience with the CNC machine over the next several years. The small class sizes and individualized instruction on the machine will make all the difference too,” said Gerber.
The first class to use the machine will be Advanced Manufacturing taking place this fall.
Grace’s mechanical engineering program is also introducing a new professor, Dr. David Winyard. A seasoned engineer with more than 40 years of experience, Winyard spent the majority of his career with the U.S. Navy Research and Development where he managed fast-track technology demonstration projects that supported military operations in Afghanistan, provided humanitarian assistance in Africa during the Ebola outbreak, and assisted disaster relief after hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
According to Wentorf, the mechanical engineering program plans to launch novel community partnerships and innovative learning experiences this fall. Learn more about the mechanical engineering program at grace.edu/major/mechanical-engineering/.