Promod Vohra, dean, Northern Illinois University (left) and Mikio Yamashita, president, Mitutoyo America Corp. cut the ribbon to officially open the university’s Mitutoyo Metrology Laboratory; behind is Cliff Mirman, chair, NIU Department of Technology. Source: G. Tarbay, NIU

AURORA, IL, December 9-Northern Illinois University (NIU) hosted officials from Mitutoyo America Corp., measurement and inspection solutions provider, at the November 12, 2008, unveiling of the university’s metrology laboratory.

The facility, named the Mitutoyo Metrology Laboratory, was officially opened as Promod Vohra, dean of the Northern Illinois University’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, joined Mitutoyo President Mikio Yamashita in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Located in the historic Still Hall on the university’s main campus in DeKalb, IL, the Mitutoyo Metrology Laboratory was developed to instruct students in the science of dimensional measurement and its uses in manufacturing and associated high-technology processes. These applications often call for measurement tolerances on the order of millionths-of-a-meter and even less.

The lab was made possible largely as the result of a gift from Mitutoyo consisting of measurement equipment as well as direct financial support. The total contribution valued at $125,000 is to be spread during three years. The equipment ranges from handheld micrometers, calipers and indicators to automated instruments such as coordinate measurement machines (CMMs), roundness and surface testing equipment, and optical measurement and inspection devices.

In addition to its use in metrology instruction, the lab will provide other university departments, including mechanical engineering and industrial and systems engineering, with the opportunity to integrate the latest measurement technology into their programs and projects.

Also, Northern Illinois University and Mitutoyo America expect to undertake joint research and development projects to advance the state-of-the-art in dimensional metrology. According to Vohra, “When possible, sharing talent and resources across institutions and organizations, rather than duplicating them, enables more to be achieved while enjoying cost and efficiency advantages. NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology is grateful to Mitutoyo for its very generous gift and looks forward to working together in a mutually beneficial relationship.”

A strong prior relationship has existed between Mitutoyo and Northern Illinois University. For example, James Salsbury, Ph.D., Mitutoyo Corporate metrologist, instructs NIU’s Tech 365 Metrology evening course while William Wright, Mitutoyo Metrology engineer, is a recent graduate of NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. According to Salsbury, “Academia’s industrial partners have long requested that students learn measurement and, moreover, that they learn it in the ‘manufacturing sense,’ meaning in ways relevant to supporting the manufacturing process. This new Mitutoyo Metrology Lab will help NIU take some important strides in that direction.”