Manufacturing the Well-rounded Engineer • BU’s EPIC Brings Technical Engineering to the Forefront of BU
Boston University celebrated the opening of the Engineering Product Innovation Center. Prominently located at the heart of BU’s campus, EPIC serves as the only street-view presence of Engineering from Commonwealth Avenue. The 15,000 SF facility merges the technical education of using machine tools with the ability to bring a product to market. In the hopes of revitalizing manufacturing and engineering in the U.S., the project was sponsored by industry leaders, among them some Fortune 500 companies.
In attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were University officials including President Robert A. Brown, Engineering Dean Kenneth Lutchen and Former Mayor Tom Menino, now BU’s Co-director of Initiative on Cities. Industry sponsors in attendance included Proctor & Gamble, GE Aviation, PTC, and Schlumberger. In President Brown’s speech, it was stated that, “EPIC is BU Engineering’s coming out party.”
EPIC paves the way for innovative hands-on learning in the field of engineering production and manufacturing. BU is enhancing its undergraduate College of Engineering education by incorporating specialized training in modern software and technology for product development. The facility equips students beyond theoretical knowledge, by allowing them to manufacture their ideas into real-world products.
It was a top priority for BU to bring Engineering to the forefront of campus. The design team delivered this goal by making EPIC a visible gateway to the central campus from the BU Bridge as students cross campus from west to east. EPIC is not only visible, but transparent; passersby can actually see production happening within. As evidence of student excitement for this new facility, students began signing up before the building was even open.
Located in the former guitar center and parking garage, the renovated facility provides floor space for an open machine shop with metal lathes, CNC, milling machines, 3D printers, and a variety of other tools. Adjacent, a teaching and assembly area allow students to work in teams and collaborate on projects. A metrology lab lets students test and measure the hardness and character of materials; and a welding and kiln area serves to mold materials into any desired shape. In addition, shell space for three faculty hires was created to facilitate recruitment.
Check out the short video about the facility, created by BU. http://www.bu.edu/eng/corporate/epic/