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UA, Timken Co. join forces

By admin Published: August 26, 2011

The Timken Co. will move a 6,000-square-foot lab and three employees from Jackson Township to the engineering research building now taking shape on the University of Akron campus.

UA and Timken announced Thursday that university faculty and students would take over the responsibility of surface engineering research for a company product line under the direction of a three-member Timken research team.

George Haritos, dean of the UA College of Engineering, said he believes this is the first time in Ohio that a company would depend totally on a university for product research.

''They are moving here lock, stock and barrel and will rely exclusively on the university,'' Haritos said. ''It is a large responsibility that the university and college are accepting, and one that we are doing gladly.''

Timken spokeswoman Lorrie Paul Krum said the arrangement would allow the company to gets its technology into the marketplace more quickly.

''Our belief is that we will develop more innovations because this will bring together the great minds from lots of different disciplines and beyond our own walls,'' she said.

''It's still our lab, and we will continue to do Timken proprietary work, but the university will help us to leverage it beyond what we might do on our own.''

In a media release, Douglas H. Smith, Timken senior vice president of technology and quality, said the arrangement will ''further the development and commercialization of advanced materials, engineered surfaces and performance coatings.''

Timken will provide a total of almost $5 million to launch the partnership.

It will provide $1.4 million to build a lab, one of five in the 40,000-square-foot, $14.8 million research building that UA is constructing on Wolf Ledges Parkway. When the building is completed next spring, the company will transfer $1.9 million of equipment from Stark County to UA.

Timken also will donate $1.5 million to create an endowed chair for Gary Doll, its chief technologist. UA will use interest from the endowment to pay Doll's compensation.

Starting Sept. 1, two other Timken employees will become UA employees, to be paid from contracts and grants, although they will continue to work in Jackson Township until the research building is finished.

Haritos said Timken also will provide $350,000 to fund research in the first year of operation and more in subsequent years.

The university has been offering corporations space in the research facility if they help to outfit it and use UA faculty and students to do some of their work. All but 2,300 square feet are spoken for, Haritos said.

With Timken, UA faculty will help conduct research with students, possibly from undergraduates to post-doctoral fellows.

Haritos said it was a win-win situation: The company saves money by establishing its lab at the university and UA students would be better poised to get jobs at Timken or elsewhere when they graduate.

Carol Biliczky can be reached at cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3729.

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