KALAMAZOO, Mich. … Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation today announced it has entered into a five-year memorandum of understanding with Western Michigan University (WMU) to invest in and jointly staff a 1,000-sq.-ft. testing lab for commercial and military hybrid drive systems and components.
The lab will be housed at the University’s Center for Advanced Vehicle Design and Simulation (CAViDS) in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Kalamazoo, Mich. The facility will be used for evaluation of electric motors and other critical components, battery testing and power electronics development. It will be completed and running by June 2010.
“This is another important step toward advancing hybrid vehicles,” said Dimitri Kazarinoff, vice president and general manager of Eaton Corporation’s Hybrid Power Systems Division. “Western Michigan has a first-rate engineering program, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with them in this endeavor.”
“This Hybrid Electric Drive Applied Research Lab represents a unique opportunity for Western Michigan University to enter the emerging field of hybrid vehicle systems integration research,” said Dr. William Liou, director of CAViDS and professor of WMU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “It serves as the foundation for future academic programs in hybrid vehicle engineering at our university. We are proud that a global technology leader such as Eaton has selected us to work jointly on this important effort.”
Eaton will invest in the development and maintenance of the lab, including $300,000 for the purchase and installation of test equipment. Daily operation of the lab will be managed by WMU’s director of CAViDS. Eaton-sponsored staffing will include engineers and WMU student interns who will be taught how to operate the test equipment and analyze results. WMU will provide faculty advisors and technicians.
As part of the agreement, Eaton will identify other participants to form a consortium-like collaboration that will have access to the lab’s equipment and facility. The consortium will further advance the hybrid research and testing and promote innovative ideas that can be applied to emerging engineering developments associated with commercial and military hybrid drives. This approach will help reduce the cost of operation and maintenance through cost sharing and will better leverage the lab’s resources and capabilities for possible joint ventures in the future.
Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company with 2008 sales of $15.4 billion. Eaton is a global technology leader in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel savings and safety. Eaton has approximately 70,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit