A Northern Ontario reader alerted us to a feature article in the Sudbury Star about former Torontonian, now professor and co-ordinator of Laurentian University’s mechanical engineering program Markus Timusk. The article, “Making a better auto: Laurentian university researcher making a prototype for the car industry” under Harold Carmichael’s byline took up most of the front page of the newspaper’s Business section on Saturday, January 26, along with a 4 column photograph of Timusk.
Dr. Markus Timusk received this coverage not only for his work with the university but for the fact that in January a project that he is working on was one of three to receive $500,000 in funding from the Ottawa-based Precarn Inc. and the Toronto-based Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association. The total cost of the project is approximately $1.4 million, with support beyond the initial funding expected from project partners.
Carmichael writes that Timusk will be recruiting a postgraduate student to work with him on the project – assistance that will come in handy, as Timusk is at present the sole mechanical engineering faculty member at Laurentian’s School of Engineering. Timusk’s “prototype will be designed in conjunction with a second prototype that will eventually replace conventional engine stands that test new automotive parts.” Such equipment is presently large, requires considerable energy to operate, and is responsible for considerable pollution.
The article notes that professor Timusk is also an inventor, responsible for the design of a fault detection system for equipmen that is already in operation in the booming Alberta oilsands industry. The prototype will build on this invention and expand it from the oilsands industry to an automobile version. Timusk also believes that his invention could be expanded for use in the mining industry – appropriate news in a mining city such as Sudbury.
The engine stand simulator and fault detection module prototypes could play an important role in Canada’s automotive industry. The module would be used in conjunction with the engine stand, and would have the ability to detect a fault and halt the test, thus not only assisting in determining the root cause of the fault but help in determining which part of the design requires replacement. The inventor said “there could be considerable savings in product development time” as well as cost benefits (to vehicle owners) as they “could reduce the number of potentially expensive recalls because of new products.”
Timusk notes in the article that he is happy to be part of Laurentian University’s mechanical engineering program and that the institution will now be playing a role in a cutting-edge automotive research project. He told the Sudbury Star “I took this position because I wanted to be part of something from the ground up.” He added, “we have the opportunity to build something for Northern Ontario, something that never existed before. Sudbury is really such a great place for people to work and play.”
As anyone who has visited the Sudbury area recently knows, that last is very true, the city once known for the negatives that resulted as byproducts of the mining industry is vibrant and environmental concerns have been addressed. Markus Timusk also notes that what was once an eight-hour drive from Toronto to his cottage has been reduced to one hour. Carmichael writes that Timusk is “wowed by the recreational opportunities in the North,” and that at times it is hard for him to “contain his enthusiasm” for both his research and recreation.
(Ref. Sudbury Star)
Markus Timusk receives funding for auto industry project