A Tradition of Research and Development Related to Abrasive Processes at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

WPI's history with grinding and abrasive processes began in the 19th century when Milton P. Higgins moved his manufacturing operations from WPI's Washburn Shops to Norton Company where he would grow Norton to Worcester's largest corporation, and a global leader in abrasives. Norton Company, now Saint Gobain, have long encouraged and supported grinding research both at WPI, and around the world.

The founder of Heald Machine Company was a 1884 graduate of WPI. Throughout Heald's 100 year history both Heald and WPI maintained a relationship that benefited both institutions.

Robert Hahn spent about 40 years of his career at Heald where he invented and developed control force grinding which made important practical contributions to internal grinding productivity. In 2000 Bob Hahn moved his research operation to WPI's research laboratories. Hahn is currently an adjunct professor at WPI, advising graduate and undergraduate students in grinding research.

Professor Chris Brown has continued to integrate his pioneering work on surface metrology with abrasive processes. Another result of this history dating back to 1868 and this series of relationships is WPI's grinding research center known as Center for Advanced Abrasive Processes, and the Abrasive Process Laboratory both directed by Christopher Brown.

Clearly the above relationships were sustained by mutual benefit measured by both sides, industry and academic. As stewards of this institutionalized history of working together for mutual benefit, we at the grinding research center recognize the critical nature of staying focused on components that are of key importance to our industry partners.

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Last modified: Jun 30, 2006, 15:45 EDT
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