The Center for Manufacturing Excellence building was built from the ground up with the idea that information technologies would continue to play an ever larger role in both education and manufacturing.
We currently have over 100 computers that are dedicated exclusively to student use. These are custom built workstations designed with the needs of engineering students in mind. Every machine includes the following components: Intel Core i7 quad core processors; Nvidia Quadro professional graphics cards; 26” LCD monitors. This is all packed into High Air Flow full towers to keep everything chilled.
Students have access to the workstations in the labs and work areas 24 hours a day. Access to the building, labs and work areas are controlled with card swipe door locks.
Students have free access to advanced full-color laser printers in all work areas. These machines can print pages up to 11×17 inches; at a resolution of 1200 dots per inch; and, at a speed of 30 pages per minute. This can be printed on paper up to a thickness of 68 lb (256 g/m²) and on any paper texture from plain to photo glossy. In short CME students should never have a problem printing a paper, presentation, or flyer in the format they need.
These same printers have networked scanners that can scan images up to 11×17 inches and at a resolution of 600 dots per inch. Scanned documents are sent directly to whatever email address the user chooses. This allows the scanned document to either be shared electronically or printed if a paper copy is needed. Most of our students find that the electronic copy is preferable and it saves on both paper and toner usage over copying.
For large format printing the CME utilizes a 44 inch wide full-color printer with roll type paper. At the extreme this machines supports a page size of 44 inches wide by 50 feet long. Students are required to show a school related need to gain access to this printer.
In the design of the building, we attempted to ensure that no matter where inside the building a person or piece of equipment is located a network connection is accessible. From most locations this connection can be a gigabit ethernet connection to a wall, floor, or suspended outlet. For wireless devices we have ensured 100% coverage to every corner of the building using Cisco access points. Further, we ran fiber optic cable throughout the building to every network stack and to the server room. The vast majority of our fiber is currently dark but available for future expansion.