PACE Lab Opens at McMaster to Give Students a Global Edge in Automotive Design

Hamilton, ON, Canada, March 17, 2011 The PACE Lab established by General Motors (GM) and PACE Partners Autodesk, HP, Oracle and Siemens PLM Software at McMaster University is giving engineering and technology students a global edge as they prepare for careers in the international world of automotive design and engineering.

Matt Crossley, director of Canadian engineering at GM Canada, and Patrick Deane, president and vice-chancellor at McMaster University, opened the PACE (Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education) Lab at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the university this morning. Also participating were representatives from Autodesk, HP, Oracle and Siemens PLM Software.

We want our engineering and technology students equipped to thrive in the automotive industry of the future, said Patrick Deane. That industry is one that is global in scope and collaborative in nature. PACE provides our students with the chance to work with their peers from around the world and gives them exposure to tomorrows technologies.

PACE has made an in-kind contribution of state-of-the-art computer-based hardware, such as 3D navigation devices and engineering workstations, and engineering software used by automakers around the globe for product planning, engineering, analysis, and data management. The university also receives technical and educational materials for student and instructor training, and academic support.

Sixty-seven computer workstations have been installed in two locations at the university, one in the new Engineering Technology Building and the other in the John Hodgins Engineering Building. The workstations are used by students in both the Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Technology programs. PACE software on the computers includes Siemens PLM Software NX and Teamcenter; and Autodesk Alias Design, Maya, and Sketchbook Pro.

A student team demonstrated their work for the PACE Next Generation Sustainable Urban Transport (SUT) project. The students are collaborating with their peers at the University of Cincinnati to develop a near-pollution-free vehicle propelled by compressed air. McMaster is developing the propulsion system. Cincinnati is developing the frame and chassis. The project will be presented at the 2011 PACE Global Annual Forum this July in Vancouver.

PACE is a corporate alliance between General Motors, Autodesk, HP, Oracle and Siemens PLM Software with contributions from 14 other companies. Founded in 1999, PACE supports 56 leading academic institutions in 12 countries through the contribution of computer-based engineering tools. Its goal is to prepare the engineers, designers, and analysts of the future by providing students in mechanical design, engineering, analysis and manufacturing with the digital and collaboration skills they need to succeed in their professional careers. PACE students are introduced to product lifecycle management (PLM), which connects the development, production and after sales service stages of a product. PLM has been widely adopted by the automotive industry around the world. (

McMaster University is one of Canadas leading automotive research and education institutions, with the greatest concentration of powertrain research anywhere in the country. Under the MacAUTO umbrella, the university is involved in a wide variety of studies from hybrid technology to lightweight materials to software and simulation. A new 50,000 square-foot automotive resource centre being planned will provide an innovation ecosystem to promote daily interactions among industry, university and government on market-oriented and industry-driven research. (

A photo will be available this afternoon at:


David Wilkinson, Dean of Engineering, McMaster University

Students experience a greater depth and breadth of learning when they are able to work with their peers and other professionals on real-world projects. We are increasing opportunities for these types of experiences at McMaster and partnerships with organizations like PACE are essential to their success.

Kevin Williams, President and Managing Director, GM Canada

We have a strong history of collaboration with McMaster, and were happy to add PACE as another element to our growing relationship. Innovation and RD are not only core advantages in the automotive industry, they are essential, and the technology provided by PACE gives students access to world-class engineering tools that ensure the best and brightest are equipped to compete globally.

Joe Astroth, Chief Education Officer, Autodesk

“PACE serves an important role in education by providing designers and engineers with the real-world tools and technology to imagine design and create a better tomorrow. We congratulate McMaster University in opening its PACE lab and are proud to be a member of PACE, helping students prepare to compete in today’s global workforce.”

Phil Taylor, Vice President, Canada Operations, Siemens PLM Software

We welcome McMaster to the PACE partnership. The portfolio of PLM technology that makes up our contribution will provide a state of the art foundation for engineering collaboration for students ensuring a smooth and seamless transition into a professional career upon their graduation.


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