A message from Dean Saif

Welcome to our spring issue of WE. As I sit isolated in my home office running the business of the Faculty remotely,
I would like to reflect on the events of the past few weeks and what lies ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally touched all facets of daily lives. The world’s experience with COVID-19 is new and unprecedented in every way. The pandemic is rapidly evolving; there is a great deal of uncertainties associated with it, and all around the globe, the response has been to pivot quickly and face a new set of challenges on a daily basis. 

I must say, I am so proud of UWindsor and the Faculty of Engineering community, which — in the face of monumental adversity and daunting challenges — have come together and stepped up to the plate! I am impressed and thankful to our students who have endured this rapidly changing set of circumstances with maturity, poise and calmness.

This calamity has shown me how collaborative, resilient and compassionate the UWindsor community really is and that makes me proud to be a member of this tight-knit community.

Engineers are problem solvers and societal challenges provide them with opportunities to innovate and respond to people’s needs. A number of our Faculty and students have been working (and in certain cases with industrial partners), to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) or portable ventilators, to our community health care workers or hospitals, and I thank them for their efforts.

Read the full message.

Researchers design masks, door handle openers to fight COVID-19 spread

UWindsor, St. Clair College donate $100K to COVID-19 fight

University of Windsor receives $1.7 million in research funding

Engineering team partners with local manufacturer to combat spread of COVID-19

A Windsor Engineering team has designed and helped produce face shields for frontline workers.

A local manufacturer has teamed with a group of researchers at UWindsor’s Faculty of Engineering to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
Valiant TMS is assisting Dr. Jill Urbanic’s research team with the production of brackets for 3D-printed face shields. The global company headquartered in Windsor has provided material, testing, building and assembly support. 
“We have no specific production targets. We are trying to meet requests and there have been several from a wide variety of front-line personnel,” Dr. Urbanic says. “This need is what is driving us forward.”
So far, shields have been delivered locally to three nursing departments at Windsor Regional Hospital, two nursing homes and an x-ray clinic and up Highway 401 to the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital and St. Joseph's Family Medical and Dental Centre in Toronto.
The shields are designed to be lightweight and adjustable in size. Urbanic says the designs have been optimized to leverage the most effective manufacturing processes. 
“The top cover and retainer can be laser cut or water jet cut. The materials should allow for reuse. We would like to pursue molding the flexi-band with local mold shops, if they are interested.” Read the full story.

Windsor start-up shines on international stage

Fourth-year engineering students Nigel Christian and Zain Shaikh were selected out of thousands to represent Canada in a global startup competition in Bremen, Germany.

It’s a hot summer day and your grass needs a trim. Sweat drips down your face as you lug your lawnmower out of the shed and yank on the starter rope until the sharp blades roar to life. 

There’s got to be a better way, you think, as exhaust fumes fills the air and the motor drowns out the chirping birds and children playing in their yards.

Nigel Christian and Zain Shaikh found one. 

Inspired by their humid, childhood summers in Southern Ontario, the two, now studying engineering at the University of Windsor, have created a lawnmower that is virtually silent, lightweight, emissions-free and safer than any product on the market. They call it Secara — derived from a Latin word for cut. 

“Lawnmower accidents are the leading cause of major amputations for children under 10,” Christian says. “Traditionally, lawnmowers use a heavy rotating blade, which can also cause debris such as rocks and sticks to become a dangerous flying projectile. Our patent-pending, reciprocating blade technology can prevent this from happening.”

Secara is made with 75 per cent less components than other mowers and its cutting technology is maintenance free — this means no sharpening. Shaikh says the high-grade stainless steel used contains specific properties for low friction and granular wear, ensuring a sharp edge throughout the lifetime of the blade. The battery-powered, cordless mower is also 80 per cent quieter than conventional mowers. Read the full story.

Student enterprise producing face shield components

Parker Drouillard shows off the face shield parts he has been producing with 3D printers in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Tucked away in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation is a 3D print shop that has been quietly expanding its fleet.

In just a week, Parker Drouillard, the owner of Pep Corporation, has doubled the number of his self-made 3D printers to assist in the global fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“We normally print automotive parts, but our clients, mostly automotive manufacturers, are being asked to retool,” Drouillard says from his shop floor filled with the whirring sound of nearly 30 printers hard at work.

“As a result, quite of a few our partners have reached out to us.”

The fourth-year computer science student has been approached by clients and businesses from Windsor to Toronto that need parts to assemble ventilators and face shields. He’s now preparing for large orders that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours to produce.

Drouillard has also joined forces with community partners WEtech-Alliance, EPICentre UWindsor, and Windsor-Essex FIRST to donate 500 face shields to essential workers across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.

He is producing the plastic components that hold the face shield in place based on a design created by Kelcom 3D Division. Read the full story.

Around campus

Changes to Faculty of Engineering operations and services
Crop-dusting design earns recognition for engineering students
Consortium funds research into cybersecurity of autonomous vehicles
Engineering society honours local chapter
Meet Winnie, the #UWindsorENG therapy dog!
Coding workshop growing in popularity

Supporting UWindsor students

Many of our students are and will continue to face enormous financial challenges for the foreseeable future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are now dealing with the uncertainty of summer employment and internships, a reduction or loss of part-time work and many are experiencing financial hardships as family members also deal with job loss.

To support students during this time, the University of Windsor has created a Student Relief Fund. This fund will support University of Windsor students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. 

You can support our students by donating to this fund. Your gift will support their immediate needs during this very challenging time. 

For more information, please contact Katie Mazzuca at

Donate to the Student Relief Fund
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