Mercer Engineering Research Center celebrated 30 years
WARNER ROBINS, Georgia(41NBC/WMGT) – Helping the Robins Air Force Base was important to Mercer University, so the Mercer Engineering Research Center was created.
Andy Mitchell was one of three employees when the Mercer Engineering Research Center started 30 years ago.
The center’s purpose was to help the Robins Air Force Base with their engineering and scientific needs.
“Watching something grow from three people and a $8,400 dollar in a strip shopping center to 113,000 square feet, 180 plus scientists and engineers has been extremely rewarding,” Mitchell said.
MERC has provided tools and equipment for the base in the past 30 years. The engineers at the center also helped with aircraft designs, created flight test instruments, prototypes for the base, and much more.
Hillarie Furman,Principal Software Engineer at MERC, said engineers created software designed to help illustrate damage on planes.
“They were getting a lot of information on paper about damage on aircraft, crack and corrosion, and they we’re having trouble with analysis because it was on paper,” Furman said. “So we’ve built some software tools to allow the maintainers to capture that damage as they see it on the aircraft with a 3-D drawing tool.”
The drawing tool allows engineers to choose an aircraft, select the section where they find damage, and then draw what they see.
The tool then tells engineers at the base what was recorded, saving them time compared to hand drawn diagrams.
“The engineers can later run those reports and see exactly, like the hot spots on the aircraft, and understand where further inspection or more timely inspections should be performed,” she said.
Furman has worked for MERC for 14 years and she enjoys helping the base.
“I have some pride in the fact that we’ve built these tools that allow the air force to maintain the reliability and safety of these aircrafts,” Furman said.
And it’s people like Furman that gives Mitchell hope the center will be around for many more years.
“I see this center going for a very very long time. The viability of Robins Air Force Base is crucial to the Middle Georgia area, supporting the war fighter is important for all of us to do,” she said.
So the men and women of the air force can feel safe when they fly high in the sky.