The history of the department dates back to 1945 and is connected with establishing Gdańsk University of Technology and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Adolf Polak, former professor of Lvov University of Technology was given the task of organizing and heading the Department of Machine Parts. Professor Władysław Floriański, also originating from the Technical University in Lvov became the head and organizer of the Department of Technical Drawing.
Soon after the didactic activity started, Professor Adolf Polak initiated the cooperation with the ship building industry and was striving to start the national production of the marine motors and machines. He was an advocate of Polish technical thinking and opposed the notion of purchasing foreign production licenses.
Professor A. Polak was given the task of developing the concept, design and technical documentation of the main motor for sea-going vessels. In 1947 the Department completed the works on the documentation regarding first Polish steam powered ship motor ML8a whose power output was 1300 hp and top revolution speed reached 125 rpm. After a series of successful technical trials the motor was transported to Gdańsk Shipyard and installed at ore freighter s/s „SOŁDEK”.
Further designs and constructions of ship motors and mechanisms were later developed under the supervision of Professor Adolf Polak and Professor Tadeusz Gerlach.
The demand for ship motors, mechanisms and machines translated into the establishment of the Department of Steam-powered Machines in 1951. The department was headed by Professor Adolf Polak, while the post of the head of the Department of Machine Parts was taken by Professor Tadeusz Gerlach, the closest associate of Professor Adolf Polak. The cooperation between the departments resulted in developing the design for new type of machines designated as MC10a (1600 hp power output) and 750 hp TP8 turbine powered by waste steam.
Starting from 1953 both department cooperated to develop to modernized steam motor of welded construction type PG10, power output 2000 hp.
In 1955 Professor Tadeusz Gerlach became the head of the Department of Ship-based Auxiliary Devices at the Faculty of Ship Buiding. The position of the head of the Department of Machine Parts was entrusted to Professor Kazimierz Zygmunt.
Professor Kazimierz Zygmunt created the Department’s laboratory and well-organized experimental workshop. Professor Kazimierz Zygmunt was one of the first heads of departments to join the realization of the idea of nationwide cooperation between the university departments dealing with machine parts and introducing major changes in the teaching methods regarding the construction principles devised by Professor Janusz Dietrych of Silesia University of Technology.
Scientific works which were created in 1960’s included the construction of machines and devices, especially prototype ones – one of them which is worth mentioning is ground boring machine called KRET (mole) which is currently known worldwide. The task of creating a laboratory base for research regarding friction, wear and bearing mounting. In the end of 1960’s the department also dealt with the theory of machine construction.
After Professor Zygmunt passed away, the position of the head of the Department of Machine Construction Basics was taken by Kazimierz Iwanowski PhD, Eng. who held it until 1979 when he left abroad. Within this period the research on the bearing mounting engineering continued alongside the research and development of a new scientific discipline – tribology.
In 1970’s the biggest achievement of the Department constituted in creating a modern, well equipped tribology laboratory. A number of unique testing devices allowed the tests of sliding bearings and basic tribological testing. The construction team creating the testing stations was supervised by Olgierd Olszewski PhD, Eng. Olgierd Olszewski. The grand opening of the new laboratory took place on 15 October 1977.
In the period of 1979 to 1983, the position of the head of the Department was held by Ryszard Maciakowski, PhD, Eng. Under the supervision of this renowned and great constructor and analyst, a number of research and development works had been completed and didactic was greatly modernized.
Year 1983 brought further changes, focusing on new research and didactic themes undertaken by the Department and its new head – Olgierd Olszewski Phd, Eng.
The Department headed by Olgierd Olszewski introduces new subjects taught to students: tribology, Tribotechnology, Basics of Reliability in Machine Construction, Basics of Machine Operation. Additionally, laboratory classes on Machine Construction Basics were introduced and the development path of the subject was defined by starting the computer laboratory on the premises of the department. The Department’s output consisting in construction and operation works for the industry (especially regarding the bearing mounting engineering and power drives) increased substantially in that period.
The final re-organization of the Faculty took place in January 1992 when two faculties: Faculty of Machine Construction and Faculty of Machine Technology and Production Management, were combined into one bearing the original name: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The Department of Machine Construction and Operation kept its name and Olgierd Olszewski kept the post of the Department head, however due to two-year sabbatical (1995-1997) dedicated to scientific work the duties of the head were performed by Antoni Neyman, PhD, Eng.
In 1997 the position of the Head of the Department was officially given to Professor Antoni Neyman PhD, Eng. The development path designated by Olgierd Olszewski, PhD, Eng. was being continued from 1997 to 2004. More significant achievements of the Department in this period include the move to the new facilites connected with serious modification of the devices and equipment. The laboratory was moved to the historic building of the old boiler room which was thoroughly renovated and adapted to the needs of the laboratory works. In October 2005 within the celebrations of 60th anniversary of Gdańsk University of Technology and 100th anniversary of establishing a technical university in Gdańsk the research laboratory was given the commemorative name of Engineer Bogusław Niemkiewicz.
One of the core fields of specialization, introduced and developed by Olgierd Olszewski consists in the water and steam turbine bearing mounting engineering. A number of significant industry-directed works covering the engineering of sliding bearing mounting has been completed at the Department. Several new subjects were introduced as far as the didactics is concerned: Modern Mechanical Drive Systems, Computer Aided Machine Design, Calculative Analysis of Machine Parts, Computer Aided Optimization of Machine Parts.
In 2006 Michał Wasilczuk PhD, Eng. became habilitated doctor and in 2009 he took the position of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering’s vice dean for the development. In September 2009 he took the position of the Head of the Department, being the 8th head in the Department’s history.
In 2010, due to restructuring, the Department was combined with the Department of Motor Vehicles and Engineering Machines and obtained its current name: Department of Motor Vehicle and Machine Construction. The new department has been headed by Professor Michał Wasilczuk, PhD, Eng. There are three divisions operating within the Department: Division of Medical Engineering (headed by Paweł Romanowski, PhD, Eng.), Division of Machine Construction and Operation (headed by Professor Michał Wasilczuk, PhD, Eng.) and Division of Motor Vehicles (headed by Professor Jerzy Ejsmont, PhD, Eng.).