Purdue Northwest’s CIVS Research Center Selected to Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, Recently Announced by President Obama

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: July 11, 2016

Purdue-Northwest-colorPurdue University Northwest’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) has been selected to become part of a national manufacturing network designed to fuel industry growth and innovation.

As part of the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (SMII), recently announced by President Obama, the Purdue Northwest CIVS research center joins nearly 200 partners representing academia, industry and non-profits across more than 30 states. The institute’s task is to further the area of advanced manufacturing technology, including a supporting workforce and an education pipeline.

“Through such facilities as our Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, our Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center and others, Purdue University Northwest is poised to play a huge role enhancing advanced manufacturing and economic development across our region and nation,” Purdue Northwest Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said.

Researching new technologies
The SMII, led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, researches and develops new information technologies for use in advanced manufacturing. The Energy Department’s $70 million investment will be matched by manufacturers and coalition members for a total investment of more than $140 million. CIVS will specialize in developing virtual methods for training and workforce development.

“This is outstanding recognition for our university and CIVS,” Purdue Northwest Professor and CIVS Director Chenn Zhou said. “It demonstrates that CIVS’ application-driven approach for integrating simulation and visualization technologies can help provide practical, efficient and innovative solutions to maintain the competitiveness of American industries.

The Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation, based at PNW’s Calumet Campus, is an interdisciplinary applied research center that combines advanced simulation techniques with 3-D visualization and virtual reality technologies to produce innovative solutions in response to industrial and research challenges.

National network
The SMII’s national network will work across business, workforce and technical focus areas, leveraging each region’s unique industrial environments. More specifically, institute partners will seek to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced sensors, data analytics and controls in manufacturing, while reducing the cost of these technologies by 50 percent and radically improving the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing.

By proving and advancing the potential of these technologies, the SMII will enable manufacturers to apply validated tools and technologies to their manufacturing processes, thereby improving energy efficiency and productivity across U.S. manufacturing.

The SMII will launch five regional manufacturing centers across the nation, each focused on local technology needs and workforce development. These centers will house technology testbeds designed to demonstrate the commercial potential of new smart manufacturing technologies.

Zhou said Purdue Northwest’s participation opens the door to possible projects relating to proven CIVS capabilities in computational fluid dynamics, visualization and workforce development.

Successful projects
“We were invited to participate by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition,” Zhou said, “because of successful projects we performed for the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and various industries.”

The SMII also will enable small, medium and large manufacturers new and unparalleled access to smart tools, innovation and the ability to grow their business.

“Being part of this new institute,” Zhou said, “will provide learning and partnership opportunities for our students and faculty; create relationships for CIVS with industries, national labs and other universities; and help cultivate possible external funding sources.”

Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University Calumet of Hammond and Purdue University North Central of Westville recently unified to become Purdue University Northwest (PNW), a comprehensive regional university of two campuses within the Purdue University system. When it welcomes its first class of students this fall, PNW will become Indiana’s fifth largest university, enrolling some 15,000 students and offering approximately 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.