Purdue Research Park to house $50 million Indiana Manufacturing Institute, support advanced composite materials

February 19, 2015  


IACMI team

The multistate Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation includes the Indiana-based Design, Modeling & Simulation Enabling Technology Center, which is led by R. Byron Pipes, the John Leighton Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Purdue, along with a consortium of university researchers, manufacturers, national laboratories, and state and local government agencies. Team leaders at Purdue, from left, are Wenbin Yu, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics; Pipes; Johnathan Goodsell, visiting assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics; and Ronald Steuterman, the center's managing director. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Research Foundation Board of Directors on Wednesday (Feb. 18) approved construction of the $50 million, 62,000-square-foot Indiana Manufacturing Institute, where Purdue University researchers will expand research of composite materials manufacturing.

"Purdue is a recognized leader in composite materials, and the research that will be carried out in this new facility will advance this important technology for the new industries developing in Indiana," said R. Byron Pipes, the John Leighton Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Purdue and director for the new Purdue/state of Indiana center. "Advanced composite materials have broad, proven applications because of their lightweight properties and unusually high stiffness and strength. The Boeing 787 commercial airplane is a wonderful example of what this technology can achieve.

"These materials are used to make lighter-weight automotive vehicles, aircraft, wind turbines, natural gas storage tanks and other products. Our primary goals in this research include the design and simulation of the manufacturing processes, validation of simulation at the lab scale, 3-D printing of composites and development of recycling uses of leftover materials."

The Purdue Research Park-based institute will engage Purdue faculty, including about 10 engineers and a number of graduate students, to work in the research areas that will initially occupy up to 30,000 square feet in the new park facility.

The institute will lease space in the new building, as will industries that wish to locate near this new enterprise. In partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, an expenditure of almost $35 million in research equipment and materials in the institute is expected over the next five years, funded through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy. Purdue Research Foundation will invest $15 million in the construction of the building, which will be located at the corner of Kalberer and Yeager roads on property that is partly owned by the City of West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission and is being donated to the Purdue Research Foundation by the commission. The foundation already owns the remainder of the land for the development.

"The donation of this land is a long-term investment in our economic growth as the Indiana Manufacturing Institute will be an important asset for future recruitment and expansion for our city," said John Dennis, West Lafayette mayor. "That means more high-tech, well-paying jobs for our residents." 

The new institute is slated to open in 2016 and is part of a $259 million five-year national initiative called the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). The institute is funded through $70 million from the Department of Energy and $189 million pledged by industry, states and universities. The goal is to develop the manufacturing technology for more energy-efficient vehicles, compressed-gas storage and wind energy systems.

"The Purdue Research Park supports startups and established companies that have an affiliation with Purdue University, and the construction of the new facility expands the park's role even more because of the collaborative opportunity it provides for Purdue innovators," said Dan Hasler, president of Purdue Research Foundation. "We believe this institute will be a magnet to private manufacturers that wish to locate near this unique capability."

This research institute will be working with materials that will have very high impact in many industries such as aerospace, aviation, automotive, energy and sporting equipment.

"These are the industries we invite to consider a presence in the Indiana Manufacturing Institute at Purdue Research Park," Hasler said.

For more information, visit Purdue Research Park

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org 

Media contact: Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org

Sources: Dan Hasler, 765-588-3826, djhasler@prf.org

Byron Pipes, 765-494-5767, bpipes@purdue.edu 

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