Purdue breaks ground on $50 million project to advance energy-saving technologies

June 23, 2015  

IMI groundbreaking

More than 200 people attended the Indiana Manufacturing Institute groundbreaking on Tuesday (June 23) at the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette. The $50 million project will advance Purdue University research of composite materials manufacturing to develop stronger, more energy-efficient technologies. From left are Gary Bertoline, dean of Purdue Polytechnic Institute; Kelly Visconti, technology manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office; John Dennis, mayor of West Lafayette; Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University; R. Byron Pipes, John Leighton Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering; Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce; Leah Jamieson, John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering; and Dan Hasler, president of the Purdue Research Foundation. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
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Purdue facility is part of a national five-year, $259 million DOE initiative 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – More than 200 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Indiana Manufacturing Institute, which is part of a $50 million project where Purdue University researchers will advance research of composite materials manufacturing to develop more energy-efficient technologies.

The 62,000-square-foot institute, which is slated to open in mid-2016, is part of a $259 million U.S. Department of Energy initiative to support President Obama's National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The DOE project, called the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, is a five-year public-private collaboration that includes a federal commitment of $70 million and $189 million pledged by industry, state economic development agencies and universities. The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is the lead institution in the collaboration that includes public and private agencies in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Colorado.

"Purdue’s selection to host this facility confirms our university as an international leader in composite materials research, and the work that will be done there will produce world-wide value in more lighter-weight energy efficient products,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

Composite materials are used in everything from bike helmets to buildings and airplanes and it is used in many economic sectors, including aerospace, aviation, automotive, energy and sporting equipment.

IMI shelby

Brooke Beier, assistant director for business development in the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, and Emily Smith, a high school student from Indianapolis, check out a 2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R Touring car at the Indiana Manufacturing Institute groundbreaking. The Shelby’s wheels and spoiler are composed of composite materials and carbon fibers. Composite materials are used in numerous manufactured products from bike helmets to cars and aircraft. (Purdue Research Foundation photo) 
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"Indiana led the nation in advanced manufacturing job growth last year, an industry that represents 25 percent of our state’s economy," said Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. "Led by Purdue, our state’s participation in this initiative will continue to strengthen that foundation, supporting our highly-skilled workforce and creating opportunity for future corporate research partners while developing technologies to advance composite materials and conserve energy at the global level."

R. Byron Pipes, the John Leighton Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering, will lead Purdue's Design, Modeling and Simulation Enabling Technology Center to be housed in the institute.

"The research conducted by faculty, staff and students in the institute will be structured to serve advanced composite materials R&D, and collaborating with the many industries using these technologies is a seamless transition," Pipes said. "That is because advanced composite materials have broad, proven applications because of their lightweight properties and proven strength and durability while also remaining elastic. The Boeing 787 commercial airplane is a wonderful example of what this technology can achieve."

The 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 Purdue Research Park-based facility.

"The research and educational opportunities through this advanced composite materials initiative will serve a great benefit for both our faculty and students," said Leah Jamieson, John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering. "Not only will it generate opportunities for sponsored research in this core development area, but our students will have even greater educational, internship and career prospects."

Gary Bertoline, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, said faculty and students in the Department of Aviation Technology also will benefit from the institute's creation.

"Airplanes and other forms of aviation technologies are primary benefactors of the continuing developments of advanced composite materials," Bertoline said. "One of our strategic goals for the Purdue Polytechnic Institute is to provide our students with skills, knowledge and experiences for a 21st century education, and this initiative will help us do that."      

About 30,000 square feet in the Purdue Research Park-based Indiana Manufacturing Institute will be used for Purdue research. The other 32,000 square feet is reserved for public or private enterprises interested in composite materials research collaboration with the university.

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 DOE.

Purdue Research Foundation will invest $11 million in the construction of the building, which will be located at the corner of Challenger Avenue and Yeager Road 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.

IMI map

Purdue University researchers will advance composite materials manufacturing and develop stronger, more energy-efficient technologies in the Indiana Manufacturing Institute, a $50 million project in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette. The project is part of a $259 million U.S. Department of Energy initiative to produce more lighter-weight, energy-efficient products. (Purdue Research Foundation image) 
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"The Indiana Manufacturing Institute is another example of the great outcomes that happen because of the strong, collaborative relationship between Purdue and the city of West Lafayette," said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis. "Our residents directly benefit through job opportunities and benefit indirectly through the economic development and improved quality of life that these types of enterprises bring to our community." 

For more information, visit Purdue Research Park

About Purdue University

Founded in 1869 in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University serves its state as well as the nation and the world. Purdue is a major research institution supported by top-ranking disciplines in pharmacy, business, engineering and agriculture. More than 39,000 students are enrolled here. All 50 states and 130 countries are represented in its student population.

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 from 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  

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, 765-413-6031, casequin@prf.org


Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Victor Smith, 317-234-2294, kprentice@iedc.in.gov

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

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

Leah Jamieson, 765-494-5346, lhj@purdue.edu

Gary Bertoline, bertoline@purdue.edu

John Dennis, mayor@wl.in.gov 

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