seal  Purdue News

February 17, 2004

Summit offers business chance to influence advanced manufacturing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will give state business leaders a chance to help form the direction of research that could vastly alter their way of doing business.

The Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering (PRECISE) will sponsor the Design, Manufacturing and Service Summit from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on March 2 in Stewart Center, Room 206. The free summit is aimed at business leaders and is open to anyone who has an interest in manufacturing and design.

One of the main focuses of the summit will be information systems for design and advanced manufacturing processes. Summit organizer Karthik Ramani said advances in these areas could lead to drastic changes in the way companies approach manufacturing and configure their suppliers' products.

Ramani, PRECISE director and a professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering, said he and other researchers are working to develop ways to make manufacturing more efficient by using information technology to improve design processes through enhanced communication, both within companies and between a company and its suppliers.

The key to these improvements, Ramani said, is a change in the manufacturing model that will more closely connect designers with suppliers and manufacturers.

"There are a lot of problems in the design process that can be solved by better information systems infrastructures," Ramani said. "For example, if an automotive manufacturer makes a design change in a car, that change will affect parts the company buys from many suppliers. Those changes can take months or years to be implemented. A better information technology infrastructure can help to connect manufacturers to designers, making the process much faster and more efficient.

"This is just one example of the kind of problem that faculty in the center are trying to solve and will address at the summit."

Other advanced manufacturing topics to be discussed include mass customization, shape-searching programs for designers and next-generation product configuration.

Ramani said the event not only will allow manufacturing and other industrial leaders to learn about research being done at Purdue that can help their business practices, but also allow them to provide input in the direction of future work.

"We are very interested in hearing about the challenges companies around the state are encountering in the design-manufacturing process," Ramani said. "It is important to design systems that will be the most highly beneficial to the industries they are designed to help. This will give a chance for the people who need this technology to influence its development."

Additional summit topics will include the future of e-commerce and Tooling Net, a virtual community infrastructure that connects manufacturers, designers and others to share ideas and innovations.

Summit registration is open to researchers, engineers, businesses and others with an interest in design and manufacturing systems. To register, go to the summit's Web site.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Source: Karthik Ramani, (765) 494-5725,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Journalists are invited to attend any session at the summit. An agenda and other information can be found online.

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