December 19, 2003

Research Park firm puts more advanced manufacturing assistance online

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue Research Park company announced today (Friday, 12/19) the launch of ToolingNET, an online marketplace designed to help Indiana's industrial tooling and equipment industry stay competitive.

Karthik Ramani and student
Download photo - caption below

The first two "communities" within the project's Web site have been created for the state's metal-casting and plastics manufacturing industries.

"Now these Indiana industries can gain access to the most current technologies and training developed by Indiana's leading educational institutions and technology companies," said Nainesh Rathod, president of Imaginestics, the venture acting as project manager for the state initiative.

Funded by the Indiana 21st Century Fund IV, ToolingNET was developed by a consortium of educational, industrial and association partners including: Imaginestics; the Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering (PRECISE), acting as the primary research entity for the project; Purdue University; three other educational institutions (Vincennes University, Tri-State University and Ivy Tech State College); and more than 25 industrial partners, among them Caterpillar Inc., ALCOA Inc., Lear Corp., Global Plastics, Landis+Gyr, and Metal Technologies Inc.

Indiana manufacturers can use ToolingNET to find an expert; share tips and tricks; use break-through technologies in the metal-casting and plastics industries; take online classes from participating educational institutions; post requests for quotes, online forums and surveys; and use collaborative and product data management software tools, which would be cost-prohibitive if unsubsidized.

"Although Indiana has a strong manufacturing heritage and industrial base, the state has been losing significant market share to neighboring states and foreign countries," said Joseph Hornett, senior vice president and treasurer of the Purdue Research Foundation. "ToolingNET is one more way Purdue is assisting both large manufacturers and small operations, such as die and molding shops and foundries, with the technology resources and information technology tools they need to stay competitive."

Sam Lombard, president of Indiana Precision Plastics in Williamsport, Ind., said, "We have already gained tremendous benefit from ToolingNET. We had early access to innovative mold design technology that enabled us to apply the segmented mold approach to our designs and reduce our tooling cost by over 50 percent."

ToolingNET applies the latest advanced manufacturing techniques learned from research conducted at PRECISE. Started with funding from the state of Indiana and the National Science Foundation, the center was established to develop information technology applications necessary to make customer-driven manufacturing productive.

"ToolingNET is well on its way to becoming a sustainable resource for the state," said Karthik Ramani, Purdue professor and PRECISE director. "As a result of industry partnerships formed through ToolingNET, we have developed several information science-based technologies relevant to the modernization of Indiana's design and manufacturing sectors.

"We've got to help Indiana's manufacturers make their products better, cheaper and faster, because if they capture just 1 percent of manufacturing work from neighboring states, they will bring in an additional $180 million in revenue."

Founded in December 2002, Imaginestics is a privately held software and services company with headquarters at the Purdue Research Park that specializes in knowledge-based systems for the manufacturing and life sciences industry. Imaginestics' mission is to unleash the power of existing engineering and manufacturing systems through an integrated product suite that taps companies' past and present knowledge and optimizes their future development.

Purdue Research Park encompasses 591 acres in West Lafayette and is home to the largest university-affiliated, state-of-the-art business incubator facility in the nation. Within the park, 104 businesses, of which 58 are high-tech, employ more than 2,200 people.

Writer: Jeanine Phipps, media relations, Purdue Research Park, (765) 494-0748, jsphipps@purdueresearchfoundation.org

Sources: Nainesh Rathod, (765) 464-1700 x111, nainesh.rathod@imaginestics.com

Joseph Hornett, (765) 494-8645, jbhornett@purdueresearchfoundation.org

Karthik Ramani, (765) 494-5725, ramani@ecn.purdue.edu


Related Web site:
Imaginestics LLC


Purdue University Professor Karthik Ramani and his student Joon Hong, view one of ToolingNET's information technology tools being developed at the Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering (PRECISE), where Ramani is director. ToolingNET is a collaborative, online marketplace launched in December to help Indiana's industrial tooling and equipment industry stay competitive. (Photo/Dave Umberger).

A publication-quality photo is available at https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/imaginestics.tool.jpeg

* To the Purdue Research Park web site