Purdue News

April 7, 2005

Purdue, Rolls-Royce forge agreement to advance state's technology businesses

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University and Rolls-Royce Corporation have signed an agreement to cooperate with state businesses in developing basic and applied manufacturing processes and technologies.

The Indiana Advanced Aerospace Manufacturing Alliance Voluntary Collaboration agreement between Rolls-Royce and Purdue's Center for Advanced Manufacturing establishes an initiative to work with existing and "aerospace-capable" Indiana manufacturing and repair companies.

John Sullivan, director of Purdue's Center for Advanced Manufacturing and a professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering, says there is no shortage of such opportunities in Indiana.

"There are more than 100 businesses in the state currently engaged in aerospace manufacturing," Sullivan said. "In addition, the state boasts institutions such as Crane Division Naval Surface Warfare Center, and Grissom Air Force Base. When combined with a major aerospace manufacturer, such as Rolls-Royce, and Purdue's world-class researchers, we have a solid base upon which to grow the state's aerospace industry.

"The purpose of the alliance is to put a structure in place to get all the parties together to pursue resources and technologies that allow the state to build upon that base."

The companies described as "aerospace capable" include those that may not currently produce aerospace parts but could do so with an investment of aerospace-aligned technologies, processes and certifications. Purdue's Center for Advanced Manufacturing will help Indiana companies adapt their products and processes to meet aerospace requirements with the goals of increasing manufacturing and manufacturing employment in the state and promoting opportunities for companies of all sizes.

"We're initially targeting 10 to 12 major businesses in the state," said Steve Dwyer, Rolls-Royce's chief operating officer. "This will include, as a priority, women and minority-owned businesses. We would be pleased to do more business with capable and competitive companies in Indiana as part of our global supply base.

"This would be a boost to this business while also helping the state's economy."

Al Novick, Rolls-Royce's vice president of marketing intelligence, added, "We've encountered a high level of interest and excitement for this initiative that will translate to a win-win-win for Purdue, Rolls-Royce and manufacturers in Indiana."

Purdue has been building public-private partnerships with the state's manufacturers in advanced manufacturing summits on campus in the three years leading up to the formation of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in 2004.

Sullivan said the term advanced manufacturing is defined as progress in virtually every aspect of manufacturing: design methods, process technology, worker skills, organizational structures and management practices.

"When we look at advanced manufacturing from the state economic development point of view, advanced manufacturing must not only be applied to the aerospace industry," Sullivan said. "Advanced manufacturing also must cut a wide swath through all of Indiana's manufacturing sectors – automotive, food processing, electronics, steel, hardwood and all the others – in large and small companies."

Sullivan said the alliance is interested in hearing from Indiana companies that want to join the alliance. Proposals and ideas will be discussed on Purdue's West Lafayette campus on May 25 at Summit IV: Advancing Manufacturing. Contact Steve Shade, Center for Advanced Manufacturing managing director, at (765) 494-1279, sashade@purdue.edu.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, mlillich@purdue.edu

Sources: John Sullivan, (765) 494-3344, sulivan@purdue.edu

Maria Weber, Rolls-Royce Corporation media contact, (317) 230-6662, maria.y.weber@Rolls-Royce.com

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


Related news release:
Purdue announces center to advance Indiana manufacturing


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