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Innovating Space

New Purdue Design Facility Creates Space for Collaboration, Prototyping

Author: Cynthia Sequin
Magazine Section: Strategic Growth Initiative
College or School: CoE
Article Type: Article
The new Bechtel Innovation Design Center is a “magnet” where students, staff and faculty can move their ideas and innovations to real-world products and impact.

Innovators can use the facility to advance conceptual designs, execute capstone projects, build prototypes and conduct product testing as well as further develop softer business and life skills such as team building across multiple disciplines and acquiring leadership acumen.

The 31,000-square-foot, $18.5 million building is available 24/7 for Purdue innovators. The center, located at 1090 Third St. in West Lafayette, Ind., opened Sept. 23, 2017. Some of the assets available in the center include CNC tools, waterjet cutter, laser cutter, laser engraver, 3-D plastic printing, paint and surface finishing, welding, woodworking tools and electronics assembly.

“Designing and creating a prototype for a device is one of the most challenging aspects for an innovator, and I spent quite a bit of time finding the right place to further develop a medical syringe that I had patented and am commercializing,” says Kyle Hultgren, founder of Image Medical Device life sciences startup and director of the Center of Medication Safety Advancement at Purdue. “The Bechtel center will provide me and other innovators with a tremendous asset to advance our technologies.”

Providing a hands-on environment in design and development fills an important need for students, staff and faculty.

Students work together in the new Bechtel Innovation Design Center.

About 50 percent of the 100 Purdue startups based on patented intellectual property and the more than 60 startups based on know-how over the past five years have at least one Purdue undergraduate or graduate student in a leadership role with the company.

“The opportunity for Purdue engineering students to learn and create in BIDC will greatly enhance their overall educational experience,” says Mung Chiang, John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “The College of Engineering is proud to collaborate with the Purdue Polytechnic Institute to launch this remarkable maker space. The talent and programs in this space will further enrich the vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs at Purdue: turning our education and research into positive impact on people’s lives.”

The Bechtel Innovation Design Center is dedicated in honor of Stephen D. Bechtel Jr., chairman emeritus of Bechtel Group Inc., who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue in 1946 and received an honorary doctorate in 1972.